Los Angeles Dodgers
1958: The Dodgers play their first game in Los Angeles on April 18th, defeating the newly the also relocated San Francisco Giants 6-5 before 78,672 fans at the LA Memorial Coliseum (a converted football stadium). However, the Dodgers’ first season in LA would end up in a seventh-place disappointment with a 71-83 record.
1959: With the reawakened bats of Duke Snider and Gil Hodges along with the fiery pitching of Don Drysdale, the Dodgers are in the thick of the Pennant Race all season long. The late-season pitching heroics of Roger Craig would help the Dodgers in crucial games down the stretch as the Dodgers ended up with an 86-68 record good enough to earn a 1st Place tie with Milwaukee Braves. The Dodgers won the first playoff game in Milwaukee and captured big-league baseball’s their first West Coast pennant at home two days later, in the 12th inning. In the World Series, the Dodgers are matched up with Chicago White Sox. After being whitewashed 11-0 in Game 1, the Dodgers faced a 0-2 series deficit down 2-1 in the 7th Inning of Game 2. The Dodgers would rally thanks to homers from Chuck Essegian, and Charlie Neal to take the lead. Larry Sherry would come on hold the lead to send the series tied one game apiece heading to LA. In Game 3, a record crowd of 92,394 was in attendance at the Coliseum, as the Dodgers won 3-1. The Dodgers would win Game 4 in front of another large crowd with an 8th Inning HR by Gil Hodges. Trying to close things out at home Sandy Koufax was outdueled 1-0. With the series returning to Chicago, the Dodgers would not be denied winning 9-3, as Larry Sherry was named World Series MVP.
1960: The Dodgers follow up their first California Championship with a fourth-place finish and an 82-72 record, leaving them 13 games out of the top spot.
1961: The Dodgers fall just four games short of the National League Pennant with a solid 89-65 record.
1962: Jackie Robinson makes history again, becoming the first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame. Walter O’Malley finally had the stadium he had been seeking for so many years. After four seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers moved into their new home, Dodger Stadium. The 56,000-seat stadium opened on April 10th against the Cincinnati Reds. The sparkling new venue did wonders for the Dodgers led by Maury Wills MVP season and Cy Young Don Drysdale. Wills became the first player of the 20th Century to steal 100 bases in a season. The Dodgers won 102 games and tied the San Francisco Giants for first place, forcing a playoff for the pennant. The playoff must have reminded fans of 1951. As they had then, the Giants and Dodgers split the first two games, and the Dodgers once again brought a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning of Game 3. This time, though, it was not a home run that undid them, but a bases-loaded walk, as the Giants advanced to the World Series.
1963: The Dodgers won the National League pennant by six games helped out by winning 19 games in the final month of the season to post a 99-63 record. Sandy Koufax was the key to the Dodgers championship year. The overpowering left-hander, who was later named Player of the Decade, was 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and 306 strikeouts. He was selected Most Valuable Player and Cy Young winner, while also garnering World Series MVP honors and was named to the All-Star team. Once again, the Dodgers had to face the mighty New York Yankees in the World Series. This time it was no contest as the boys in blue swept the Bronx Bombers, holding the potent Yankee offense to just four runs in four games.
1964: Sandy Koufax tosses a No-Hitter for the third season in a row, but the Dodgers struggled all season and finished with a disappointing 80-82, which landed them in a tie for 6th place.
1965: Cy Young Award winner Sandy Koufax won 26 games, including a then record-breaking fourth No-Hitter that was also a Perfect Game. With Don Drysdale winning 23 games of his own, the Dodgers found themselves in a tight 4-team race that saw them fall behind the San Francisco Giants in early September. However, The Dodgers would take the lead for good with a 13-game winning streak, as the Dodgers won their third Pennant in LA with a 97-65 record. The Dodgers faced the upstart Minnesota Twins in the World Series. After losing the first 2 in Minnesota, the Dodgers returned home for Game 3, desperately needing a win. Claude Osteen provided the boost the Dodgers needed by pitching a complete game shut out. The Dodgers would then go on to win the next two in Dodgers Stadium to head back to Minnesota with a 3-2 lead. The Dodgers were stunned again in Game 6 by Mudcat Grant’s superior pitching and a three-run Homer that forced a seventh game. The Dodgers would send Sandy Koufax to the mound for Game 7. Koufax pitched one of the best games of his career pitching a Complete game three-hit shut out while Striking out 10, as the Dodgers won their second World Championship in three years.
1966: The pennant race was just as close as the year before, with three teams switching leads throughout the season. It was the Dodgers again who emerged victorious, putting together winning streaks of five and seven in September to move to the top of the league with a 95-67 record. Sandy Koufax, who won his third Cy Young, clinched the pennant on the final day with his 27th victory. The Dodgers would then go on to face the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. The Dodgers would score a run in the second and the third of Game 1 but managed to lose the game 5-2. The Dodgers would not score another run in the series, encompassing 33 innings of frustration, while losing the final three games for the sweep. The Dodgers would be stunned again a few weeks later when 30-year-old Sandy Koufax retired because of early-stage arthritis in his pitching elbow.
1967: Without Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers struggled all year, and finish in eighth place with a disappointing 73-89 record.
1968: In a year of spectacular pitching throughout baseball, Don Drysdale pitches 58 and two-thirds consecutive scoreless innings establishing a new record that would stand for 20 years. However, the Dodgers can only mage a 76-86 season that lands them in a seventh-place tie. Following the season, Drysdale would follow Sandy Koufax’s footsteps, by retiring in the prime of his career.
1969: With 2B Ted Sizemore earning Rookie of the Year honors, the Dodgers show significant improvement, finishing in 4th place in the newly formed NL West with an 85-77 record.
1970: The Dodgers finish a distant second to the Cincinnati Reds while posting a solid 87-74 record.
1971: The Dodgers battle the hated San Francisco Giants down to the bitter end of the season before falling one game short of the division championship with an 89-73 record.
1972: The Dodgers continue to battle for the NL West but fall ten and a half games short while landing in third place with a record of 85-70.
1973: The Dodgers battle the mighty Cincinnati Reds all season for the top spot in the NL West, but finish in 2nd place with a solid 95-66 record, that is 13 games better than the New York Mets, Champions in the Eastern Division, who end up battling to Game 7 of the World Series.
1974: The Dodgers battle the Cincinnati Reds again for the top spot, this time emerging victorious, by four games with a 102-60 record. The Dodgers are led by newly acquired veteran OF Jimmy Wynn and 1B Steve Garvey, who, in his first full Major League season, led the club offensively winning the NL MVP. Meanwhile, pitcher Mike Marshall set a new major league record with 106 appearances (which earned him the Cy Young Award) in relief of a staff that was the league’s best bullpen. The Dodgers would get past the Pittsburgh Pirates in 4 games of the NLCS to earn their 5th World Series appearance since moving to Los Angeles. In the World Series, the Dodgers were the only thing standing in the way of a 3rd Straight World Championship for the Oakland Athletics. After losing Game 1, the Dodgers won Game 2 on a Joe Ferguson’s two-run sixth inning HR. However, once the series got to Oakland, the Dodgers were swept in the final free games losing the series in five games to the dominant A’s team.
1975: The Dodgers finish in second place with an 88-74 record, but finish a full 20 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.
1976: After 23 years at the helm, Manager Walter Alston retires with four games remaining in the season. He would be replaced by Tommy Lasorda, who himself would manage the Dodgers for 20 seasons. The Dodgers would finish a distant second again to the Cincinnati Reds, with a 92-70 record.
1977: In Tommy Lasorda’s first full year at the helm, the Dodgers make history when four members of the team hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Ron Cey (30) and Dusty Baker (30). This would spur the Dodgers 98 wins and the Division title. The Dodgers would then go on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies in four games of the NLCS to earn a trip to the World Series. In the World Series, the Dodgers met up with a failure foe in the New York Yankees. Down three games to one and facing elimination at home, the Dodgers roughed up the Yankees for a 10-4 win to send the series back to New York. However, the Dodgers would fall to Reggie Jackson and the Yanks in Game 6, as Mr. October blasted three HRs on three pitches off three pitchers.
1978: The Dodgers become the first team ever to draw three million fans for a season, and would once again win the division with a 95-67 record. In the NLCS, the Dodgers would beat the Philadelphia Phillies again in four games to earn a trip to the World Series. In the World Series, the Dodgers continued the trend of repeat performances by facing the New York Yankees. The Dodgers won the first two games at Dodger Stadium, highlighted by Rookie Bob Welch’s 9th inning strikeout of Reggie Jackson in Game 2. In Game 3, the Dodgers hammered the ball all day off Yankee ace Ron Guidry; however, most of the balls were hit in the direction of 3B Craig Nettles, who brought the Yankees back into the series with his glove. In Game 4, the Dodgers held a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning, but the Yankees would comeback thanks to a controversial play in which a ball that would have been a sure Double Play hit Reggie Jackson in the backside, and allowed the Yankees to pull within one run. The Yankees would later tie the game and win in ten innings. From there, the Yanks would not look back. They would go on to take the next two, and once again, the Dodgers lost in six games.
1979: The Dodgers suffer through a disappointing season finishing in 3rd place with a 79-83 record. Despite the struggles, pitcher Rick Sutcliffe earns Rookie of the Year honors.
1980: With Reliever Steve Howe, becoming the second straight Dodger to capture Rookie of the Year honors, the Dodgers battle the Houston Astros all season for the NL West Title. The two teams went back-and-forth battle, before ending the season tied for first with a 92-70 record. This was the fifth first-place tie for the Dodgers, three more than any other club. In the playoff, which was now just one game the Dodgers, were blown out by the Astros at Dodger Stadium.
