Despite another 100-win season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were swept in the National League Division Series as their starting pitching faltered and offense failed to take any pressure off.
Those were among the topics president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman touched on while speaking with media about the 2023 season and Dodgers’ suffering another October shocker that he deemed a second consecutive “organizational failure.”
When asked about when the Dodgers front office may have worried about the starting pitching, Friedman expressed more shock about the lineup’s struggles to score in the NLDS.
“I think our bigger issue was the offense, because it was unexpected,” Friedman said. “If you would’ve said your pitching staff would’ve given up four runs in Games 2 and 3, I would’ve bet a lot of money that we would’ve won at least one of those two games with our offense. So it was a combination.”
Friedman also noted that when both defense and offense fails, so does the team.
“Obviously our starting pitching didn’t pitch as well as they could have,” he began. “So it’s not like that was what we should’ve expected. Our offense did not perform as well as they could have. It’s not what we would’ve expected. Our bullpen was great, but when you’re not clicking in two-thirds of those facets, it’s hard to win a baseball game. Unfortunately we saw that front and center.”
For much of the season, the Dodgers’ most glaring issue was their bullpen. While the group of relief pitchers managed to right the ship, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Dodgers offense collectively went cold.
“I don’t know the answer. For our offense to be an issue this year was really surprising to us,” Friedman said. “We scored over 900 runs for the first time in Los Angeles Dodgers history. It’s the best offensive team we’ve had in this run, so that was surprising to us.
“Obviously, there are three-game snippets throughout a year where our offense doesn’t perform. How much of it is that? How much of it is other things? I don’t know the answer. A lot of these things, it’s hard to know the answer to.”
As for October baseball being unpredictable in some sense, Friedman also conceded the Dodgers have to improve in other areas.
“There is an element that is October theater and what plays out on a daily and nightly basis. And there’s other things that we can do a better job of,” he said.
“How to separate those, it’s incumbent upon us to figure out.”
Dodgers to focus on starting pitching
Friedman also commented that the Dodgers would lean heavily into finding starting pitching whether through free agency or trades. With Clayton Kershaw’s future uncertain and with Julio Urías almost having certainly played his last game for the team, that is the market most needed for the 2024 Dodgers roster.
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