The Los Angeles Dodgers went into their World Series matchup against the Houston Astros with a decided edge in the bullpen. They were led by Kenley Jansen who easily was the best reliever on the respective rosters.
But it was also Jansen who ultimately surrendered a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Game 2, and a walk-off base hit in the 10th inning of Game 5. He bounced back with strong showings in Games 6 and 7, but the Dodgers failed to capture a championship in their first trip to the World Series since 1988.
They went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 overall in the first winner-take-all World Series game ever played at Dodger Stadium.
“We came up short. We didn’t get those big hits, but I’m proud of every single guy in this clubhouse,” Jansen said after the Dodgers’ Game 7 loss.
“We came a long way. It’s a great group of guys. I just told my guys, don’t take this for granted, because next year there’s going to be a bigger target on us. Everybody will probably want to get a piece of us.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re motivated by this pain. We let this pain last year against Chicago motivate us. We wanted to celebrate. We’ll be back here.”
Throughout the season and again after Game 7, multiple Dodgers players raved about the culture and collective mindset and approach in the clubhouse. Clayton Kershaw said it was what he focused on instead of the Astros’ celebration, which was too painful for the left-handed ace.
“One thing I’ll remember is how united we are. Every single person in here cares about each other,” Jansen said. “To see how we came together as a group in here after we lost [Game 7], you can feel the pain. We all care. That’s the character we need in the locker room.
“This team is not going to give up,” Jansen said. “We are going to bring a championship back to L.A. I promise you that.”