The Dodgers’ 20th Anniversary

Commentary: The excruciating conclusion of the Dodgers’ glorious season

For a team that seemed to have its magic touch back, the Dodgers might have just missed it. As bad as it feels now, they still could be even worse.

We are the Dodgers.

This year’s season started with a bang: Justin Verlander, with his amazing run to his second Cy Young Award in three years, became the first pitcher to win 20 games in his first 20 starts of an MLB season — the Dodgers’ only major league franchise has won 20 games in a season just once, the 1940 Yankees.

Verlander pitched seven innings and gave up only one earned run — but that was an out in the first inning, and the bullpen lost its first hit in the majors that day, when the Dodgers’ Adam Liberatore drove a ball off the right-field wall for an error at the time.

Now, about that.667 winning percentage, which was the Dodgers’ best since 1939.

And then, a week later, the Dodgers lost, 5-3, to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series.

In hindsight, that was the best possible scenario. The Cards led 10-1, a little before the fifth inning, thanks to an inspired start by Scott Rolen, who struck out all four of the Dodgers’ batters, and that was it.

The Cards won the first two games of the series, and then the Cardinals went on to sweep a six-game series against the Miami Marlins, who they then faced in the National League Championship Series, where they won game one, 8-1, and then three games later came back to beat the Phillies in the National League Division Series, and then beat the Cubs in the National League Division Series in five games.

What a season.

For the Dodgers, it would be an alliterative way to end the year. And for their fans, it would be a reminder of what could have been.

From July 5 through the end of the season, the Dodgers went 81-40. They had three 100-win seasons in a row after finishing at 83-78 as last year’s team started the season.

They were a half-game behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who won 100 games

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