1981: On Opening Day, Rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela is forced to start because of an injury to Jerry Reuss; the Mexican import would shut out the Houston Astros 2-0 and sparked the craze known as “Fernandomania,” which would take the baseball world by storm. The exciting young left-hander won both Cy Young and Rookie of the year honors. On June 15th a player’s strike hit while the Dodgers were in first place. After the two-month strike ended, it was determined that the team in first place before the strike, would face the team in the division with the best record after the strike, in a special five-game playoff at the end of the season. In that playoff, the Dodgers would overcome a 2-0 deficit to beat the Houston Astros in five games. The Dodgers would then go on to the NLCS to face the Montreal Expos. The Dodgers were staring death in the face again after falling behind two games to one. The Dodgers would win Game 4 to force a fifth and deciding game north of the border. The game would be delayed one day because of rain and would wind up becoming a pitcher’s duel between Valenzuela and Montreal’s Ray Burris. With the score tied 1-1 in the ninth Inning, Steve Rogers was brought in to pitch for the Expos. After Rogers retired the first two Rick Monday would step to the plate and put the Dodgers up for good with a home run. The Dodgers would face the New York Yankees again in the World Series, the third time in five years and 11th time since 1941. The Dodgers had only won twice in the previous ten series, and it looked no different, as the Yankees won the first two games and held a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning of Game 3. The Dodgers would comeback, scoring two runs in the fifth inning off Reliever George Frazier. The Yankees would take a 6-3 lead in Game 4, but the Dodgers would come back again off Frazier to knot the series at two games apiece. Game 5 would be a classic pitcher’s duel between Jerry Reuss and the Yankees Ron Guidry. The Dodgers were trailing 1-0 in the seventh but won the game with back-to-back homers by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager. The Dodgers would then go on to win the series in six games, hanging another loss on Frazier thanks to Guerrero’s five-RBI performance to win the World Series. The Dodgers who had battled back all year made history by having three players (Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, and Steve Yeager) named tri-MVP of the series.
1982: Second baseman Steve Sax becomes the fourth consecutive Dodger to walk away with the NL Rookie of the Year. It would also be the 11th Dodger (Over-all between Brooklyn and LA) to win the award since Jackie Robinson first won the first award in 1947. The Dodgers’quest for a repeat ended on the final day of the season as the Dodgers finished one game out of first place with an 88-74 record.
1983: Without long-time Dodgers Steve Garvey and Ron Cey, who both left for free-agent deals, a younger Dodger team won the division, posting a strong 91-71 record. However, the Dodgers would go on to lose the NLCS in four games to the Philadelphia Phillies, a team they beat 11 out of 12 times during the regular season.
1984: The Dodgers struggle most of the season, and finish with a disappointing fourth Place 79-83 record.
1985: On April 25th, Fernando Valenzuela set a major league record for consecutive innings at the start of the season without allowing an earned run with 41 before the San Diego Padres ended the streak. The Dodgers would go on to win 95 games en-route to the division title. In the NLCS, the Dodgers would face the St. Louis Cardinals in the first NLCS that would be the best of seven series. The Dodgers and Cardinals split the first four games, with Dodgers winning the first two in LA and the Cardinals rebounding to take the next two in St. Louis. In Game 5, the Dodgers would be stunned as Tom Niedenfuer gave up a Walk-Off ninth Inning Homer to light-hitting SS Ozzie Smith. The Dodgers would seem set to rebound in Game 6 as they led the Cardinals by a score of 5-4 when Niedenfuer ended up being the goat again, giving up a three-run homer to Jack Clark in the top of the ninth that gave the Cards the lead for good.
1986: The Dodgers struggle with injuries all season long, starting with a knee injury to Pedro Guerrero in Spring Training, and narrowly avoid finishing in last place with a 73-89 record.
1987: The Dodgers struggle again and finish with 73-89 for the second season in a row this time, landing in fourth place. Following the season, the Dodgers would make a big splash by signing Free Agent OF Kirk Gibson.
1988: The signing of Kirk Gibson would prove to be essential, as the Dodgers were in first place much of the season. Down the stretch, the team seemed to get stronger as Pitcher Orel Hershiser broke Don Drysdale’s 20-year old record by recording 59 consecutive scoreless innings. The Dodgers would go on to claim the NL West title with a 95-67 record, as Gibson won the NL MVP, and Hershiser won the Cy Young. In the NLCS, the Dodgers would face the New York Mets, who they beat only once during the regular season. Trailing 4-2 in the ninth inning of Game 4, the Dodgers started a 3-1 series deficit in the face. However, thanks to a two-run HR from Mike Scioscia, the Dodgers took the game into extra inning was Orel Hershiser nailed down the win after Kirk Gibson hit a game-winning HR in the 12th. Gibson would provide more thunder in Game 5 to send the series back to LA with the boys in blue up 3-2. After the Mets won Game 6, Orel Hershiser blanked the Mets 6-0 to win NLCS MVP honors, and send the Dodgers on to the World Series. The Dodgers would face the Oakland Athletics in the World Series and would be heavy underdogs yet again. If the Dodgers were to win the World Series, they were going to have to do it without Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk, let alone run. In the ninth inning of Game 1, the A’s held a 4-3 lead with two outs and had ace closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound. He would have the Dodgers down to their last out with one on when Kirk Gibson was brought off of the bench to hit. Gibson limped to the plate after he convinced Tommy Lasorda that he could handle the Pinch Hitting. After every painful swing, it was clear that Gibson was overmatched, and in too much pain to help the Dodgers. After each painful swing, he would grimace in pain. Eckersley appeared ready to put him away and give the A’s the first game of the series when the unexpected happened. Gibson was able to get just enough power on his swing to hit the ball over the Right Field wall and give the Dodgers a 5-4 win. In perhaps one of the most dramatic moments, Gibson won the game despite playing on two bad knees and limped slowly around the bases. It would be Gibson’s only World Series at-bat, and he would not be needed again. The Dodgers would use this game and the superior pitching of World Series MVP Orel Hershiser, who won two games to win the series in five games.
1989: Orel Hershiser, whose 15-15 record belied another strong season on the mound, led a Dodgers pitching staff that yielded the fewest runs in the majors. However, with an offense last among major-league clubs in scoring runs, the Dodgers could finish no better than fourth in the West with a 77-83 record.
1990: Orel Hershiser’s season ended almost as soon as it began when he underwent shoulder surgery in late April, but young Ramon Martinez took up the slack, winning 20 games. With a revived offense that topped the NL West in runs scored, the Dodgers bounced back from a slow first half to draw within three and a half games of the Cincinnati Reds in late September. The Dodgers would finish second, five games out with an 86-76 record. “Fernandomania” also had one last hurrah as Fernando Valenzuela pitched his first career no-hitter on June 29th vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, just hours after Oakland A’s ace Dave Stewart No-Hit the Toronto Blue Jays this was the first time in the 20th Century two No-Hitter were thrown on the same day.
1991: From early May to late August, the Dodgers occupied first place in the NL West, paced by the majors’ stingiest pitching staff and the hot bats of free-agent acquisitions Brett Butler and Darryl Strawberry. However, the team never enjoyed more than a six-game lead, and with seven straight losses after the All-Star break, the Dodgers began their descent. From August 21st through season’s end, the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves stayed within two games of each other. With four games to go, Los Angeles held a one-game lead, but after they lost their next three games, the Dodgers had to settle for second place with a 93-69 record.
1992: Unable to parry the twin blows of injury and inexperience, the Dodgers stumbled to the worst record in the majors with 99 losses and finished last for the first time in 87 years. A lone bright spot for the Dodgers was Eric Karros, who won the Rookie of the Year, beginning a five year-run of Dodger rookies receiving the award.
1993: Mike Piazza, a 62nd round pick in 1988, set multitudes of new Dodger records in his rookie year as he batted .318, with 35 HR and 112 RBI. His 35 home runs were the most ever by a rookie catcher in the major leagues, breaking the old mark of Matt Nokes. As a tribute to how dynamic his rookie season was, the NL voted him the player of the week three times, which led the NL. He became the fourth rookie catcher to be named to an All-Star Game, and his last two home runs disintegrated the Dodgers’ arch-rival San Francisco Giants’ hopes of winning the National League West. Meanwhile, with Piazza winning Rookie of the Year, the Dodgers finished in 4th place with an 81-81 record.
1994: Raul Mondesi became the 3rd straight Dodger to win the Rookie of the Year by batting .306 with 63 runs, 16 home runs, 56 RBI, and 16 outfield assists that led the majors. He also led the team with 27 doubles, 224 total bases, and 133 hits. The Dodgers struggled to keep their record above .500, but their 58-56 record, while only the league’s fifth-best, was good enough for a three and a half-game lead over runner-up San Francisco in the weakened NL West when the strike ended the season August 12th.
1995: The Dodgers 4th straight rookie of the year was Japanese sensation Hideo Nomo. Nicknamed “The Tornado,” Nomo paced the NL with 236 strikeouts and led the Dodgers to the NL West division title by just one game over the power-hitting Colorado Rockies with a 78-66 record. However, in the NLDS, the Dodgers are swept by the Cincinnati Reds in three straight games.
1996: In a year that will be remembered as a year of significant change, Tommy Lasorda retired as Dodger manager after 20 years, after suffering a mild heart attack on June 23rd. Bill Russell took over for the remainder of the season, leading the team into the postseason for the second consecutive year, as the NL’s Wild Card with a 90-72 record. Meanwhile, Todd Hollandsworth became the unprecedented five straight Rookie Of The Year, capping a fantastic streak begun in 1992. However, the Dodgers would be swept again in the NLDS this time by the Atlanta Braves.
1997: Mike Piazza continued to rewrite the record books with new career highs in batting average (.362) and home runs (40), both Los Angeles records, while Chan Ho Park emerged as a star winning a then-career-high 14 games. The Dodgers and San Francisco Giants battled it out throughout the summer with the Giants edging the Dodgers, who finished with an 88-74 record, for first place by two games. At season’s end, there would be even more change as an O’Malley would no longer own the Dodgers. Peter O’Malley, the son of Walter, would sell the team in the off-season to Communications Magnate Rupert Murdoch, whose many holdings include the Fox Network.
1998: Rupert Murdoch did not make many fans in his first season as Dodgers’ owner traded Mike Piazza along with Todd Zeile was traded to the Florida Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, and Charles Johnson. Piazza, a Free Agent at season’s end, was begging to appear to be too expensive to keep. To make matters worse for LA Piazza was shipped to the Mets a week later. The trade made the Mets one of the top teams in the NL while the Dodgers were stuck n the middle of the pack despite having one of the highest payrolls. The Dodgers who would fire Bill Russell in the middle of the season would end up in 3rd place with an 83-79 record.
1999: The Dodgers bring in Davey Johnson to manage the club and trade for catcher Todd Hundley. Neither deal works out as the Dodgers struggle all season and finish in third place with a disappointing 77-85 record.
