Yesterday, I took at look at some of the best moments of the 2019 season. Today, however, I will recap some of the worst and most painful moments of a great 2019 season for the Dodgers. Why am I doing this to myself?
Nationals Take Game 5 in Excruciating Fashion (Nats over Dodgers 7-3 in 10 innings). This one still hurts. Perhaps no other game the Dodgers lost this year had more potential than this one. Joc Pederson nearly took revered postseason started Stephen Stragburg deep in the first, settled for a double, and then crossed the plate when Max Muncy mashed a homer over the right field wall. The Dodgers loaded the bases in the first inning as well, yet they could not plate any of those runners, setting the tone for the rest of night offensively. Other than Kiké Hernandez's wall-scraping homer in the second, the Dodgers failed to score another run in the entire eight innings to follow. Moreover, Walker Buehler did his thing, dominantly fireballing 6 2/3 innings of 1-run baseball, followed up by Clayton Kershaw striking out Adam Eaton (the winning run) on three pitches to end the seventh inning. However, Kershaw, to many fans' and sportscasters' chagrins, returned for the eighth inning and promptly gave up back-to-back home runs on BACK-TO-BACK PITCHES to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. After this catastrophe, the game was essentially over. Kelly pitched a great ninth, and while he only threw one (if even that) fastball, uncharacteristic for a pitcher who has a 101 mph fastball, Dave Roberts sent Kelly, who had thrown one competitive inning since August, out for a second inning, and he promptly gave up two base hits. Intentional walks rarely work. Such is just a fact. However, Roberts, whom I usually regard as one of the best managers, walked Juan Soto and left Kelly in with the bases loaded and nobody out. But wait! There's more! Adam Kolarek, who is essentially Juan Soto's BIOLOGICAL FATHER was sitting in the bullpen, probably wondering why he wasn't brought in to do his job at the most crucial part of the game, especially when he had a perfect track record. As we all know, Howie Kendrick subsequently hit a grand slam and the Nats went on the win the World Series. And that was the end of that.
Hunter Renfroe's Walkoff Slam (Padres beat Dodgers (8-5). Maeda didn't pitch well, the Dodgers were suppressed by a mediocre starter (not Eric Lauer), but Muncy bailed them out, as usual, obliterating a three-run homer into right as he did many times that series to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead. Kenley Jansen, whose season had been decent up until this point, entered the game and promptly gave up three consecutive singles, two of which were infield bunt singles, making it harder to blame Jansen for what was to come. Making matters either worse, or better, if you look at how it would holistically affect his ERA, struck out the next two batters in dominant fashion. He then took Hunter Renfroe, whom the Padres mercifully traded to the Rays this offseason, to a 3-2 count and gave him a meatball. Renfroe, a low on-base guy but possessing explosive power, swung and, uh, did not miss. He held his hands into the air in triumph, the stadium roared and Jansen presumably swore loudly into his glove. However, I do not know what happened next, because I turned the TV off and sat staring at the wall for the next five minutes. While this was not a meaningful loss, it was a one that MLB marketed constantly, only magnifying the pain whenever that stupid home run appeared on TV.
Dodgers Lose their Last Series During a Miserable Weekend in Arizona (Dbacks/Dbags beat Dodgers in series 3-1). Everything, and I mean everything, from Clayton Kershaw giving up YET ANOTHER home run to stupid Christian Walker to Dustin May being nailed in the head with a Jake Lamb single, went wrong during this series. Kershaw failed to throw six innings for the first time this year. Archie Bradley worked himself into, and then explicably out of, jams in the ninth, and although A.J. Pollock tried to sustain Matt Kemp's legacy of being his worst nightmare, he couldn't (which actually sums up Pollock's whole season). While these are just a few of the nightmarish occurrences, the last game did provide hope for the team, as Pantone 294 gave the Dbags record attendace, Freese returned in style, Bellinger broke out of his massive slump, Pederson hit a ball to Saturn, and Pedro Baez earned his first career save. However, that one game did include a blown lead and a Dodger injury and contained the same miserable ambience of the whole weekend.
Dodgers Lose Six in a row and are back to 8-8. The Dodgers had a great start to the season, avoiding the hangover that plagued the 2018 team, but they almost regressed back to it when they traveled to St. Louis. A perennially and passionately hated franchise, the Cardinals were certainly a thorn in the Dodgers' side in the first part of the decade, but they had failed to make the playoffs for three seasons until 2019, when they won the National League Central with the even more passionately hated Paul Goldschmidt. When the Dodgers traveled there, everything seemed to go wrong, similarly to how it did in Chase Field. The Dodgers couldn't score, pitch, or even run the bases (flashback to the week where Kiké forgot how to count). Kershaw was still on the IL and I don't believe that Ryu pitched, but Stripling and Buehler were certainly knocked around and the offense was tempered by a fairly weak pitching staff. Although Buehler hit his first career home run, Freese returned as a hero and hit a bomb, and Kiké hit a fly ball that made Marcell Ozuna look like a total moron, this series was a complete slog. The Dodgers subsequently hosted 2018 National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich, former Dodger Yasmani Grandal, and the Milwaukee Brewers, whom the Dodgers had eliminated in Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS and lost the two first games for the same reasons that they were swept by the Cardinals: they simply played bad baseball. They constantly blew leads, and while Cody Bellinger reasserted himself as an outright superstar in the game, the rest of the offense was rather quiet for the first two games of the series, and the slide left the Dodgers with a .500 recored 16 games into the season. Then they went 98-48.
Honorable Mentions: Every home run/walkoff Jansen gave up, Uriàs' suspension, every game in Coors Field, NLDS Games 2 and 4, the series against the Yankees, Seager's constant injuries, Bellinger's pants falling down at 3rd base (not really)