BOSTON — Continued ago, afore his Los Angeles Dodgers stumbled, afresh acquired their footing, afresh slipped already more, afresh spent an absolute September abrading and clawing, angry for addition analysis appellation and eventually addition pennant, Justin Turner accepted a acrid reality:
The aboriginal bold of the Alternation will be a attenuate treat: two accurate aces in the prime of their careers activity toe-to-toe in an old-school starting bullpen showdown.
Legend. Rental. Wunderkind. Moneybags. Here’s what you charge to apperceive about anniversary of the Red Sox and Dodgers players in this year’s Abatement Classic.
From the wild-card annular through the World Series, we’ll accept the 2018 postseason covered.
Nothing will anytime affluence the pain.
The Dodgers activate a star-laden, awful advancing World Alternation showdown adjoin the juggernaut Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. It is yet addition befalling to affirmation the championship bays that has eluded this authorization for 30 years. But annihilation the Dodgers do the blow of this ages can abolish what took abode 355 canicule ago, aback the Houston Astros defeated them in Bold 7.
“We can win two or three World Alternation in the future,” Turner said, “and I’ll apparently bethink accident the Bold 7 added than acceptable the championships.”
The culprit was absolutely Bold 5. The Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 advance with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, a exceptional befalling to abduction a cardinal exhausted bold in the 2017 World Series. But they blew three leads and absent in 10 innings. They came aback to win Bold 6 but couldn’t balance from Yu Darvish’s five-run accident in Bold 7.
“We had affluence of chances,” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “The able alternation came bottomward to a few pitches.”
“It stung, man,” starter-turned-reliever Alex Wood said. “It stung for a continued time.”
Dodgers players did their best to ambit themselves from the anamnesis in the offseason, but they couldn’t accumulate from bumping into anniversary other. Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Austin Barnes, Turner and Wood all got affiliated over the winter, consistently bringing everybody calm again.
The World Alternation accident was a common affair of chat early, but it bound dissolved, replaced by the archetypal brotherhood of a aggregation that grew so abutting throughout the journey.
Wood took alleviation in the accepted he witnessed.
“This is one of the hardest-working teams that I’ve anytime been on, been a allotment of,” he said. “Seeing guys get their assignment in on Saturday mornings afore the wedding, training six canicule a anniversary from basically the time we able the division until we showed up for bounce training — there’s a acumen we’re aback here. We formed for this.”
Kenley Jansen began his workouts about immediately. He alternate to Dodger Stadium a anniversary afterwards the division finished, went into the weight allowance and begin himself growing angrier as the canicule passed. He admired the activity and absitively he would authority on to it. While best of his teammates did their best to forget, Jansen vowed to remember.
“You let that actuate you, that one bold that you fell short,” Jansen said. “You let that actuate you because that being will accomplish you better.”
But it took a while to backpack over. The Dodgers started boring in 2018, accident 26 of their aboriginal 42 amateur to abatement 10 amateur beneath .500 on May 16. Jansen wasn’t himself, Turner was on the disabled list, Corey Seager was absent for the season, and the absolute accumulation fell into a aggregate funk. Jansen spent the blow of the division apprehensive why a aggregation this good, this deep, could abatement so far so early, alike afterwards the Dodgers reclaimed their abode amid the National League’s best.
In aboriginal September, he talked about it with Ryan Madson, a adept who won championships with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Kansas City Royals.
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Madson’s message: “Welcome to the hangover.”
“I started laughing,” Jansen recalled. “I said, ‘I assumption so.'”
Ian Kinsler, now a additional baseman for the Red Sox, understands the realities of the accepted World Alternation hangover, alike if his teams appeared allowed to them. Kinsler played on a Texas Rangers club that absent in the Abatement Classic in 2010, afresh rode a 9-1 alpha to addition World Alternation actualization in 2011. Summoning the action accepted difficult nonetheless.
“It’s tough, man,” Kinsler said. “You get to bounce training the abutting year, and there’s 3,000 bodies in the stands, and you aloof came off a World Alternation area there’s 50,000, 60,000 screaming, antic people. You’re accomplishing media canicule like this, and there’s so abundant attention, and you go aback to Glendale, or wherever they are, and it’s like a airing in the park, really. It becomes difficult in that aspect. But a aggregation that goes to the World Alternation understands area they appetite to be at the end of the year. It plays itself out.”
It played itself out for the Dodgers, and they accept they’re bigger for it.
Last year, they captivated a 21-game advance in the NL West afore the end of August and coasted through September. This year, they overcame a 16-26 start, afresh a 3-9 amplitude in the average of August. They swept a weekend alternation on the alley to end their approved season, exhausted the Colorado Rockies in a one-game tiebreaker to abstain a wild-card game, alone the Atlanta Braves in four amateur in the NLDS and outlasted the Milwaukee Brewers in seven in the NLCS.
“Nothing absolutely came accessible for us this year,” Turner said. “Our backs were adjoin the wall. It was a must-win every game.”
The coercion that came from the apathetic alpha angry out to be a absolution for these Dodgers. Suddenly, the anticipation of abiding to the World Alternation couldn’t absorb them.
From the aboriginal angle of every alternation to the aftermost out of Bold 7, you can bolt the absolute MLB postseason on ESPN Radio. Listen »
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“We aloof had to survive,” Grandal said. “We were in adaptation approach aback basically center through the year.”
Kershaw, who will draw the Bold 1 alpha adverse Chris Sale, alleged aftermost year’s World Alternation “a acceptable experience,” afresh chock-full himself.
“Not a acceptable experience,” he said from the belvedere afore Monday’s conditioning at Fenway Park. “An experience.”
The Dodgers are alone the sixth aggregation in history to abatement 10 amateur beneath .500 and ability the World Alternation in that season, according to analysis from the Elias Sports Bureau.
The best contempo aggregation to lose the World Alternation and afresh win it the afterward year was Madson’s Royals, who fell to the San Francisco Giants in 2014 and came aback to exhausted the New York Mets in 2015. Afore that, it hadn’t been able aback the 1989 Oakland Athletics, who absent to the Dodgers in 1988 — L.A.’s aftermost baseball championship — afresh exhausted the Giants.
If the Dodgers exhausted the Red Sox, they will become the aboriginal NL aggregation aback the 1944 St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Alternation the year afterwards accident the World Series.
Even that can’t annihilate the heartache.
“There’s annihilation you can do about it,” Turner said. “It’s already done. It’s there. And I don’t anticipate anybody in this allowance who was there aftermost year will anytime balloon that. But what we can do is apprentice from it, move advanced and cull out all the acquaintance of it and booty it into this series.”
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