Another 100-win season, another NLDS exit for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After going 111-51 in 2022, the Dodgers lost their first playoff series, the NLDS, 3-1 to the San Diego Padres, a rough low for the club despite their 522-422 overall record against their Southern California rivals.
But 2023 arguably ended worse, as the Dodgers posted a 100-62 regular-season record just to get swept by the sixth-seeded Arizona Diamondbacks, also in the NLDS.
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Multiple factors could be attributed to, but it really boiled down to the Dodgers' stars not stepping up when the lights shined brightest. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and J.D. Martinez were all essentially no-shows and could've shifted the series in their favor with at least some hits here and there.
Instead, Betts went 0-for-11 at the plate, Freeman 1-for-10 and Martinez 2-for-10. Along with Max Muncy, the quadruplet accounted for 400-plus RBIs this season. They combined for just one in the NLDS. And that was a Martinez solo homer in Game 2.
Betts, in particular, had another postseason to forget after he logged just two hits in 14 at-bats in the 2022 NLDS. He didn't mince his words after the game.
"It's obviously super frustrating, there are no real words for it," Betts said in the locker room. "...I can't speak for all of us but I know for sure I did absolutely nothing to help us win."
The sweep to the Diamondbacks was also the latest postseason exit that saw the Dodgers struggle to overcome a team they usually had no troubling handling in the regular season. But Betts doesn't believe there's a flaw to Los Angeles' playoff preparation.
"Those guys get paid a lot of money to play baseball, too," he said. "They're not just rolling over and saying 'You guys can win.' When you're in the postseason, man, you got to play well.
"You can point to a million different things, but at the end of the day, you got to play well."
The former Boston Red Sox star will hope his fortune is more favorable next year. Entering the fourth year of a 12-year, $365 million contract he signed with the Dodgers in 2021, the club will be expecting the same.