For the last eight to nine years running, the Dodgers have been among the best teams in baseball. And last year they were crowned the best of them all, bringing home a title for the first time in three-plus decades.
The Dodgers have always been a team with a target on their back. But winning a championship undoubtedly makes that target even bigger. On Wednesday, Dave Roberts agreed with that and then some.
“Absolutely, absolutely. And, that’s what we had expected. But, until you’re there, you don’t really know what it’s like.”
Doc continued adding a bit of context as to the extent to which the team is seeing increased intensity from opposing managers.
“We’ve always had a target as far as being the Dodgers. But when you’re reigning World Champs teams certainly get up to play like every game is Game 7. I think that we’ve seen it with how managers have deployed bullpens and the intensity that teams have shown playing us. It’s up to us to match that. And I know we will.”
Still, you’re the world champs… you have to get it up even more than the competition. And at times this season — particularly during this stretch of poor play — the Dodgers have not looked overly locked in. Errors are piling up. Opportunities for productive outs are being missed in favor of batters swinging for the fences or, if I may, selfishly.
The 2020 Dodgers played a more selfless brand of baseball. That was most evident in the postseason. That club also played tight, clean defense… championship defense.
Sure, injuries have put the team in tough spots with inexperienced players, but this has the feel of a World Series hangover much more than other teams just wanting to win more.
“No one feels sorry for us, said Justin Turner after Tuesday’s doubleheader loss. “We can’t take anything for granted. Still got to show up and do all the little things and play the game the right way. The bottom line is we’ve got to play better.”
Go play better already.