LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Major League Baseball’s World Series trophy was lifted triumphantly at Dodger Stadium for the second straight year on Sunday, but again the home team failed to get their hands on it.
Boston blasted their way to a 4-1 best-of-seven series victory this time around, while last year it was the Houston Astros breaking Los Angeles’ hearts in a Game 7 decider.
Dodgers’ losing pitcher Clayton Kershaw told reporters that the experience of losing out to Houston last year did not make defeat any easier to swallow on Sunday.
“There’s only one team that can win, and we know that, but it just hurts worse when you make it all the way and get second place,” he said.
“So having done that two years in a row now, it doesn’t make it any easier. And anytime you lose the last game when you’re in the playoffs, it’s no fun.”
The Dodgers will be desperate to return to the title game next season to make up for this disappointment but with an aging roster and the clock ticking on their payroll of $200 million, they are racing against time.Kershaw was once again vulnerable on the biggest stage, allowing nine runs in two losses to the Red Sox.The 30-year-old will shortly decide whether he will opt out of the remaining two years on his contract, making him a free agent this off-season.”I haven’t made the decision yet. We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens. And then we’ll go from there,” Kershaw said.
But Kershaw is not the only question mark over the team’s pitching staff.
At 38, Rich Hill is in the twilight of his career while closer Kenley Jansen endured another troubling World Series. He has now allowed four home runs in nine appearances, with three blown saves.While the Dodgers have the building blocks in place for a solid side, such as outfielders Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig, as well as shortstop Corey Seager, who had his season cut short by surgery, they are not known as a franchise that takes a long-term view.
Building for the future often takes a back seat to loading up for the present. This season the team traded for four-time All Star Manny Machado and acquired veteran David Freese, a former World Series MVP.
Freese was one of the few players who seemed to rise to the occasion, hitting .417 in the final series.The team as a whole batted just 4-for-20 with runners in scoring position during the World Series, squandering countless opportunities.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts set his sights on returning to the World Series next season, but with a different outcome.
“We’ve just got to go back out there, and I expect us to be back here next year, but celebrating on the field,” he added.
“You’ve got to obviously give yourself a chance to get to the postseason. And once you get there, you’ve just got to be playing your best baseball.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford