The 2016 season was the dawn of a new era for the Los Angeles Dodgers, having parted ways with Don Mattingly over the winter and naming Dave Roberts their 32nd manager in franchise history.
The club was coming off back-to-back National League Division Series defeats and believed a clean slate at manager would serve them well in their efforts of advancing deeper into October.
In what was a two-team race in the NL West for most of the season, the Dodgers prevailed and captured their fourth consecutive division title. The club posted a 91-71 record, finishing four games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the standings.
The Dodgers went on to defeat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, but later fell to the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series.
The Dodgers secured a 15-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Opening Day, and went on to outscore their NL West rival, 25-0, in the three-game series. Despite jumping out to a 3-0 start, L.A. finished below .500 for the month of April with a 12-13 record.
The Dodgers would bounce back with a better showing in May, accumulating a 16-12 record for the month. L.A. replicated that performance in June, but entered July trailing the first-place Giants by six games.
The Dodgers posted an even better 15-9 record that month and closed the gap to just a two-game deficit heading into August. The club reclaimed first place with a 15-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 16, but eventually slipped back into second following a three-game skid.
The Dodgers leapfrogged the Giants and were back in first place on Aug. 21, and never looked back from there. L.A. officially clinched the NL West with a win over the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 25 in what marked Vin Scully’s final home game as a broadcaster.
By winning the NL West, the Dodgers solidified a first-round meeting with the Nationals. L.A. did not have home-field advantage in the series, but held their own by splitting the first two games at Nationals Park.
The same outcome played out at Dodger Stadium for Games 3 and 4, as the Dodgers and Nationals each won a contest. With the series tied, a winner-take-all Game 5 in the nation’s capital was necessary.
Max Scherzer was dominant early on and blanked the Dodgers through six innings. But L.A. eventually broke through in the seventh, propelled by Joc Pederson’s leadoff, game-tying home run, and RBI hits by Carlos Ruiz and Justin Turner.
Clinging onto a 4-3 lead in the ninth, Clayton Kershaw was summoned out of the bullpen to record the final two outs. He did so by retiring Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Difo, sending the Dodgers to their first NLCS since 2013.
It set the stage for a showdown against the Chicago Cubs, who won an MLB-best 103 games during the regular season.
Game 1 at Wrigley Field was a pitchers’ duel between Kenta Maeda and Jon Lester. With the score evened up at three apiece in the eighth inning, Miguel Montero provided the heroics by hitting a go-ahead grand slam off Joe Blanton.
Hector Rondon recorded the final three outs, solidifying what would be an 8-4 victory for the Cubs in the series opener. The Dodgers rebounded with a win the following night, tying up the series as it shifted to L.A. for Games 3, 4 and 5.
The Dodgers again took care of business in Game 3, taking a 2-1 lead over the Cubs in the NLCS. L.A. would drop the next two games at Dodger Stadium, however, giving Chicago the upper hand as the series returned to Wrigley Field.
Needing just one win to advance to their first World Series since 1945, Kyle Hendricks and Aroldis Chapman combined for nine scoreless innings against the Dodgers — punching the Cubs’ tickets to the Fall Classic.
Chicago battled back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians and ended their 108-year World Series championship drought.