2000: Gary Sheffield put together one of the best offensive performances in Dodger history, batting .325 and leading the Major Leagues in home runs through much of the summer. For the second straight season, Sheffield batted over .300 with at least 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, 100 walks and 100 runs, becoming the first Dodger ever to do so twice. He established a new Los Angeles team benchmark for home runs in a season and tied Duke Snider’s franchise record of 43 home runs, making the All-Star Team for the third time in as many years as a Dodger. However, the Dodgers would finish no better than 2nd place with an 86-76 record. Following the season manager Davey Johnson is dismissed, along with Catcher Todd Hundley, who failed miserably in his attempt to replace Mike Piazza. While the season was wrapping up a familiar face was in Sydney, Australia for the Olympics Leading a team of Minor League Prospects, and castoffs, Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda wins the Olympic Gold Medal in Baseball, at Olympics in Sydney, Australia. A Gold Medal Game upset over the powerful Cuban National Team highlights the run.
2001: Despite demanding a trade and sulking all season Gary Sheffield has another spectacular season with 36 HR, and 100 RBI. Meanwhile, Shawn Green, who struggled in his first season in LA, came up big in year two with 49 HR, and 125 RBI. With the power of Sheffield and Green, the Dodgers remain in the race until September before fading and finishing in third place with an 86-76 record. Following the season, the Dodgers would give Sheffield his wish trading him to the Atlanta Braves for OF Brain Jordan, and pitcher Odalis Perez.
2002: Despite early offensive struggles and a various string of injuries to Kevin Brown, the Dodgers are in contention all season for both the NL West and Wild Card finishing just three games short of the playoffs while finishing in 3rd place with a solid 92-70 record. Along the way, Eric Gagne became one of the most dominant closers in baseball, while Kazuisha Ishii and Odalis Perez led one of the strongest starting staffs in the NL. Starring on offense was Shawn Green, who broke out of an early-season slump by smashing four HR in a May 23rd game against the Brewers in Milwaukee, adding a double and a single to set the single-game total bases record of 19.
2003: The Dodgers had the top pitching staff in all of baseball with an impressive team ERA of 3.16. At the plate, the Dodgers had perhaps the worst hitting team in all of baseball scoring a Major League worse 574 runs on the season. The Dodgers hitting woes would land them quickly in a hole in the NL West, as they were ten games out of first by the end of April. The Dodgers would make a run and would catch the San Francisco Giants in time for a three-game series on June 23rd. The Dodgers would lose two out of three games as the Giants pulled out to a double-digit lead again, as the Dodgers hitting continued to struggle. Among the most significant disappointments was Shawn Green, who only had 19 homers. Despite the power outage, the Dodgers would stay in the race for the Wild Card until the end of the season as their bullpen led by Eric Gagne, who was a perfect 55 for 55 in save opportunities, made sure every late-inning lead held up. However, the Dodgers would not be able to catch the Florida Marlins for the wild card as they ended the season in second place with an 85-77 record.
2004: Eric Gagne was dominant out of the bullpen again as he continued his save streak into July before blowing a two-run 9th inning lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 5th, totaling 84 straight saves over nearly two years. Gagne would go on to win the Fireman again with 45 saves in 47 opportunities. July would be a big month for the Dodgers as they won 21 of 28 games to take the lead in the NL West, battling the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres the rest of the way. With the hopes of bolstering the team, the Dodgers added Steve Finley at the trade deadline. Still, in a move that seemed questionable, they would deal Paul LoDuca and Juan Encarnacion to the Florida Marlins for Hee Seop Choi and Brad Penny. Benny would suffer an arm injury in just his second start with the Dodgers and would go on to make only one appearance the rest of the way. The Dodgers were able to stay in the race thanks to Adrian Beltre, who finally delivered the numbers the Dodgers expected out of him, leading the NL in homers with 48. As September wore on, the Padres would fall off, and the race would come down between the Dodgers and the Giants. On the next to last week of the season, the Dodgers went into San Francisco and took two out of three games and went into the final week holding their destiny as the Giants need to sweep the Dodgers in Los Angeles just to force a playoff. After losing the first game, the Dodgers dramatically won the Western Division as Steve Finley capped a seven-run 9th inning rally with a Grand Slam to give the Dodgers a 7-3, as the Dodgers posted a solid 93-69 record. In the playoffs, the Dodgers would face the St. Louis Cardinals and would get off to a rocky start as they dropped the first two games by identical 8-3 scores continuing their postseason losing streak to eight games. The Dodgers would finally breakthrough in Game 3 as the series shifted to Los Angeles as Jose Lima blanked the Cardinals 4-0. It was too little too late as the Cardinals wrapped up the series in 4 games with a 6-2 win. Following the season, the Dodgers would go through several changes as they lost Adrian Beltre to Free Agency while trading away Shawn Green to the Diamondbacks while signing J.D. Drew, Jeff Kent, and Derek Lowe to big Free Agent Deals.
2005: Despite a division championship in 2004 the Dodgers were a radically different team when they took the field in 2005, and it appeared to be a good mix at the start of the season as the Dodgers won 12 of their first 14 games, on the way to a terrific 15-8 record for April. As May began, the Dodgers started to show cracks as Eric Gagne was lost to an elbow injury, while Duaner Sanchez and Yhency Brazoban filled the closer role solidly. However, the Dodgers offense would begin to sputter as J.D. Drew, who had a history of injuries before the Dodgers signed him, played in just 72 games. At the same time, Jeff Kent was seemingly the Dodgers’ only source of offense as his 105 RBI was 42 better than Olmedo Saenz, who had the second-highest total on the team, as the Dodgers posted a losing record for the month. In June, things only got worse as the Dodgers slipped below .500, and slid down the Western Division standings, leading Dodgers fans to call for the firing of GM Paul DePodesta vocally. After entering the All-Star Break with a 40-48 record, the Dodgers continued to struggle in the second half as they lost four of their first five games. They were never a factor in the chase for the NL Western Division Title despite all five teams being below .500 much of the season. The Dodgers would eventually finish the season in fourth place with a terrible record of 71-91. Following the disappointing season Dodgers, fans would get their wish as GM DePodesta was fired and replaced Nick Colletti. At the same time, Manager Jim Tracy was also shown the door being replaced by former Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little.
2006: Coming off their disappointing season, the Dodgers completely retooled as they focused more on team speed as they signed free agent SS Rafael Furcal away from the Atlanta Braves. Meanwhile, young prospects like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Russell Martin were given plenty of playing time. With Eric Gagne starting the season on the Disabled List, the Dodgers experienced an early blow as Yhency Brazoban was lost early to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Gagne would return in May, but continued elbow pain forced him to the sidelines again after just two games. Meanwhile, Danys Baez acquired from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to provide back up for a recovering Gagne struggled to blow 7-of-16 save opportunities with a 4.35 ERA. Despite all the troubles with the pen, and their youthful lineup the Dodgers stayed in the NL West race as they entered the All-Star Break with a 46-42 record. Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Dodgers struggled badly, losing 13-of-14 games as they landed in last place. Just as suddenly as the losing streak began, the Dodgers reversed course and caught fire as they acquired 300-game winner Greg Maddux from the Chicago Cubs for Cesar Izturis to anchor the starting rotation. Winning 11 in a row and 17-of-18 as they climbed from last place to first place in the tightly bunched NL West. The Dodgers would play well the rest of the season partly thanks to Takashi Saito, a 36-year old from Japan who, in his first season in America notched 24 saves in 26 opportunities with a 2.07 ERA, as Manager Grady Little labeled him a “God Send.” The Dodgers would stay in the race for the NL West until the end of the season as they battled the San Diego Padres a team struggled against all season winning just 5 of 19 matchups. However, one September win over the Padres was extra memorable as they trailed 9-5 entering the 9th inning, when Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson hit four consecutive home runs to tie the game. After the Padres re-took the lead in the 10th Nomar Garciaparra, the NL Comeback Player of the year won the game 11-10 with a two-run homer. The Dodgers would end the season hot winning their last seven games to finish with an 88-74 record, but their 5-14 record against the Padres cost them the division title as they settled for the Wild Card. In the NLDS against the New York Mets, the Dodgers stumbled early as Kent and Drew were thrown out at home on the same play, short-circuiting a potential big inning, as the Mets took the opener 6-5. In Game 2, Dodgers bats were silenced by Tom Glavine as the Dodgers managed just four hits in six innings, while the Mets bullpen took over and continued to dominate as the Mets won 4-1. Needing a win as the series shifted to LA the Dodgers found themselves in an early hole trailing 4-0 after three innings. The Dodgers would erase the deficit on a fifth-inning homer by Jeff Kent, as they rallied to take a 5-4 lead. It would be a short-lived lead as the Mets offense came roaring back with three runs in the 7th on the way to completing the sweep with a 9-5 win.
2007: Coming off their division championship, the Dodgers entered the season hoping they could take a step further in the postseason. For much of the first half things looked good for the Dodgers as they were in first place or near first place much of the first half while holding the best record in NL at 54-41 on July 18th, having sent three players Brad Penny, Takashi Saito, and Russell Martin to the All-Star Game. However, a weekend in which they lost three of four to the New York Mets seemed to be the turning point of the season as the Dodgers went into a prolonged slump losing 18 of their next 25 games, falling seven games out of first. The Dodgers would rebound as August came to close, crawling back within a game and half of the top spot, but September would bring more pain as the Dodgers argued amongst themselves and fell out of the race landing in fourth place with a mediocre record of 82-80. Following the season, the Dodgers would openly court the possibility of a managerial change as they expressed an interest in Joe Torre. He was ending a highly successful tenure with the New York Yankees. Eventually, Manager Grady Little would see the writing on the wall and resign, as Torre signed a three-year contract worth $13 million.
