With their 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers punched their ticket to the NL Championship Series for a third consecutive year.
For the club to reach this point, however, has been nothing short of unprecedented. Los Angeles, having faced a multitude of injuries in the early going, struggled for the better part of April and found themselves eight games out of first place entering the month of May.
But the Dodgers would eventually see the returns of many key players en route to a dramatic turnaround. Particularly in the second half, which was capped off with an excellent 18-9 showing in September that propelled them to a sixth straight NL West division title.
Cody Bellinger reiterated that the Dodgers clubhouse was never concerned with their initial woes and felt the need to simply clinch a postseason berth in order to position themselves for another World Series run, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“Honestly, no,” first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger said. “Obviously the fans panicked and we understand that. They said we were 10 back (10 games under .500 in mid-May) and they said we weren’t going to win the division. We won the division and now we won the Division Series. Don’t ever count us out. Us in the clubhouse were never worried. We know the ups and downs that are going to be part of the season. We weren’t as good as we expected to be but we’re still in the position where we expected to be. … We needed to make it in. Once we made it in, man, we were good. We just had to make it in.”
As Bellinger notes, the Dodgers pride themselves on being resilient and never giving up. The club orchestrated a comeback against the Braves in Game 4 of the NLDS, receiving a variety of contributions from midseason acquisitions that didn’t even begin the season with Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are now four wins away from returning to the Fall Classic for a second consecutive year, but they’ll have a tough task at hand in conquering the Milwaukee Brewers, who are in the midst of an 11-game winning streak.
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