Hernández: Dodgers’ dominance means just one factor — they have to win the World Series

By now, the years are beginning to mix collectively, the decade-long renaissance making one season indistinguishable from the final. October baseball is now taken as a right on this metropolis.

The consistency shouldn’t be mistaken from the dearth of selection. Some Dodgers groups had been higher than others.

One-hundred-eight video games into their season, this yr’s Dodgers are separating themselves from nearly all of their forebears.

They casually dismissed the most recent problem mounted by the San Diego Padres, finishing a three-game sweep of their guests from Port Loser in a 4-0 victory. They continue to be on observe to grow to be the fifth crew within the sport’s historical past to win greater than 110 video games.

The Dodgers have a 15½-game lead over the Padres within the Nationwide League West. This degree of dominance is uncommon, even for them. So is the chance in entrance of them.

That is their yr to win the World Series. This needs to be their yr, and never simply because supervisor Dave Roberts has assured it repeatedly.

When Andrew Friedman was handed the keys to the baseball operations division after the 2014 season, he spoke about successful a number of World Series championships.

He stays caught at one.

As many regular-season video games because the Dodgers have received underneath Friedman — they’ve a .621 successful proportion in eight seasons — they haven’t claimed any extra championships than they did underneath Fred Claire and Al Campanis.

Friedman’s Dodgers have been as unpredictable in October as they’ve been reliable from April to September, their postseason failures threatening to make them the Stan Kasten Atlanta Braves of this era.

Like these Braves, these Dodgers have just one World Series.

Like these Braves, these Dodgers received their World Series in a shortened season.

Like these Braves, these Dodgers have Kasten as their president.

Dodgers catcher Will Smith, left, and reduction pitcher Craig Kimbrel have fun after the Dodgers’ 4-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

The Braves had been a dynasty, however they aren’t considered as such. They’re not the Derek Jeter New York Yankees or the Buster Posey San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers may be. This season is a major alternative for them to affix that class.

Their offense is as fearsome because it was anticipated to be after they signed Freddie Freeman, who now follows fellow All-Stars Mookie Betts and Trea Turner on the prime of the order. Will Smith is the very best hitting catcher in baseball. Gavin Lux has emerged as a professional menace. Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy are sources of occasional energy.

The Dodgers lead the NL in scoring at 5.29 runs per recreation.

Their different traditionally high-scoring crew in current historical past, the 2019 crew, all of the sudden went chilly in October. That crew was eradicated within the NL Division Series by the Washington Nationals.

The present Dodgers determine to be much less unstable, as Betts and Freeman have confirmed themselves as reliable postseason performers.

An opportunity like this may not come round once more.

Turner can be a free agent on the finish of the season. Betts turns 30 in October. Freeman can be 33 in September.

Their greatest pitcher, Julio Urías, can be a free agent after subsequent season. Walker Buehler, who’s sidelined with a strained elbow, can be eligible to check the market the winter after that.

The Dodgers can even encounter larger competitors of their division within the coming years. The Padres now have Juan Soto, who’s 23 and already appears Corridor-of-Fame certain. He can be paired with veteran Manny Machado and fellow rising star Fernando Tatis Jr., who began a rehabilitation project over the weekend. The Giants ought to have the monetary sources that former Dodgers normal supervisor Farhan Zaidi can use to vault them again into rivalry.

Whereas a extra aggressive NL West would create some significant regular-season matchups — “It’s great for the sport,” Roberts mentioned — it might additionally put on down the Dodgers. Final yr, the Giants received 107 video games and the Dodgers 106. The Dodgers had been crushed within the NL Championship Series by the Braves and Roberts later acknowledged the toll of their regular-season battles with the Giants.

Going through this shrinking window of alternative, the Dodgers didn’t make any vital strikes on the commerce deadline.

“I was kind of pretty persistent in saying I don’t think we needed to do anything,” Roberts mentioned.

He higher be proper. His championship assure now feels extra like an ultimatum. Both the Dodgers win the World Series, or they’ll be forgotten, lumped with different current October disappointments.