2008: The Joe Torre era got off to a slow start as the Dodgers found themselves as many as seven games out of first place in April, as the Dodgers stumbled out of the gate. One early disappointment was the play of free-agent acquisition Andruw Jones, who became one of the biggest busts in baseball history. The former Atlanta Braves All-Star looked lost at the plate all season after signing a two-year deal worth $36.2 Million. Jones, would finish the season with a pitcher like .158 average with three home runs and just 15 RBI before injuries shut him down for the season. Despite posting a mediocre record in May and June, the Dodgers stayed in the race as the entire NL Western Division struggled, with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The latter got off to a fast start themselves coming back to the pack. At the All-Star Break, despite a 46-49 record, the Dodgers were just one game out of first place. With injuries to key hitters like Nomar Garciaparra and Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers had already landed Casey Blake from the Cleveland Indians. Still, the biggest deal would come on July 31st when the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez in a three-team deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Manny Ramirez. Due to reports he was faking an injury to force a trade from the Red Sox, the Dodgers did not have to give up much to land the upcoming free agent, as they sent Adam LaRoche and single-A prospect pitcher Bryan Morris to the Pirates for OF Jason Bay. The latter was sent on to Boston to complete the deal. Landing in Los Angeles and wearing #99, Manny Ramirez focused on finishing the season as strongly as possible for the largest contract, and the Dodgers would be the beneficiary. In his first game with the Dodgers, Manny Ramirez hit a home run, the 527th of his brilliant career, as he was named NL Player of the Month for August, with an incredible .415 average, with 9 HR, and 25 RBI, as the Dodgers battled the D-Backs for first place. In September, he was just as good as the Dodgers posted a 17-8 record down the stretch to win the NL Western Division with a record of 84-78. Despite only playing with the Dodgers for two months, Manny Ramirez was given serious MVP consideration finishing fourth in the voting, as he posted a .396 average, with 17 HR 53 RBI. In the NLDS, the Dodgers faced the Chicago Cubs, who all season held the best record in the National League. However, a Grand Slam by James Loney lifted the Dodgers to a stunning 7-2 victory in Game 1. In Game 2, it was more of the same as the Dodgers took advantage of four Cubs errors, to take a 2-0 series lead grabbing a 10-2 victory over Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano. As the series shifted to Dodger Stadium, it was the Dodgers pitching what took over as Hiroki Kuroda blanked the Cubs into the seventh inning, as LA completed the sweep with a 3-1 win. In the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers grabbed an early lead in Game 1 on the road. However, Derek Lowe gave up two costly homers in the sixth inning as the Phillies took the opener 3-2. After an 8-5 loss in Game 2, the Dodgers found themselves facing a must-win situation in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium. With five runs in the first inning, the Dodgers would get back into the series as Kuroda won his second game of the postseason 7-2. Game 4 would go back and forth as the Dodgers held 5-3 lead going into the eighth inning. However, the Dodgers bullpen faltered, giving up to two-run homers, as the Phillies took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 7-5 win. The Phillies would go on to close the series out in five games, ending the Dodgers season with a 5-1 win in Game 5, as they went on to win the World Series.
2009: Following the season, the Dodgers would seek more changes, as Derek Lowe left to sign a deal with the Atlanta Braves. Jeff Kent announced his retirement, and Free Agent bust Andruw Jones was released, as the Dodgers spent the entire off-season trying to re-sign Manny Ramirez, which they would finally accomplish just as spring training was beginning. A spring training that was different than any other spring the Dodgers have had, as they moved to their new spring home at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona after 60 years at Dodger Town in Vero Beach, Florida. Despite waiting for all offseason to sign, Manny Ramirez played well from the start of the season as he posted a .348 average with six home runs and 20 RBI in the first month of the season. After starting the season on the road with a 4-3 record in the first week of the season, the Dodgers came home. They won their Dodger Stadium season opener 11-1 over the San Francisco Giants, with 2B Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle. The Dodgers would quickly grab control of the NL West, as they won their first 13 games at home. However, on May 7th the Dodgers hit their first bump in the road, as Manny Ramirez became the biggest star to date to receive a 50 game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs after a test revealed a banned substance in his system. The day of the suspension would see the Dodgers home winning streak come to an end as the Dodgers bullpen imploded in an 11-9 loss to the Washington Nationals. However, the Dodgers would still go on to post a solid 20-9 record in May, as they built a nine-game lead over their division rivals. Manny would return in July and would end the season hitting .290 with 19 homers and 63 RBI. The Dodgers’ strong start would hold up as they held on to first place the remainder of the season, as the Colorado Rockies made it close at the end, as they posted an NL best 95-67 record. In the NLDS, the Dodgers got off to a quick start against the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the opener 5-2 as five relievers combined to shut down the Cardinals after starter Randy Wolf struggled to get out of the 4th inning. In Game 2, the Dodgers used the late afternoon California sun to their advantage as they scored two runs in the ninth Inning after Cardinals LF Matt Holiday dropped a fly ball off that bat of James Loney. That would have ended the game with a 2-1 victory for the Cardinals instead Ronnie Belliard singled in Juan Pierre. The latter pinch ran for Loney with the tying run. He was followed by Mark Loretta, who singled home Casey Blake with the winning run to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win. With Vicente Padilla pitching seven strong innings and homers from Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers would complete the sweep with a 5-1 win in St. Louis in Game 3. In the NLCS, the Dodgers would once again face the Philadelphia Phillies and found themselves in an early hole as Clayton Kershaw struggled in the opener, with the Phillies winning 8-6. With Padilla on the hill in Game 2, the Dodgers would win a pitcher’s duel 2-1 as Chan Ho Park bases-loaded walk of Andre Ethier gave the Dodgers the lead in the 8th inning. After an ugly 11-0 loss in Game 3, the Dodgers appeared to be on the way to evening the series as they held a 4-3 lead in the 9th inning. However, Closer Jonathan Broxton gave up a two-run double to Jimmy Rollins, with two outs to give the Phillies a 5-4 win that gave them a 3-1 stranglehold in the series. The Phillies would go on to eliminate the Dodgers in five games with a 10-4 win in Game 5.
2010: The off-season following their second straight trip to the NLCS proved to be a tough one for the Dodgers, as an ugly divorce battle between Owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie. This hamstrung the team from re-signing several key free agents, including Randy Wolf, Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, and Jon Garland. The battling McCourts became the sensational story surrounding the Dodgers, as Jamie McCourt wanted to be paid for her share of the Dodgers. At the same time, Frank refused in what was quickly turning into one of the more ugly public divorces in a state known for a vicious divorce battle over California’s community property laws. The Dodgers became like the young child caught in a tug of war in the custody battle, as their fans bear the emotional scars. April would be a month of struggles for the Dodgers, as they ended the first month in last place with a record of 9-14. However, they would get things turned around in May, posting a 20-8 record, briefly holding first place after a stretch where they won 15 of 17 games. The Dodgers continued to play strong baseball as they won none of their first 11 games as June began. However, things started to go in the wrong direction as the Dodgers as their schedule got more onerous, with five losses in six games against their American League rivals down the California Turnpike in Anaheim, the Los Angeles Angels. They also suffered a three-game sweep at the hand of the Boston Red Sox, while losing two of three games to the New York Yankees at Dodger Stadium. In July, the Dodgers went into a hitting slump, scoring just 92 runs, as they posted an 11-15 record. Hoping to address some team needs, the Dodgers picked up Ryan Theriot in a trade with the Chicago Cubs for Blake Dewitt. However, it did little to help the Dodgers slumbering bats, as they posted a mediocre 14-15 record in August. As September drew near, the Dodgers made an addition by subtraction as they released Manny Ramirez, who spent most of the season on the disabled list, as he continued to struggle after returning from his 50-game suspension for Performance Enhancing Drugs in 2009. The Dodgers who were stuck in fourth place were playing out the string in September, as Manager Joe Torre announced his plans to retire following the season, as the Dodgers posted a disappointing record of 80-82. Following the season, Don Mattingly, a long time protégé of Torre, would become the new Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had another off-season that would be highlighted by the continuing battle of the McCourts.
2011: As the season began under new Manager Don Mattingly, the Dodgers were a mess due to the continued divorce battle between Owners Frank and Jaime McCourt. The Dodgers would start the season with a 2-1 win against the World Champion San Francisco Giants, as Clayton Kershaw outdueled Tim Lincecum. Any joy from the success was undone when a Giants fan was beaten into a coma by a pair of men wearing Dodgers shirts. The Dodgers were accused of having a lack of security at Dodger Stadium on opening day. It was one of many corners that the McCourts had cut to keep his finances afloat. Frank McCourt’s options began running out as he had trouble making the team’s payroll. On the outside MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig was trying to have the league take control of the team, a move that Frank McCourt heavily resisted. Despite the trouble off the field, there were some bright spots on the field as Andre Either began the season with a 30 game hitting streak, the second-longest streak in Dodgers history. The Dodgers also were getting great pitching from Clayton Kershaw, who was among league leaders in ERA, Wins, and Strikeouts, while Matt Kemp was among league leaders in Home Runs, RBI, and average. Despite the great individual seasons of Kemp and Kershaw, the Dodgers were below .500 with a record of 40-51 at the All-Star Break. Meanwhile, the league and the McCourts continued to battle as the commissioner blocked the Dodgers from taking out a loan on the television deal. Frank McCourt had already given away the land and the stadium, and now with this loan, the Dodgers were quickly losing value. After much bickering, the team was forced to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 27th. With the declaration of bankruptcy, Fran McCourt agreed to put the Dodgers up for sale. In the second half, the Dodgers played better baseball, despite dealing away Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals for prospects at the trade deadline. This was due to the continued success of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, who continued to be among the league leaders in all Triple Crown categories for pitching and hitting. Kemp would end the season with league-best 39 homers and 121 RBI and finished third with a .324 average. Kemp also had 40 steals, coming within one home run of joining the exclusive 40-40 club as he finished second in MVP voting while winning the Hank Aaron Award. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw led the National League in all three Triple Crown categories with a 21-6 record and an ERA of 2.28 as he struck out 248 to win the Cy Young Award. The Dodgers, despite never being in the pennant race, finished the season strong, posting a record of 17-9 in September to finish the season above .500 at 82-80.
