LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers observed a bitter October club tradition Sunday. They were eliminated.They lost a second consecutive World Series, this one to the Red Sox in five games after Sunday's 5-1 loss. Clayton Kershaw, in perhaps his final Dodgers game, allowed three of Boston's four homers. The stuttering
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers observed a bitter October club tradition Sunday. They were eliminated.
They lost a second consecutive World Series, this one to the Red Sox in five games after Sunday's 5-1 loss. Clayton Kershaw, in perhaps his final Dodgers game, allowed three of Boston's four homers. The stuttering offense did nothing after David Freese's home run leading off the first inning against David Price, who didn't let pitching on short rest prevent him from handcuffing the boom-or-bust Dodgers offense a second time in four days.
:: World Series schedule and results ::
So the Dodgers went through this fall drill yet again, watching champion opponents dogpile on their field, as the Astros did last year at Dodger Stadium.
The few Dodgers players in the dugout who could stomach the sight watched the Red Sox take over the home field. Eventually, the Dodgers trudged to their clubhouse, emptied lockers and packed bags for a trip home and the start of another offseason of disappointment.
"Back-to-back years falling short in the World Series is brutal," said Justin Turner.
So is a 30-year drought since the last title, as much as the Dodgers hoped Kershaw could re-create Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson magic. The time for that might have passed forever for Kershaw, who can opt out of the final two years of his contract in the next three days.
"I haven't made the decision yet," said Kershaw. "We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens and then we'll go from there."
Blame had already begun to fall from some corners on Kershaw for two losses, on Kenley Jansen and his bullpen mates for the Game 4 collapse, on manager Dave Roberts and starter Rich Hill for whatever happened between them in Game 4. But that's too complicated. The better team won, with better pitching and better hitting. Boston won 108 games in the regular season and Los Angeles won 92.
"Ran up against a very good ballclub," said Roberts, whose contract has a club option for 2019 that has yet to be exercised. "And just a little bit too much for us."
The Dodgers hit .180 in the Series with a .302 slugging percentage and a .249 on-base percentage. The bullpen ERA was 5.48. They hit six homers, only two fewer than the Red Sox, but scored 12 fewer runs. Their last six at-bats were strikeouts. L.A.'s one victory in the Series took 18 innings and a walk-off homer from Player Page for Max Muncy off a starter in his seventh inning of relief.
Freese hit .417, Turner hit .333 and no other Dodger was above .250. Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, James Dozier, Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Manny Machado, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor hit a combined .110. Machado, acquired in a 5-for-1 trade to replace the injured Corey Seager and provide a lethal bat, had four singles and drove in three runs, two on outs.
• Good and bad, Manny leaves impact on Dodgers
"They executed better in big moments, they hit better with runners in scoring position," said Barnes. "The games, either team could have grabbed them. They did and we didn't."
So the Dodgers lose back-to-back World Series for the first time since 1977-78 against the Yankees, and they've lost 14 World Series as a franchise, setting an MLB record.
"When you play a seven-game series, there are certainly moments that could go either way," said Roberts. "But ultimately, and it's tough to say, but the better team won."
Of course, you can't win if you don't get there, and the Dodgers in defeat were still proud they got there, again.
"We had a great run," said Turner. "We're one of the last two teams playing and we fell a little short again. We did things people didn't even think we would accomplish. The resiliency, the fight. Said it a hundred times, our backs were against the wall the entire season."
Roberts deflected a question about his contract status and tried to accentuate the positive.
"We'll get over the hump. It's not easy. It hurts. It's disappointing. All that," Roberts said. "But to say we didn't win a championship, and to say it was an unsuccessful season, I think that's doing a disservice to everyone in that clubhouse. We've just got to go back out there, and I expect us to be back here next year, but celebrating on the field."
A left-hander rewrote the narrative on his postseason career, and it wasn't Kershaw but Price, known so well by Dodgers president Andrew Friedman from their years together with Tampa Bay. Price kept the Dodgers' left-handed platoon on the bench and the right-handed hitters in knots, allowing only three hits each start, half of the six by Freese.
"David pitched a great game and I got outpitched and we lost the game," said Kershaw.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.