Well, if you are an SF Giants fan, then the outcome of Saturday night's game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres could not have been more satisfying. The Padres pulled a surprising 3-1 series victory against a juggernaut Dodgers team to advance to the NLCS.
Longtime SF Giants division rivals suffer laughable collapse
The 111-win Dodgers were the prohibitive favorites to not only defeat the Padres in the NLDS but to advance to the World Series. Those dreams were dashed on Saturday night as the Padres clinched the series behind a strong, six-inning effort from Joe Musgrove.
It was a disappointing season for Giants fans, but they would prefer any team but the Dodgers to win the World Series, so Saturday night's defeat served as a nice consolation prize.
The Padres will face off against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS in a matchup that few could have predicted. San Diego defeated a pair of 100-win teams in the New York Mets and the Dodgers, whereas the Phillies upended any expectations of the Braves advancing to the World Series.
It is a matchup of improbables but that is sometimes the case with playoff baseball. It is not always the best team that wins, but rather it is which team is hotter at the time. For the Padres, they were clearly the hotter team as they tallied three straight wins against the Dodgers.
A lot of the narrative right now is how baseball can fix the playoffs, so that the better team advances in a more predictable pattern. I think that is what makes baseball unique is that the underdogs can come out on top in a short series.
In basketball, teams that are the No. 4 seed or lower rarely have a chance to do any damage in the postseason but playoff baseball is different. Over the course of a 162-game season, teams go through the ups and downs that come with the grind of baseball. The season can either prepare you for the playoffs or wear you down by the team you reach it.
The playoff structure is fine. The crapshoot that it is makes the Giants winning three championships in five seasons all the more special and memorable. On paper, the current Dodgers roster has more talent than any of the Giants teams from the championship run. However, the team that executes tends to be a very tough team to beat and the Giants executed on offense, defense, and in-game management.
In no way was luck ever a factor and attributing any of their wins to luck really takes away from the skill that comes from being able to win in baseball's biggest stage. The Giants had players who rose to the occasion again and again. It was not luck but part of their DNA.
This is not about the Giants or their historic run. It is about the Dodgers. Where do they go from here? After winning 111 games in 2022, it felt like this would inevitably be their year, especially since manager Dave Roberts guaranteed it before the season even started.
They still have a supremely-talented roster. They have a couple of key free agents in shortstop Trea Turner and ace Clatyon Kershaw, but is there a move that they can make that assures that they will not be disappointed yet against next October?
I do not know the answer to this but we have seen this same story play out for the past five or six seasons. They suffered another tough collapse and are going to spend the entire winter trying to figure out where it all went wrong.