Coming off back-to-back World Series losses, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2019 season with a proverbial chip on their shoulders.
The club, still facing a three decade-long championship drought, tinkered with their roster over the winter and maintained confidence that they were talented enough to return to baseball’s biggest stage for a third consecutive year.
Adamant on avoiding the dreaded World Series hangover, the Dodgers silenced their skeptics with an excellent start to begin the regular season and dominant run in the National League West.
L.A. continued steamrolling through its competition for the bulk of the first half and carried with the best record in all of baseball into the All-Star break.
Max Muncy, who put together another excellent season at the plate, explained the Dodgers have turned the page after falling short in consecutive World Series appearances, via Bill Bender of Sporting News:
“Last year it was we were one win away from the World Series we need to make sure we’re focused on that and get back to it,” Muncy said. “This year, we’ve kind of made the approach that we’re not going to worry about the last two years. We don’t care what happened.”
Cody Bellinger, who was part of both Dodgers’ runs to the Fall Classic, echoed Muncy’s comments and revealed that he doesn’t reflect too much on the outcomes:
“Little motivation,” Bellinger said about the last two years. “Honestly, we don’t think about it much. We’re 100-percent focused on this year, and the past is the past honestly. I don’t think we’ve thought about it that much.”
Having been on the losing side in back-to-back World Series appearances, it’s clear that the Dodgers were solely focused on the 2019 season and changing the narrative should they once again get the opportunity to do so this October.
The team set a franchise record with 106 wins and additionally reached new highs in home runs and number of players with at least 10 homers, among other statistics.
The Dodgers clinched a seventh consecutive NL West title at one of the earliest points in franchise history and finished with the second best record in baseball. History is not on their side, as only four teams have returned to the World Series after two consecutive defeats.