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Dodgers need to enjoy magical ride

MLB.com @RichardJustice

Lately, there's a ridiculously silly narrative going around that if the Dodgers do not win the 2017 World Series, this magical season will be some kind of failure. This is dumb beyond our usual threshold.

Let's be clear: It will be hugely disappointing if the Dodgers do not get to the World Series for the first time since 1988.

Lately, there's a ridiculously silly narrative going around that if the Dodgers do not win the 2017 World Series, this magical season will be some kind of failure. This is dumb beyond our usual threshold.

Let's be clear: It will be hugely disappointing if the Dodgers do not get to the World Series for the first time since 1988.

Guess what? The Dodgers will not be one bit more disappointed this season than they were last season. But they will not be more disappointed than the Astros, Indians, Red Sox or Nationals. Those teams have high expectations, too.

Postseason baseball is different than the regular season. Players understand this. It's about grinding it out inning by inning, protecting leads, managing bullpens, coping with pressure.

In that way, it's nothing like the regular season, when the best teams are the ones capable of riding out the highs and lows and being able to turn the page regardless of how bitter the defeat or sweet the victory.

Regular-season baseball is about depth, too, about keeping regulars fresh and not overworking a hot reliever. In short, it's just different from the postseason when a Mariano Rivera knew going in that his manager might ask for more than he ever would in the regular season.

But most of you know all that. What a lot of us -- including those of us in the press box -- occasionally fail to do is appreciate the moment. Regardless of what happens in October, these Dodgers have sent their fans to bed happy 85 times already.

And, honestly, a lot of the 34 defeats have started to feel like something of a fluke. This team plays with such energy and joy that it's hard to feel disappointed by anything they do.

Nothing that happens in October can take away from the pleasure of watching Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger play baseball. Nothing can take away from the artistry of Alex Wood or the power of Kenley Jansen.

Who knew that Chris Taylor would be this good, that he would make the transition from journeyman infielder to an outfielder who is going to wind up on some National League Most Valuable Player Award ballots?

Justin Turner was a low-risk $1 million signing. Who knew he would develop into one of the great third basemen of his generation?

And that's the beauty of watching Los Angeles sprint through a season like this one. Sometimes, things just happen in sports that none of us can really understand.

When it happens, the thing to do is enjoy the show. Will it be Yasiel Puig coming up big today? Or is it Rich Hill's turn?

These Dodgers haven't just passed every test. They've trampled them. They're 18-3 since Clayton Kershaw's back injury was supposed to slow them down. In that time, their rotation has been the best in baseball -- 10-0 with a 2.39 ERA.

Video: Must C Clutch: Puig plays hero with walk-off double

At some point, the numbers become too much to grasp. Los Angeles got its 10th walk-off victory on Wednesday night. It is 51-14 at home, 30-5 since July 4, 50-9 since June 7.

At 85-34, the Dodgers are 51 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 27, 1953, when they finished 105-49.

At least four Dodgers -- Seager, Turner, Taylor and Bellinger -- likely will be lined up somewhere on most NL MVP Award ballots. Dave Roberts will win the NL Manager of the Year Award, and it won't even be close.

At the non-waiver Trade Deadline, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi did their jobs, too, in adding the best starting pitcher to change teams: Yu Darvish.

In short, the Dodgers could not be better positioned to win the World Series. They could have Kershaw, Darvish and Hill lined up to the open the playoffs. That's the best pitcher of his generation followed by power and then pinpoint control and changing speeds.

Again, though, nothing is guaranteed. The Nationals feel pretty good when they send Max Scherzer to the mound. The Cubs have had some postseason success themselves.

This regular season has been an astonishing, history-making ride. To see a team so complete and so focused just does not happen all that often. This is a season Dodgers fans -- and probably all baseball fans -- will cherish forever regardless of what happens in October.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Los Angeles Dodgers