2012: Before the season began, the Dodgers finally got their ownership settled as the McCourts settled their divorce case, while the Dodgers were sold to Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC. The group of investors fronted by Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter and including former Los Angeles Lakers player Magic Johnson, baseball executive Stan Kasten, and film mogul Peter Guber. The total sale price for the Dodgers (which includes Dodgers Stadium) exceeded $2 billion, making the sale the largest for a professional sports team in history. The Dodgers started the season strong, winning nine of their first ten games as they finished April in first place with a record of 16-7. Helping to pace the Dodgers early was Matt Kemp, who had 12 home runs in April. In May, Kemp would suffer a hamstring injury that would sideline him over the next two months. Despite the loss of Kemp, the Dodgers continued to lead the National League West as they held a record of 32-15 with a seven and half-game lead on Memorial Day. Injuries would take a toll on the Dodgers over the next two months as their lead quickly vanished while the team went into a deep slump, as they went 33 innings without scoring and had a no-hitter tossed against them on June 8th when playing the Seattle Mariners on the road in Safeco Field. After the All-Star Break, the Dodgers looked to get a boost to their lineup as they picked up Hanley Ramirez in a trade with the Miami Marlins on July 25th. Early on Ramirez had a big boost for the Dodgers, as he hit a home run in the 10th inning on July 27th as the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 in the first game of a three-game sweep at AT&T Park, which allowed the Dodgers to move back into a first-place tie. The Dodgers would add speedster Shane Victorino in a deadline deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. However, the momentum gained in San Francisco would be lost when the Dodgers came home and were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers and Giants would battle for first place over the next few weeks, as they went into a three-game series at Dodger Stadium with their long-time rival holding a half-game lead. The Giants would sweep the series, taking over first place for the remainder of the season. Looking to stay in the race the Dodgers made one of the biggest waiver deals in baseball history; picking up Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto from the Boston Red Sox for James Loney, Iván DeJesús, Jr., Allen Webster, and two players to be named later (Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa). Beckett, Gonzalez, and Crawford all had All-Star pedigrees but had gotten in Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine’s dog house. The Dodgers would have to wait until 2013 for Crawford, who already had elbow surgery, but Beckett was strong in the final month, posting a 2-3 record with a solid 2.99 ERA in seven starts. However, Matt Kemp once again was dealing with injuries this time to his knee and shoulder. Though he continued to play, it was clear Kemp was not himself as the Dodgers not only slipped out of the race for the division title, they slipped in the Wild Card race as they finished the season with a record of 86-76, falling two games short of the Wild Card spot. The Dodgers pitching was once again led by Clayton Kershaw, who finished second in the voting for Cy Young, with a 14-9 ERA and a league-best 2.53 ERA. Following the season, the Dodgers added strength to their rotation, as they signed Free Agent Zack Greinke to a six-year contract worth $147 million.
2013: There was renewed excitement in Los Angeles as the Dodgers’ new owners showed a commitment to building a winner by re-signing closer Brandon League to a three-year deal worth $22.5 million. In addition, they were active on the Free Agent market, picking up star players like RHP Zack Greinke, who inked a six-year contract worth $147 million. The Dodgers took their search for top-notch players global as they signed Korean pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu to a six-year deal worth $36 million. The season began with an air of optimism, as the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, with Clayton Kershaw earning the win and hitting his first career home run. April would be an up and down month for the Dodgers as they posted a record of 13-13. Kershaw posted a 3-2 record in April, with three shutouts. However, Josh Beckett struggled, posting a 0-5 record with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts, before being shut down for the season with a variety of injuries. Zack Grienke was also on the Disabled List early in the season, suffering a fractured collarbone when Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres charged the mound on April 11th, setting off a bench-clearing brawl. Grienke was expected to miss as much as eight weeks but returned in May as the Dodgers began the month with an eight-game losing streak. One Dodger who was having a particularly hard time was Matt Kemp, who was coming off shoulder surgery could not find his groove and spent the entire season coming on and off the disabled list with a series of injuries. Kemp was booed at home, as he appeared in just 73 games with a .270 average with six home runs and 33 RBI. As May dragged on, the Dodgers season appeared to be unraveling as they found themselves in last place 23-30, as rumors began to swirl that Manager Don Mattingly was on the verge of being replaced. The only bright spot during the first two months was the pitching of Kershaw, who was 5-3, and Hyun-jin Ryu, who started 6-2 and combined with having nearly half of the Dodgers wins. Looking for a spark, the Dodgers called up Cuban Defector Yasiel Puig from AA Chattanooga. Puig hit .436 with seven home runs as he was named Player of the Month for June. However, the Dodgers continued to struggle as held a record of 31-42 and were nine and a half games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks on June 21st. With the ax ready to fall on Mattingly, the Dodgers suddenly became the team that was expected to contend for the pennant as they ended the month winning eight of their last nine games. The Dodgers stayed hot in July and made it back to .500 at 47-47 at the All-Star Break. The Dodgers would start the season’s second half on the road, sweeping the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays as they climbed for last to first place in the National League West. Coming home, the Dodgers would win four of their next six games as they posted a record of 19-6 in July. However, on the road is where they truly excelled with a franchise-record 15 straight road wins that ended on August 6th with a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the Dodgers surge continued as they won three of four in Busch Stadium. The Dodgers would start August by winning 15 of 16 games as their incredible turnaround continued. Between June 22nd and August 17th the Dodgers did not lose more than one game in a row as they completed the best 50 game stretch in baseball history in 101 years at 42-8. The Dodgers would go on to easily win the division title with a record of 92-70, finishing 11 games ahead of the Diamondbacks. Clayton Kershaw would win his second Cy Young Award in three years with a record of 16-9 with an ERA of 1.83 and 232 strikeouts. Yasiel Puig’s whose arrival helped signal the Dodgers turnaround finished second in Rookie of the Year balloting 19 homers, 42 RBI, and a .319 average in 104 games, while Hyun-jin Ryu finished fourth with a 14-8 record and an ERA of 3.00.
2013 Postseason: In the NLDS, the Dodgers would face the Atlanta Braves, with Clayton Kershaw coming up big in Game 1, striking out 12 batters over seven innings as the Dodgers took the opener at Turner Field 6-1. The Braves would rebound to win the following day 4-3, despite a home run and two doubles by Hanley Ramirez as the series shifted to Dodger Stadium even at a game apiece. The Braves jumped out early in Game 3, as Hyun-jin Ryu struggled, but with Ramirez leading the way with a double and a triple, and homers from Carl Crawford and Juan Uribe the Dodgers won the game 13-6. Looking to finish the Braves, the Dodgers started Kershaw on three days’ rest and led early 2-0 on a pair of Crawford home runs, but a pair of Adrian Gonzalez errors saw the Braves spring back and take a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning. However, a two-run blast by Juan Uribe put the Dodgers in front to stay as they won the series in four games with a 4-3 win. Facing the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1, the Braves got a solid start from Zack Grienke but ended up being done in Carlos Beltran, who drove in all three runs as the Cards won 3-2 in 13 innings. In addition, Beltran threw out Mark Ellis trying to score the go-ahead run in the top of the 13th. Game 2 would bring more frustration for the Dodgers as Clayton Kershaw allowed just one run on two hits but lost the game as the Dodgers could not score of Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha. Yasiel Puig, who had gone hitless in his first 11 at-bats in the NLCS triple in Game 3 as the Dodgers won 3-0 behind a strong out from Hyun-jin Ryu. The Cardinals would bounce back to double up the Dodgers 4-2 in Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Dodgers would keep their hopes alive with a 6-4 win in Game 5, as Adrian Gonzalez led a four home run attack with two long balls. However, Clayton Kershaw would suffer his worst outing of the season in Game 6 as the Cardinals blanked the Dodgers 9-0 to advance to the World Series.
2014: The Los Angeles Dodgers made history starting the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, becoming the first teams to play down under. The Dodgers would win both games played at the Sydney Cricket Grounds, but coming home, the trip would take a toll as Clayton Kershaw came up with a sore back and missed all of April. While Kershaw was out, the Dodgers avoided building an early hole, thanks to solid pitching from Zack Greinke, who won five games in the season’s first month as the Dodgers posted a record of 15-12. Kershaw returned in May, but the Dodgers struggled for most of the month, losing three of four to the San Francisco Giants as they eventually fell ten games back by the start of June. Kershaw won three of five decisions, but the highlight of the month was a No-Hitter by Josh Beckett against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25th. Josh Beckett was good early on, but a reoccurrence of his left hip impingement an injury that would eventually force him to retire. Meanwhile, Kershaw found his grove in June, winning six games and posting a 0.82 ERA, highlighted by a No-Hitter against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 18th, striking out 15 with the only base runner reaching on an error in the seventh inning. Clayton Kershaw continued to dominate in July, extending his scoreless innings streak to 41 innings. The Dodgers meanwhile erased the ten-game deficit and took over first place. Clayton Kershaw went on to post one of the most dominant years in the history of baseball, posting a record of 21-3 with an ERA of 1.77 and 239 strikeouts as he won his third Cy Young Award in four years. Not only was Kershaw a unanimous choice for the Cy Young, but he became the first National League Pitcher to win the MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968. The Dodgers would go on to win the National League West, posting a record of 94-68. While Clayton Kershaw got all the headlines, Zack Greinke was nearly as good, posting a record of 17-8 with an ERA of 2.71, striking out 207. Another pitcher who had a strong season in Los Angeles was Hyun-jin Ryu, who won 14 games. The Dodgers offense meanwhile was led by Adrian Gonzalez, who led the team with 27 home runs and 116 RBI. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp, who struggled early in the season, had a second-half resurgence hitting 25 long balls, with 89 RBI.
2014 NLDS: The Dodgers would face the St. Louis Cardinals in Division Series, as Clayton Kershaw opposed Adam Wainwright in the battle of 20 game-winners. The Dodgers and Kershaw appeared to be cruising early, building a 6-1 lead behind homer from A.J. Ellis. However, after a Matt Carpenter home in the sixth, the Cardinals would erupt for eight runs in the seventh inning to take the opener 10-9, as a late rally led by Adrian Gonzalez fell short. In Game 2, Zack Greinke struck out seven while allowing zero runs and two hits in seven innings. The Cardinals would rally to tie the game off the Dodgers bullpen in the eighth, as Carpenter hit another back break home run. The Dodgers would answer with Matt Kemp home run in the bottom of the eighth to win the game 3-2. As the series shifted to St. Louis, the Dodgers got a strong game from Hyun-jin Ryun, but once again, Carpenter would hammer the Dodgers with a seventh-inning home run that enabled the Cardinals to win the game 3-1. Desperate to get back in the series, the Dodgers turned to Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4. After scratching out two runs in the sixth inning, the Dodgers had a chance to even the series leading 2-0 in the seventh inning. However, once again, the Cardinals rallied late with Matt Adams touching Kershaw for a three-run homer to put the Red Birds in front. The Cardinals would win the game 3-2 to finish the series off in four games, beating Kershaw four times in two postseason series.
