Hindsight is 20/20 and many times we can only figure out what happened… after it happens. What was wrong with the Dodgers and why they sucked so bad in 2018 is now easy for me to understand. You might disagree, but if you do, I would challenge you to come up with a better explanation than the one I am about to give you.
The Dodgers were close, so close to winning it all last year that they could taste it. It left a bad taste in their mouths all winter. They were agitated, sleep was interrupted and they could not shake off the loss. It weighed upon them like an 800 pound gorilla on their back. So, they worked hard all winter and all showed up early to Spring Training galvanized together for one purpose “Win the World Series or Bust!” They were united, together, chomping at the bit and eager to live up to all the pre-season expectations.
And then, Justin Turner went down and Corey Seager was lost for the season. Their two best hitters… GONE! To a man, they knew they had to step up, so they all did. They pushed and pressed and ultimately, each player tried to do too much. They tried to hit 5-run home runs and they simply tried too hard, collectively, and as a team. They are a team, a band of brothers, and once you are part of a team, you try and pick each other up. Sometimes you just try too hard! You try so hard to get something that it ruins everything. They did, and that is what happened.
Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, Kike Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Kyle Farmer and Yasiel Puig were the support guys last year. This year they tried to be “The Man.” They tried too hard, so hard that they lost focus on what made them great last year. Last year they were playing with House Money – this year, it’s their money and that gets a little scary!
Yeah, maybe the pen wasn’t as good as last year, but they tried. They tried too hard. They tried to strike out the side with one pitch. The offense went stagnant as each hitter tried too hard to pick up his bother. The intent was good – the process was suspect and the outcome was awful.
If you have ever played baseball, sometimes it feels like you are trying to hit a golf ball with a needle and other times it feels like you are hitting that same golf ball with a tennis racket… an oversize one. There are days you can’t miss and days you can’t jump out of a boat and hit water. Confidence is the difference. This 2018 Dodger team lost their collective confidence somewhere along the way. Maybe one Ginger Jesus helped restore it. Justin Turner is a freaking legend! He may have single-handedly saved the Dodgers’ season by restoring their collective confidence.
We shall see. Will this trickle down to the whole team? Confidence is high right about now. In fact, it is soaring! Will it be sustainable? Can one game turn around a season? Maybe! Time will tell, but this great game of baseball is played by humans, and in case you don’t know, there is nothing more indomitable than the human spirit!
This could be the start of something really good. The talent is there – that’s a fact. I don’t want to minimize it, but the Dodgers are just 8 games out of 1st place. There are over 4 months left in the season. I have a sneaking feeling that this Band of Brothers will pull it out! Hang on…