The Los Angeles Dodgers are advancing to the NLCS for the second straight year. While it may not come as a surprise to many, it is not that they got there, but how that makes moving on to so much sweeter.
They completed the sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks looking how a team with the best record in baseball is supposed to look. But it is not just the individual talent that helped the team leap over the NLDS hurdle, it was their ability to unite and execute. As Bradford Doolittle of ESPN reports, rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger attributes the success to the cohesion of the team.
“It’s just a collective group of guys willing to do whatever it takes to win a ballgame,” Bellinger said. “Unselfish and the way guys pass the baton and pick each other up is incredible.”
Manager Dave Roberts echoed that idea, praising them for not only coming together but buying into doing what it takes to win.
“You look at the three games in the series, and they’re all team wins,” Roberts said. “Guys in certain roles, now relegated to certain roles, like Kenta, Austin Barnes in a different role, and Cingrani to get a lefty, it was special. It really was.”
Austin Barnes was given the start at catcher over Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Kenta Maeda transitioned from a starter to a reliever as both ended up an integral part of the sweep. Fellow pitcher Yu Darvish brought a sigh of relief to Dodgers nation as he proved he could do exactly what he was brought to Los Angeles to do: Bolster an already strong bullpen.
The Dodgers have once again inched closer to reaching a destination they haven’t reached in 29 years. Back in perhaps their optimal form, they’ll need nothing less to overcome the Chicago Cubs or Washington Nationals, as well as history.