Last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers needed a historic run to move into first place of the division before eventually running away with the NL West title for the first time since 2009.
The Dodgers’ postseason run ended in the NLCS at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, which set the bar for expectations in 2014. After another slow start, the Dodgers erased a deficit that grew to as many as 9.5 games to repeat as NL West champions.
With the Dodgers and Cardinals set to meet in the NLDS beginning Friday at Chavez Ravine, general manager Ned Colletti believes the team can draw from last year’s experience, via Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
I think we may be better prepared than we were a year ago because of what we went through. Sometimes adversity builds a lot of confidence. You’re really measured by how you handle what you have to go through it.”
Colletti also noted the difference in experience between the 2013 Dodgers and this year’s rendition:
Last year we had a great year,” Colletti said. “We stopped two wins short of getting to the Fall Classic. We had not been there as a group last year at this time. We had gone a couple of years without getting to the postseason. We had a lot of players who were new. It was a new experience for a lot of people.”
Along with gaining experience in last year’s postseason run, the Dodgers are generally speaking more healthy than they were a year ago. Although there’s the worry of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s first start back from injury potentially coming in Game 3 of the NLDS, the Dodgers haven’t lost a player for the season.
On the final day of the 2013 regular season, the Dodgers announced Matt Kemp would be unavailable as he needed surgery on his ankle. Heading into postseason play, Kemp is arguably the Dodgers’ hottest hitter. Although the Dodgers begin the playoffs with more positives than last season, how much it will carry them remains to be seen.