The Los Angeles Dodgers ending their postseason run after just three games isn’t what they had envisioned, making for another season in which their play didn’t live up to expectations.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman put together wildly successful rosters since joining the franchise, but the recent blunders have left a sour taste when the calendar turns to October.
Friedman called the Dodgers National League Division Series loss last year an “organizational failure” but wound up in the same situation after being swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in three games a year later.
The current playoff format has five off-days built in for the top-two division winners in each league. But that so-called bonus hasn’t been a huge positive for many teams, especially this season, as the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Dodgers all bowed out in the Division Series.
“For us, I certainly would not use that as an excuse,” Friedman said. “Our goal next year is to win the division and have those five days off again. It’s two years into this format, we don’t concern ourselves too much with what’s optimal or ideal. It doesn’t really matter. It is what it is. For us, it’s about how to operate the best we can within it.
“We tried to simulate a lot of at-bats Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, because there’s no question that five days off affects hitters’ timing. There’s no question. Now, if getting enough at-bats leading up to that, keeps that timing in place, obviously we didn’t do a good enough job.
“So our goal is to win the division next year. And once we do that and hopefully put ourselves in position to have those five days off, we need to really think long and hard about the best way to set up those five days and do everything we can to get our guys ready to play in Game 1.”
Last season, the Dodgers rolled through September and October with a 21-12 record, but fell to the San Diego Padres in four games during the NLDS. In 2023, they went 17-12 over that same span, being swept by a team they trounced over the course of a full regular season slate.
Friedman is correct in his view that having the time off greatly increases a team’s chances, because they can line up their best pitching matchups without shifting much around. Another plus is being able to find a bit of time to recover, while the downside is falling behind on timing and the feeling of pure game speed.
The Dodgers have been unable to solve the new playoff format, which has seemed to penalize them for being one of the two top clubs in the NL. But MLB isn’t yet acknowledging that the time off is hindering a team’s best approach to postseason baseball, which should for them to again evaluate their preparation for the playoffs.
Andrew Friedman takes blame for Dodgers playoff defeat
On Tuesday, Friedman took questions regarding the team’s future and because he has the final say over all baseball-related decisions, including rosters, staffing, and he answered when asked how much responsibility he takes for their letdowns.
“A lot,” Friedman said. “I think when there is an organizational failure, it starts and ends with me. I didn’t do a good enough job. I’m going to do everything I can this offseason with our group to put ourselves in a position where we are the team that plays in and wins the last game of the year next year.”
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