PHOENIX, AZ - October 11: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw watches as the Dodgers are defeated in game three of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Monday, Oct. 11, 2023, in Phoenix, AZ.
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Dodgers Keep Making the Wrong Kind of Playoff History

It's been an MLB postseason full of both sweeps and upsets, two things that don't normally go together, but they have this October and most notably with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The National League's second seed, the Dodgers, joined in on this trend Wednesday night, as they lost to the sixth-seeded Arizona Diamondbacks, finishing off both a series sweep and an upset. But if it feels like this isn't exactly a new story for Dave Roberts's bunch, that's because it's not.

If you watched Game 3 of this NLDS series and thought that it seems like the Dodgers do this every year, you're basically right. This was the sixth-biggest playoff upset in MLB history based on the differential of regular season wins between the two participants. The Dodgers won an even 100 games while Arizona won 84, for a differential of 16.

Incredibly enough, three of the top six spots on that list are occupied by the Dodgers, and even more remarkably, those series all took place over the last three seasons, including this most recent failure.

Last year, the Dodgers were also knocked out in the Division Series by an NL West rival in the San Diego Padres. That 3-1 series win was the second-biggest upset in the league's history, only topped by the 1906 World Series, as the Padres had won a whopping 22 fewer games than the Dodgers in the regular season, while Los Angeles had racked up a historic 111 victories.

The season before, it was that plucky Braves team who went on to win it all. That 2021 NLCS was the fourth-biggest upset in history, as the Dodgers had won 106 games compared to the Braves' 88. If we keep going back and skip the fluky, shortened 2020 season, we'll find another upset in 2019, although not of the same historic proportions. That year, the 106-win Dodgers lost a thrilling NLDS to the Washington Nationals, who had secured a Wild Card spot with just 93 wins.

So why does this keep happening? Why are the Dodgers so able to dominate all summer long and crumble when October comes? You could say that their stars aren't well-suited for the big stage, perfectly represented by Clayton Kershaw's inability to toss in the postseason- except in the no-fans 2020 environment. However, many of their stars have done the job elsewhere. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez knocked off none other than the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series as members of the Boston Red Sox, while Freddie Freeman was on that Braves team in 2021, and was absolutely magnificent en route to the ring.

It's hard to say exactly what the remedy is for this floundering LA team, who have invested tremendously into the roster with a payroll over $240 million. What's for sure is that something needs to change and unfortunately for the manager Roberts, he just might be the odd man out this time.

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