Can the Dodgers Shake the Post-Season Blues?
The Dodgers are the wow team -- in the regular season -- again.
They ran away with the NL West championship, clinching a division title earlier than any team in this 60-game regular season. They won the NL West by six games over a San Diego team that actually had the second-best record of any NL team, and the third-best winning percentage of any Major League team.
They are 3-to-1 favorites to win a world championship -- something they haven't done since 1988. The Yankees are second (6-to-1) and Rays are third (7-to-1).
Now, it's not like the Dodgers have not had their chances to win a World Series during the 32-year drought dating back to their upset of the Oakland A's in 1988.
This year marks the 14th time they have advanced to the post-season since then -- the eighth consecutive year. They have advanced as the NL West champion 13 times and a wild-card once.
Now, the 13 consecutive post-season failures is not a record. The Braves currently have gone 15 consecutive post-seasons without winning a World Series since their 1995 championship celebration against Cleveland, and the Cubs had gone 14 consecutive World Series appearances without winning a world championship before they knocked of the Indians in seven games in 2016.
Then there is Cleveland, which has only made 11 World Series appearances without a championship celebration -- but those 11 appearances date back to the Indians 1948 world championship season.
And the A's have failed in 12 post-season appearances dating back to their 1989 sweep of the Giants in a World Series that was interrupted after Game 2 because of an earthquake that shook the Bay Area.
Out of all of those opportunities the Dodgers have had, only twice have they advanced to the World Series. They lost to the Red Sox in five games in 2018, and the Astros in seven games in 2017.
And they have had seven different managers involved in the post-season disappointments.
Dave Roberts is taking them to the post-season for fifth consecutive seasons, having taken over in 2016 from Don Mattingly, who had guided the Dodgers into the post-season the three previous years.
Joe Torre filled out the lineup card for the 2008 and 2009 post-seasons, Grady Little in 2006, Jim Tracy in 2004, and Tommy Lasorda in 1995 and was in charge at the start of the 1996 season, giving way to Bill Russell in the course of that post-season drive.
Will this finally be that year for the Dodgers?
Slow down on the projection of how many games the 2020 teams would have won over a 162-game schedule. Just look back to 2019.
Remember which team won the World Series? Yep, the Washington Nationals.
Well, the Nationals were one of three out of 10 teams that advanced to the post-season that weren't in the picture at the 60-game mark a year ago.
Heck, they were barely on any radar. Sixty games into 2019, and the Nationals were 27-33, fourth in the NL East. Two other teams that weren't in the post-season picture after 60 games, but wound up advancing to October were the Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals.
The A's were 31-29 at the 60-game mark, but rallied to go 66-36 in the final 102 games of the season, knocking the Rangers out of a post-season slot. Texas went from 32-28 at the 60-game mark to 78-84 for the season.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, rallied from 31-29 and third place in the NL Central to claiming the NL Central title with a 66-36 in the final 102 games. the Cubs, meanwhile, slid into third place -- behind the Brewers and the Cardinals -- . with a 50-52 record.
The NL Central had numbers on its side with four of the five divisional teams in the post-season. The Cubs won the division and Cardinals finished second. The Reds and Brewers are the two wild-card teams.
The NL teams do not begin play until Wednesday. The AL teams will embark on the post-season Tuesday.