2015: Following a disappointing playoff exit in the NLDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers underwent a major shakeup from the front office to the field. The Dodgers removed fired General ManagerNed Colletti and hired Andrew Friedman, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, to the newly created post of President of Baseball Operations. Friedman announced he would rebuild the Dodgers farm system rather than focus on free agency. The Dodgers would drastically reshape the roster, trading away Matt Kemp, Dee Gordon and Dan Haren, while bringing in Howie Kendrick, Brandon McCarthy Jimmy Rollins and Yasmani Grandal. Coming off a third Cy Young in four years that came with the National League MVP award, Clayton Kershaw remained one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Early in the season, Kershaw passed to milestones, with his 1,500th career strikeout on May 10th and his 100th win a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies five days later. Kershaw would pitch in hard luck through much of the first half as he managed just a 6-6 record in the first half, despite one of the best ERAs in the National League. Kershaw would finally get his wins in the second half, as he won 10 of 11 decisions. For the season, Clayton Kershaw would post a record of 16-7, with an ERA of 2.13, as he became the first pitcher in 13 years to reach 300 strikeouts, ending the year with 301 to lead all of baseball. Despite his outstanding season, Clayton Kershaw was not the best pitcher on the Dodgers pitching staff as Zach Greinke dominated opposing hitters for the entire season. Posting a record of 19-3, Grienke’s 1.66 ERA was the lowest in baseball as he had 200 strikeouts and only lost out on the Cy Young Award when Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs had the greatest two month stretch in baseball history at the end of the year. While Grienke and Kershaw formed the best 1-2 punch in baseball, the rest of the Dodgers rotation was less reliable. Injuries played a significant role as Brandon McCarthy, who won his first three decisions, was shut down at the end of April after he suffered a torn UCL, needing Tommy John surgery. Despite some ups and downs in the rotation, the Dodgers led the National League Western Division nearly wire-to-wire, powered by a strong April that saw them post a record of 13-8. One of the players driving the Dodgers early season success was Rookie Center Fielder Joc Pederson, who tore the cover off the ball in the first half of the season, hitting his 20th home run on June 29th as he became the third Rookie to have 20 home runs before the start of July. Pederson would be selected to play in the All-Star Game and would get the start to replace the injured Matt Holiday. Joc Pederson would even participate in the Home Run Derby, making into the finals. As often is the case participating in the Home Run Derby can mess with a player’s swing, Whether it was the derby slump or pitchers catching up to him, Joc Pederson struggled in the second half, finishing the season with 26 homers. His batting average ended at .210 with the Dodgers benching the Rookie in August while considering a demotion to AAA Oklahoma City. Another Dodgers disappointment was Yasiel Puig, who was plagued by injuries and continued poor decision making while hitting just 11 home runs with 38 RBI. One player who did not disappoint was Justin Turner, the garden gnome look-a-like who had a career season, taking over the starting job at third base, batting .294 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI. Meanwhile, Adrian Gonzalez was the Dodgers’ primary power source with 28 home runs and 90 RBI. The Dodgers would finish the season with a record of 92-70, claiming a third straight division title.
2015 NLDS: When the Division series began, Clayton Kershaw looking to erase postseason struggles of the past, got the start at Dodger Stadium in Game 1 against the New York Mets. Kershaw was solid striking out 11 batters in six innings while allowing only a fourth-inning home run by Daniel Murphy. Unfortunately, Jacob deGrom was better striking out 13 Dodgers, as the Mets won the opener 3-1. Zack Greinke got the start in Game 2 and was tagged with home runs by Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto in the second inning. Grienke would settle down and not allow anything else, but another young pitcher from New York had them tied up in knots as the Mets held a 2-1 in the seventh inning. The Dodgers would catch their first break of the series that inning when Howie Kendrick hit a ball that looked like a potential double play to Daniel Murphy. However, they were able to tie the game thanks to Chase Utley’s take out slide on Shortstop Ruben Tejada, scoring Enrique Hernández, with the tying run. The slide would result in a broken leg for Tejada. As he was carted off the field, the play was reviewed, and the initial out at second was revered, putting Utley at second base as it was ruled Tejada did not touch the bag while avoiding the steamrolling Utley who chuckled at the Dodgers change of fortune. The Dodgers would go on to score three more runs to win the game 5-2 and even the series. However, the Chase Utley tackle play remained a controversy as he was suspended for the next two games. The suspension would be appealed and eventually rescinded, but future plays like the one that turned around Game 2 were made illegal. Chase Utley was the target of all of New York’s hate as the series shifted to Citi Field. The Dodgers got off to a good start in Game 3, taking a 3-0 lead on Yasmani Grandal’s bases-clearing single in the second inning. The lead was gone as quick as it was gained as Brett Anderson was touched up for four runs in the bottom of the inning. Things would only get worse for LA from there as the Mets tallied 13 runs to win the game 13-7 and take a 2-1 series lead. Facing desperation, the Dodgers again turned to Clayton Kershaw on short rest. This time he would come through, allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings to earn the win as the Dodgers evened the series 3-1. Back home for the decisive fifth game, the Dodgers had Zach Greinke on the mound against Jacob deGrom. The two pitchers were both solid as the game was even at two at the end of six innings. In the seventh inning, the Mets broke in front 3-2 as Daniel Murphy homered down the line. The Mets 3-2 would stand up as Noah Syndergaard retired the side in the seventh inning, while Jeurys Familia closed the door with a six-out save. Despite their disappointing exit, Justin Turner had a Division Series to remember with ten hits, six of which were doubles in 19 at-bats. However, more often than not, he was left stranded on base. A week after the Dodgers season came to an end, the club and Manager Don Mattingly agreed to a mutual parting of the ways, singling another off-season of change.
2016: Change was in the air for the Los Angeles Dodgers as Dave Roberts took over the managerial reigns. It was also the final season of Vin Scully as the voice of the Dodgers, as he announced plans to retire following his 67th season. The Dodgers started the season fast, blanking the San Diego Padres 15-0 at Petco Park in the biggest Opening Day rout in MLB history. Clayton Kershaw was terrific, allowing just one hit in seven innings, with nine strikeouts. The next game Scott Kazmir made his Dodger debut, winning 3-0. At the same time, Kenta Maeda made his major league debut with six scoreless innings and also hit a home run in his second at-bat. The first Dodger pitcher to homer in his debut since Dan Bankhead in 1947 as the Dodgers won 7-0 to complete the sweep, outscoring the Padres 25-0 in three games. However, they struggled in their next four games, losing three of four to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Dodgers had their ups and downs in April, as they ended the month with a six-game losing streak to finish the month at 12-13. The Dodgers would post records of 16-12 in May and June, as Clayton Kershaw got off to the best start of his career, holding a record of 11-1 with an ERA of 1.57. Kershaw would lose his next start while dealing with back pain that would sideline him most of the summer. The Dodgers battled the Giants much of the first half and ended June with a record of 44-37, six games out of first place. As June came to an end the Dodgers, acquired Bud Norris from the Atlanta Braves to replace Kershaw in the rotation. While Norris could never approach the success of Clayton Kershaw, the rest of the team took on a next man up mentality to lead the Dodgers to the best month of the season at 15-9, as they cut the Giants lead to two games by the end of the month. Not satisfied with their progress, the Dodgers continued to make additions at the trade deadline, acquiring outfielder Josh Reddick, starting pitcher Rich Hill and relievers Jesse Chavez and Josh Fields. At the same time, they made the stunning decision to demote Yasiel Puig to the minor leagues. The move was a message from Manage Dave Roberts for Puig’s continued underachieving play. Despite an up and down August, the Dodgers caught and passed the Giants to move into first place in the NL West for the remainder of the season. September would be a strong month for the Dodgers as got a boost when Clayton Kershaw made his return on September 9th. Kershaw would finish the season with a record of with a 12-4 record and 1.69 ERA. He also struck out 172 batters with only 11 walks. Vin Scully was honored before the Dodgers final home game on September 25th. His last call from the booth at Dodger Stadium would be one to remember, as Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off home run in the tenth inning. The 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies also clinched the Dodger fourth straight division championship. The Dodgers would go on to finish the season with a record of 91-71, with Roberts winning Manager of the Year. Also, earning individual honors was Corey Seager, who was the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year after posting a team-best .306 average with 26 home runs, 72 RBI and 105 runs scored. In addition, Kensley Jansen won the Trevor Hoffman Award as the best closer in the National League with 47 saves.
2016 NLDS: Facing the Washington Nationals in the Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers found themselves in a marquee pitching matchup in the opener as Clayton Kershaw faced Max Scherzer. However, neither pitcher was on top of their game as the Dodgers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning powered by a two-run home run from Justin Turner. The Nats would answer, as Kershaw barely made it through five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, with seven strikeouts. The Dodgers bullpen could not be any better, as they allowed just one hit over the last four innings, with Kensley Jansen slamming the door by recording the final five outs for the save. The Nationals would recover with a 5-3 win in Game 2 to even the series. As the series shifted to Dodger Stadium for Game 3, Kenta Maeda was roughed up, allowing four runs in the third inning as the Nationals won the game 8-3 to take control of the series. Facing desperation again, the Dodgers turned to Clayton Kershaw to make the start on short rest. Kershaw was not sharp again, as he allowed five runs in six and two-thirds innings, as he let a 5-2 lead slip away. Joe Blanton came on to stop the bleeding as the game was tied until the eighth inning when the Dodgers started a two-out rally when a pitch hit Andrew Toles. Andre Either and Chase Utley followed with back-to-back singles to score Toles, as Jansen pitched a perfect ninth striking out two, as the Dodgers won the game 6-5 to force fifth game back in Washington. The Dodgers went into Game 5 with an all hands on deck mentality, which would come into play as Rich Hill did not make it out of the third inning. Hill was able to limit the damage as the Nats held a 1-0 at the end of six innings. Joc Pederson finally got the Dodgers on the board by leading off the seventh inning with a home run off Max Scherzer. That was the break the Dodgers needed, as Scherzer was pulled after the home run, opening the door for Los Angeles to score three runs of the Nationals bullpen to take a 4-1 lead. The Nats answered with a pair of runs of Grant Dayton who was unable to retire a batter in the seventh trying to hold the lead. Desperate Dave Roberts asked Kensley Jansen to pitch the final three innings. At the same time, Clayton Kershaw went to the bullpen to provide another option. Jansen made it through the seventh and eighth unscathed, but after striking out Trea Turner, walked the next two batters to but the tying and winning run on base. With Daniel Murphy at the plate, Kershaw was called on to get the final two outs. Kershaw got Murphy to pop out to second and struck out Wilmer Difo to end the game for his first career save as the Dodgers won 4-3 to advance to the NLCS.
