After knocking on the door four straight seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers emphatically busted through, reaching the 2017 World Series behind a dominant October run. That came on the heels of the Dodgers finishing the regular season with the best record in baseball.
They and the Houston Astros put together a memorable Fall Classic that some consider the best of all time, however it ended in disappointment for the Dodgers as they suffered a Game 7 loss at Dodger Stadium.
Several players spoke of using the defeat to fuel them in 2018, as much of the core group was expected to return. The season didn’t go as planned or nearly as smoothly, but the Dodgers nonetheless clinched a sixth consecutive National League West title.
That meant a date with the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series, which the Dodgers won in four games. A third consecutive trip to the NL Championship Series pits Los Angeles against arguably the hottest team in baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers.
They finished with the best record in the league and figure to pose a formidable challenge for the Dodgers. While their focus will remain on the present, Turner said the sting of defeat last year is providing additional motivation, per Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:
“You don’t ever take this stuff for granted, and we can enjoy it tonight, but we need to get on a plane, go home, and prepare for the Brewers,” he said. “We remember the last day last year, that bittersweet feeling, and we’re letting that motivate us.”
The Dodgers went 4-3 against the Brewers this season, including taking two of three at Miller Park immediately after the All-Star break and with Manny Machado on the roster.
Milwaukee enters Game 1 on Friday riding an 11-game winning streak that dates back to the regular season. They swept the Colorado Rockies, who lost to the Dodgers in Game 163 that decided the NL West, but then defeated the Chicago Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game.
While Turner may have more motivation, he certainly wouldn’t appear to need it come the postseason. Last October he went 6-for-18 with two home runs, seven RBI and five walks against the Cubs to earn NLCS co-MVP honors.
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