For the first time since 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers have advanced to the World Series and will begin play on Tuesday when they host the Houston Astros in Game 1.
It’s been a magical year for the Dodgers, who won a Major League-best 104 games during the regular season and a franchise best-57 games at Dodger Stadium. In the midst of the successful season was a historic 43-7 stretch and multiple double-digit winning streaks.
But, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 11, Los Angeles dropped 16 out of 17 games — the worst skid for any team in MLB history with 90 wins at the time. What’s more, the Dodgers also became the first club ever to win 16 of 17 games and lose 16 of 17 games in the same season.
While the improbable low point could have led to turmoil within the clubhouse, the Dodgers prevailed and never lost sight of the ultimate goal.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently praised manager Dave Roberts and the team for keeping their composure, and Friedman said the skid ultimately was a positive, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I think it’s a testament to Doc, the coaches and our players that they didn’t succumb to that pressure and become more tight and believe the narrative. They believed, too, that each day was going to be the end of it. It took longer than any of us would like, but I do think it was a good thing in the grand scheme of things.”
Roberts has continue to do a masterful job of putting his players in the best possible position to succeed, whether it’s his bullpen management or platoon-based lineups on any given night. That has especially been evident in the playoffs, where the Dodgers have posted a 7-1 record thus far.
Since the unprecedented losing streak from late-August to mid-September, the Dodgers have gone on to sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series and later proceeded to knock off the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs in five games in the NL Championship Series.
Prior to the postseason, the Dodgers ended the regular season on a positive note, winning of eight of their final 10 games. The club took that momentum into October and are now just four victories away from a long-awaited World Series title.