2016 NLCS: Facing the Chicago Cubs with a trip to the World Series on the line, the Los Angeles Dodgers began the series at Wrigley Field with the pitching staff thinned out from their log series against the Nationals. Despite the long odds, the Dodgers fought hard in Game 1, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to tie on a two-run single by Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning. However, the Cubs answered with a grand slam off the bat of Miguel Montero, which was followed up one pitch later by a Dexter Fowler homer as the Cubs won 8-4. Clayton Kershaw got the call in Game 2, and the finest postseason start on his career, allowing two hits over seven innings while striking out six. Adrian Gonzalez provided all the offense with a solo shot in the second inning, as Kensley Jansen pitched two perfect innings, striking out four as the Dodgers evened the series with a 1-0 win. In Dodger Stadium for Game 3, the Dodgers got another excellent start, this time from Rich Hill, who allowed two hits in six innings, as the Dodgers won the game 6-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. In Game 4, the Dodgers appeared to be on their way again as Julio Urías, the youngest pitcher to start a game in postseason history, held the Cubs hitless in the first three innings. However, the Cubs broke through on a two-run home run by Addison Russell in the fourth inning and would go on to score ten runs over the next three innings to even the series with a 10-2 win. Russell again hurt the Dodgers in Game 5, breaking a 1-1 tie with a two-run blast off Joe Blanton in the sixth inning as the Cubs won 8-4 to take control of the series. The Dodger again turned to Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 back at Wrigley Field, but Kershaw, like the rest of the Dodgers, was out of gas as the Cubs won 5-0 to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945, where they would end their 108-year championship drought.
2017: After losing to the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a sluggish start as they were below .500, most of April despite Clayton Kershaw getting off to a solid 4-1 start. As the first month came to an end, the Dodgers called up Cody Bellinger, who provided just the spark the team needed as they ended the month at 14-12. Bellinger began heating up in May as he was named Rookie of the Month, hitting nine home runs as he got a chance to play every day as Adrian Gonzalez missed most of the season dealing with a back injury. As Cody Bellinger began heating up, so did the Dodgers, who posted a 19-9 record in May and ended the month in first place. Cody Bellinger would be even better in June, hitting 13 home runs as he became the fastest Rookie to reach 20 home runs as he again was named Rookie of the Month. The Dodgers meanwhile tied a franchise record for wins in a month, going 21-7. July was even better for Los Angeles, as they went 20-3 and had the best stretch in the history of baseball. The Dodgers who were 35-25 on June 6th would go 56-11 over their next 67 games, losing just two in a row once in that period as they built a commanding 21-game lead in the Western Division this came despite Kershaw missing six weeks with a sore back. The Dodgers streak ended in August when they were on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with the magazine asking if they were the best team ever as they were on pace to set a new record for wins in a season. The cover story acted as the ultimate cold shower for the scalding Dodgers, who lost a summer’s worth of games, winning just one of their next 17 games, including an 11-game losing streak as September began. Six of the Dodgers 16 losses came at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who cut the Dodgers divisional lead from 21 to nine games. Fortunately for the Dodgers, the lead they built was insurmountable. When they righted the ship in September, they were able to clinch their fifth straight division title on September 22nd with a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers would go on to finish the season with a record of 104-58, which was the highest win total since moving to Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger would go on to win the Rookie of the Year, setting a National League rookie record with 39 home runs, as he also led the team with 97 RBI. Clayton Kershaw once again was the Dodgers top starting pitcher, posting a record of 18-4 with an ERA of 2.31 and 202 strikeouts, while Alex Wood went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA. In the bullpen, Kenley Jansen was nearly perfect with 41 saves, as he was the top reliever in the NL for the second straight season.
2017 NLDS: Facing the Arizona Diamondbacks in the division series, the Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a quick start, scoring four runs in the first inning, highlighted by a three-run home run from Justin Turner. Turner would go 3-for-4 with five RBI, as Clayton Kershaw earned the win as the Dodgers took the opener 9-5. The Dodgers fell behind early in Game 2, on a home run by Paul Goldschmidt. With a run in the second, two in the fourth, and four in the fifth strung together a string of hits to win the game 8-5. The Dodgers would complete the sweep in Arizona, with a 3-1 win in Game 3. The Dodgers got home runs from Cody Bellinger and Austin Barnes, while on the mound Yu Darvish and four relievers allowed just one run on three hits.
2017 NLCS: Facing the Chicago Cubs for the second straight season, the Dodgers found themselves behind 2-0 in the fifth inning after Albert Almora hit a two-run home run off Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers would rally behind Yasiel Puig’s, whose double keyed a two-run rally to even the score. The Dodgers would take the lead in the sixth inning on a home run by Chris Taylor. In the seventh Puig added a homer as the Dodgers bullpen shut down the Cubs in a 5-2 win. The bullpen would also decide game two as the Dodgers relievers were nearly perfect as Justin Turner broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run home run to win the game in the ninth inning 4-1. The Dodgers bullpen continued to dominate in Wrigley Field, shutting down the Cubs again as the Dodgers took a commanding 3-0 series lead, winning 6-1. Despite home runs from Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner, the Cubs were able to avert the sweep with a 3-2 win in Game 4. The Dodgers would not be denied, winning their first pennant in 29 years, with an 11-1 in Game 5, as Clayton Kershaw and three relievers held the Cubs to four hits. The offense meanwhile was provided by Enrique Hernandez, who three home runs, with seven RBI highlighted by a third-inning grand slam that took the life out of Wrigley Field as Chris Taylor and Justin Turner shared NLCS MVP honors for the Dodgers.
2017 World Series: The first Fall Classic game in Dodger Stadium since 1988, saw game-time temperatures at 103 °F, setting a new World Series record. The game would be the fastest in 25 years as both Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw and Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel were on top of their game. Chris Taylor game Los Angeles the lead with a leadoff home run, while the Astros answered with a home run by Alex Bregman in the third. In the seventh inning, the Dodgers got a two-run shot from Justin Turner, which was the difference as they took the opener 3-1. Game 2 appeared to be following the same script as they got a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning on a home run by Corey Seager. The Astros thought would rally, as the Dodgers bullpen 28-inning scoreless string came to an end on an RBI single by Carlos Correa. In the ninth inning, Kenley Jansen blew a game for just the second time in the season, giving up a home run to Marwin Gonzalez. The game went into extra innings when things got wild. In the tenth inning, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa gave Houston a 5-3 lead with back-to-back home runs. The Dodgers tied the game on a home run by Yasiel Puig and an RBI from Enrique Hernandez. In the 11th inning, the Astros got a two-run home run from George Springer to regain the lead, with Charlie Culberson answering for LA to make it 7-6. This time the Dodgers were unable to tie the game, as Houston evened the series at a game apiece. As the series shifted to Minute Maid Park, the Astros jumped all over Yu Darvish, with four runs in the second inning, with the Astros Yuli Gurriel adding insult by mocking Darvish’s Japanese heritage. The Astros would win the game 5-3. Despite his overtly racist actions, Gurriel was allowed to play in the World Series as he received a five-game suspension for the start of the 2018 season. Game 4, would be ruled by the pitchers as Alex Wood of the Dodgers and Charlie Morton of the Astros both had great starts. The game was tie 1-1 in the ninth inning when Cody Bellinger drove home the go-ahead run with a double. The Dodgers would add four more runs, highlighted by a three-run blast from Joc Pederson to even the series with a 6-2 win. Looking to take control of the series, the Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Game 5, with Kershaw on the mound the Dodgers appeared to be in cruise control up 4-0 in the fourth inning. The Astros behind a three-run home run from Guriel tied the game after Kershaw retired the first nine batters. Bellinger put Los Angeles back in front with a three-run home run in the fifth, but Kershaw faltered again, walking two, as he did not complete the fifth inning. Kenta Maeda did not fare any better, giving up a game-tying blast to Jose Altuve. Sparked by a Cody Bellinger triple, the Dodgers went back in front in the seventh inning. However, in the bottom of the inning quickly tied the game on a homer by George Springer, as Brendan Morrow pitching in his fifth straight game in the World Series had nothing. Morrow was hit hard, giving up four runs without retiring a batter, as Houston held an 11-8 lead. Trailing 12-9 in the ninth inning, it was time for the Dodgers to rally from the dead as Yasiel Puig hit a two-run home run, and Chris Taylor singled home Austin Barnes to tie the game. In the tenth inning, the Dodgers turned to Kenley Jansen to hold a 12-12 tie, but the closer who was so reliable all year faltered as the Astros won 13-12 on a walk-off hit by Alex Bregman. Needing a win to force a seventh game at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers found themselves down 1-0 early on a home run by George Springer. In the sixth inning, the Dodgers took the lead thanks to Chris Taylor, who hit a game-tying double and later scored on a sac fly by Corey Seager. The Dodgers added home run by Joc Pederson in the seventh and won the 3-1. Things got off to a rough start for LA in Game 7 as the Astros scored two runs in the first and three in second as Yu Darvish struggled again. Kershaw came on and pitched four scoreless innings in relief to keep his team in the game. The Dodgers though, could not take advantage as they left eight men on base in the first five innings. The Dodgers scratched out a run in the sixth inning, but it was not enough as the Astros won the game 5-1 to win their first World Series.
