To be a Los Angeles Dodger fan in this unprecedented era of prosperity is to revel in their superstars – and soak in their failures. It’s a unique experience that combines hope and heartbreak, knowing that no matter how dominant the team may seem throughout the regular season, a soul-crushing exit is likely in store come October. These Dodgers have enjoyed an impressive run of success, making 11 consecutive trips to the playoffs, 10 division titles, and a season with 106 wins. However, their only championship came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, which unfortunately meant that fans couldn’t watch the games in person. The other years have been filled with enduring images of disappointment – Clayton Kershaw’s frustration, Dave Roberts’ stoicism, and star sluggers like Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Adrian Gonzalez failing to deliver when it matters most. Let’s take a closer look at the Dodgers’ 10 playoff failures since 2013, ranked from least to most gut-wrenching:
10. 2018: Lost World Series to Red Sox, 4-1
Losing in the World Series is always tough, but considering the Dodgers’ performance in 2018, it wasn’t the worst outcome. The team had its fair share of challenges that season, including injuries and a late push for the division title. Plus, they faced a formidable opponent in the Red Sox, who were dominant throughout the postseason.
9. 2016: Lost NLCS to Cubs, 4-2
Although it was painful at the time, looking back, the Dodgers’ loss to the Cubs in the 2016 NLCS becomes a bit easier to swallow. The Cubs were on a path to destiny, and the Dodgers happened to be in their way. Despite a heartbreaking Game 1, the Dodgers fought hard and eventually avenged their loss the following year.
8. 2014: Lost NLDS to Cardinals, 3-1
This playoff exit encapsulates the Kershaw Playoff Narrative perfectly – a mix of managerial decisions, Kershaw’s own struggles, and unfortunate circumstances. Kershaw was at the peak of his career, winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards and throwing a no-hitter that year. However, Manager Don Mattingly relied too heavily on Kershaw, leaving him in the game too long during a crucial moment. This loss highlighted the need for a change in strategy.
7. 2013: Lost NLCS to Cardinals, 4-2
The start of the Dodgers’ impressive playoff streak began with promise in 2013. They convincingly defeated the Braves in the NLDS but faced a daunting Cardinals team in the NLCS. Unfortunately, Kershaw had one of his worst performances in the playoffs, giving up seven runs and raising questions about his pitching. It was a disappointing end to what seemed like a promising year.
6. 2023: Lost NLDS to Diamondbacks, 3-0
This playoff loss was particularly difficult to swallow for Dodgers fans. A 100-win team losing to an 84-win team, with key players like Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts failing to perform, was a terrible look. The Dodgers also faced challenges with injuries, especially with Kershaw’s sore shoulder impacting his performance. Additionally, their young pitching stars didn’t quite live up to expectations.
5. 2015: Lost NLDS to Mets, 3-2
The Zack Greinke Era in L.A. often goes overlooked, but it was a period of missed opportunities. Greinke had a phenomenal season, finishing second in the Cy Young race, but the Dodgers couldn’t overcome the young arms of the Mets. The series was highlighted by Daniel Murphy’s impressive performance and a bitter ending for the Dodgers.
4. 2021: Lost NLCS to Braves, 4-2
Two years ago, the Dodgers had an impressive lineup featuring Corey Seager, Trea Turner, and Max Scherzer. However, their 106-win season wasn’t enough to surpass the Giants, and they faced them in the NLDS. The Dodgers fell victim to their own questionable choices in the playoffs, particularly in Game 5 against the Giants. The decision to use multiple relievers instead of starting Julio Urias ultimately backfired, leaving them with a depleted bullpen for the NLCS.
3. 2017: Lost World Series to Astros, 4-3
This loss would normally top the list, but the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal adds a different perspective. The Dodgers had an incredible season, winning 104 games and entering the World Series with a strong postseason record. It was a devastating blow to come so close to a championship only to fall short in a hard-fought series.
As a Los Angeles Dodger fan, these playoff failures have become part of the journey. While it’s disappointing to see the team come up short, it’s the highs and lows that make being a fan so intriguing. The Dodgers have undoubtedly established themselves as a successful franchise, but the quest for another championship continues.
David Rodriguez brings the excitement of Major League Baseball to readers. With a deep appreciation for America’s pastime, he covers the latest MLB news, scores, and player achievements, keeping fans up to date with their favorite teams and players.