LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 100-win Los Angeles Dodgers were left wondering why they can’t win in October after they were swept out of the NL Division Series. They’ll spend all winter searching for answers while reliving their quick exit for the second straight season.
Manager Dave Roberts was booed at home when he removed Brusdar Graterol after two hitless innings of relief in Game 2 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. His postseason moves have been skewered by Dodgers fans over his eight seasons at the helm.
“I’ve got to do a better job of figuring out a way to get our guys prepared for the postseason. I’ll own that,” Roberts said. “The regular season, I think we do a great job. But the last couple of postseasons it just hasn’t gone well for us and so I’ve got to figure it out.”
The Dodgers didn’t have much of a rotation for the postseason. It was Clayton Kershaw, deadline acquisition Lance Lynn and several rookies.
Kershaw got blown up in Game 1 against the D-backs. R ookie Bobby Miller collapsed in Game 2, and the D-backs rocked Lynn for four home runs in one inning to close out the sweep in Game 3. That trio gave up 13 runs in just 4 2/3 innings in the series.
The Dodgers’ vaunted offense, featuring a quartet of 100-RBI players, vanished in the postseason. The 1-2 punch of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman were a combined 1 for 21 in the NLDS, including 0 for 8 in the decisive Game 3.
Max Muncy and J.D. Martinez, the other half of the 100-RBI club, did little either.
The Dodgers’ rotation was left in tatters after season-ending arm injuries to Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May. Kershaw spent six weeks on the injured list with a shoulder injury. Starter Julio Urías was arrested in September on suspicion of felony domestic violence and placed on administrative leave by MLB. The bullpen was missing key contributors Daniel Hudson and Blake Treinen due to injury.
Infielder Gavin Lux was lost for the season because of a knee injury suffered in spring training. Designated hitter Martinez was out for an extended period in August and early September with a groin injury.
Kershaw’s future is uncertain. The three-time Cy Young Award winner turns 36 in March and becomes a free agent after the World Series ends. He has pitched on one-year contracts each of the last two seasons to give himself flexibility to continue or retire.
“I’m not sure how it’s going to look,” Kershaw said about his plans.
Neither he nor the team ever said much about his shoulder. He didn’t pitch more than 5 1/3 innings after coming off the IL in mid-August. Then he got lit up by the D-backs, tagged for six runs before getting an out in the first inning of the worst start of his 16-year career.
“Just obviously a horrible way to end it personally,” Kershaw said. “But that’s not ultimately not important. It’s just how I didn’t help the team win the series. That’s the most disappointing part.”
Roberts often likes to remind how every season is different, even though this one ended in a similar fashion to 2022.
“We’ve got to find a way to get back up and not feel sorry for ourselves and get better,” he said. “That’s just the only option.”
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