2018: After falling in the World Series to the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodgers, under third-year manager Dave Roberts, went into the season as early favorites to get back to the Fall Classic. With much of the same team intact from last season and the addition of the power bat of Matt Kemp. The Dodgers got off to a rough start losing five of their first seven games. To make matters worse, they would lose their ace left-hander, Clayton Kershaw, to left biceps tendinitis. He would miss nearly two months after trying to come back too soon. It also was not until June 8th when rising star Walker Buehler picked up a win going 5.1 innings against the NL East-leading Braves for Los Angeles to get over .500. Despite the inning limit set for Walker Buehler during his starts, the Dodgers shortly after went on a five-game winning streak. They would finish June with a record of 43-39. Los Angeles continued to get better as the season went on and then made the biggest splash during the trade deadline acquiring All-Star Manny Machado in a deal with the Orioles. They moved Chris Taylor back to the outfield as Machado switched from third base to shortstop. They would also bring powerful hitting second baseman, Brian Dozier, to an already crowded infield for more of a part-time role alongside Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley. From August 1stto the end of the regular season, the Dodgers went on to finish the season 32-21, setting up a one-game playoff with the Colorado Rockies. Los Angeles would go on to win 5-2, as Buehler gave the Dodgers 6.2 innings to earn his eighth win of the season. Even more incredible, the Dodgers three-hole hitter on October 1st, Max Muncy, would lead the team with two RBI’s in the game. Muncy had five career home runs coming into the season, spending two years with the Oakland Athletics, but led the team with 35 home runs and drove in 79 runs. Machado played in 66 games and hit 13 home runs and drove in 42 runs. On the mound, journeyman Rich Hill led the team in wins with 11 despite Buehler having a 2.62 ERA, which would have been fourth in the National League but would not qualify. Kenley Jansen finished with 38 saves even while missing a month due to an irregular heartbeat as the Dodgers posted a record of 92-71.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 NLDS: In a Division Series matchup with the surprise winners of the NL East, the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers who the Dodgers played for the second time in the decade. In Game 1, behind Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles shut out the Braves 6-0, scoring four runs in the first two innings. Joc Pederson homered to open the scoring, and then later, Max Muncy followed with a three-run home run. Kike Hernandez also went deep with David Freese driving in the sixth run on a sacrifice fly. Game 2 was much of the same as Atlanta’s young team consisting of Ronald Acuna, and Ozzie Albies could not get on the board. This time it was Clayton Kershaw shutting out the Braves in a 3-0 win as Manny Machado hit his first postseason home run for the Dodgers in the first inning. Catcher Yasmani Grandal, who would later struggle in the postseason behind the plate leading to him being benched, also homered. Kershaw silenced his postseason critics by going eight innings, allowing no runs on two hits. The Braves finally showed some life in Game 3 behind a five-run second inning with Acuna coming alive by hitting a three-run home run. Just a few innings later, Los Angeles tied the game with home runs from Justin Turner and Chris Taylor, but the Braves would get it back in the sixth on a Freddie Freeman home run, winning 6-5. The Dodgers closed the series out in four games once again behind a big game from Manny Machado, who had a home run and four RBI’s in a 6-2 win. The Dodgers bullpen combined to throw 4.2 innings after Rich Hill was knocked out in the fourth inning.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 NLCS: In a series, most people will remember by the lack of hustle from Manny Machado in a contract year and Machado’s dirty kick of Jesus Aguilar at first base, the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers went toe-to-toe in an epic seven-game series. The series started in Milwaukee with Clayton Kershaw on the mound against Gio Gonzalez. Los Angeles jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on another home run from Manny Machado, but the Brewers got a spark from reliever Brandon Woodruff, who homered to tie the game at one. Milwaukee went on to score the next five runs with Jesus Aguilar going deep. It would be enough although three runs in the eighth on RBI hits from Manny Machado and Matt Kemp and a run in the ninth on a two-out triple from Chris Taylor. Pitcher Corey Knebel held on for a 6-5 win. In Game 2, the Dodgers evened up the series after falling 3-0 after home runs from Orlando Arcia and Ryan Braun. The Dodgers scored two runs in the seventh off Corbin Burnes and Jeremy Jeffress to begin the comeback. In the eighth inning, Justin Turner hit a two-run game-winning home to in the game 4-3. The series shifted to California, but the Dodgers didn’t bring their offense with them. They were shut out by Jhoulys Chacin with Walker Buehler on the mound for Los Angeles in Game 3, losing 4-0. Perhaps the most memorable game of the series was Game 4. In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the tenth, Manny Machado grounded out harmlessly to Orlando Arcia, but when Machado touched first base, he made sure to give a kick to the back of Jesus Aguilar’s leg causing the benches to clear. After cooler-heads prevailed, thee Dodgers won the game in the bottom of the 12th, on an RBI by Cody Bellinger scoring Machado, winning 2-1. Games 5 and 6 were split, with each team winning on their home field. The Dodgers won 5-2 at Dodger Stadium. In Game 6, with October Kershaw rearing its ugly head, the Brewers won 7-2. In Game 7, at Miller Park, the Brewers raced out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning from a home run from MVP, Christian Yelich, but were shut out the rest of the game. Los Angeles took the lead in the second inning on a long home run to right field from Cody Bellinger, and then Yasiel Puig homered in the sixth to make it 5-1. With Clayton Kershaw back on the hill for the ninth inning, the Dodgers were once again able to celebrate a National League Pennant with a 5-1 win.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 World Series: In a matchup against the best team in baseball during the regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers met the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic. In Game 1, at Fenway Park, the Red Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on RBI hits from Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez against Clayton Kershaw. That lead would be trimmed in half just an inning later, as Matt Kemp homered off of Chris Sale. The teams would trade runs back and forth until Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh off Alex Wood to give the Red Sox an 8-4 win. The Red Sox would win again in Game 2 at Fenway Park, behind David Price. After struggling in the postseason most of his career, Price pitched six innings and allowed two runs. The Red Sox jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Ian Kinsler, but the Dodgers would respond in the fourth with RBI’s from Kemp and Puig. However, that lead would not last long as World Series MVP, Steve Pearce, walked with the bases loaded and then added two more on an RBI single from J.D. Martinez. Craig Kimbrel earned the save in the ninth, in a 4-2 win. Heading to Los Angeles for Game 3, it was a classic extra-inning game that went well into the early morning. Each team scored one run on home runs from Joc Pederson and Jackie Bradley through nine innings. The Red Sox looked to have pulled off a win with Edwardo Nunez plating the go-ahead run in the 13th, but the Dodgers tied the game in the home half on an RBI double off hard thrower Nathan Eovaldi. The game remained tied until the 18th inning when Max Muncy sent the fans home with a walk-off home run to get back into the series, with a 3-2 win. It was the longest game in World Series history. Game 4 started quietly until the Dodgers scored three runs in the second with two coming off the bat of Yasiel Puig, who had one of the most talked-about bat flips of all time. The Red Sox would not go down without a fight as both Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce homered to bring Boston back into the game. With the game tied at four, Pearce drove in three more runs with a double, and despite a home run from Kike Hernandez late, the Red Sox went into Game 5 with three games to one lead, after a 9-6 win. Game 5 would be the last game of the season for the Dodgers as well as Manny Machado, who went on to sign with the San Diego Padres in the off-season. Once again, Steve Pearce homered early to give Boston an early lead, but David Freese tied the game at one with one of his own. With the game tied in the sixth, Mookie Betts homered to give the Red Sox the lead, and both J.D. Martinez and Steve Pearce again would homer leading to Florida Gulf Coast Star, Chris Sale, coming out of the bullpen to close out the World Series with a 5-1 win.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2019: Having won the NL Pennant each of the past two seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers headed into the 2019 season with high expectations. They came in with a dominating rotation consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda, and had all four pitchers win ten or more games. After victories in eight of their first ten games, Los Angeles lost six in a row, including being swept in St. Louis. They went on to win their next six games highlighted by a Joc Pederson walk-off home run against the Cincinnati Reds on April 16th. The Dodgers started to kick it in gear during the summer and had a series sweep of the Colorado Rockies, where they won on all three games on walk-offs and had ten total on the season. Following that series, they moved to 54-25 and were well in control of the NL West with the help of the long ball. They went on to break the National League record of 250 home runs previously set by the Houston Astros in 2000. The Dodgers sent five players to the All-Star game in which Ryu became the first Korean born pitcher to start. On September 10th, they clinched the NL West, which was the earliest they have ever done so in team history after not making a big splash at the trade deadline. Los Angeles finished with 106 wins. Cody Bellinger led the team with 47 home runs, six behind Pete Alonso, for the top spot in the NL, as he was named NL MVP. Pederson added 36 home runs, and Max Muncy hit 35 as 11 Dodgers reached double figures in home runs. On the mound, Ryu led the team with a 2.32 ERA but was beat out by Jacob DeGrom for the Cy Young, as he scuffled in the second half, finishing with a record of 14-5 with a league-leading ERA of 2.32. The Dodgers would post the best record in franchise history at 106-56. It would be the seventh consecutive division title for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Written by Matthew Rothman
20019 NLDS: The Los Angeles Dodgers would face the upstart Washington Nationals in a classic five-game series. The Nationals were buried early in the season but used their steady rotation to make a push for the playoffs. In Game 1, Walker Buehler pitched one of his best games of the season, earning the win allowing no runs and one hit in six innings as the Dodgers won 6-0. In addition, Max Muncy drove in the first three runs, and Gavin Lux and Joc Pederson. In Game 2, Stephen Strasburg outdueled Kershaw to even the series up at one game apiece, with a 4-2 win. The series shifted to Washington, and the Dodgers exploded for ten runs to take a 2-1 series lead, with a 10-4 win. The Nats held an early 2-0 lead before Los Angeles scored eight unanswered runs. Muncy got it started with another home run. Kike Hernandez then drove in two with an RBI double in the sixth to put the Dodgers up 3-2, and then Justin Turner hit a three-run home run to expand the lead. Russel Martin also homered later in the game for his first of the series. With a chance to move on, the Dodgers were shut down by Max Scherzer in Game 4. The Dodgers only had five hits in the game as Washington won 6-1. The series shifted back to the West Coast for Game 5. Early on, the Dodgers got to Strausburgh with a pair of runs in the first inning. Muncy hit his fourth home run of the series in the first, and then Hernandez added to the lead with a home run in the third to make it 3-0. The Nationals got one back in the sixth on an RBI from Juan Soto and then tied it with back-to-back home runs from Rendon and Soto in the eighth inning off Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers had a chance for a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth after Hernandez singled to lead off but ended up stranded as the game went to extra innings. In the tenth, Howie Kendrick put stunned of Los Angeles with a grand slam to win the game 8-4 sending the Nationals on to the NLCS. Washington would go on to win the World Series.
Written by Matthew Rothman
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Page created on March 15, 2001. Last updated on May 16, 2020, at 12:25 am ET.