first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error JeffMillerOCR on TwitterIf the 2017 Dodgers don’t win the World Series, their historic season will be remembered as a failure.And if this is such a profound statement, how come that’s already the third time I’ve made some version of it?Folks, any chance I had of ever being considered profound ended years ago, on the occasion of making, in print, career joke No. 100 that used the word wiener. Please. The Dodgers, more than any of us, realize they have to win the final game of this baseball season or they’ll lose everything else they’ve accumulated along the way.That reality is undeniably true and remarkably unfair, and no one really cares if it’s fair or not because the Dodgers brought this on themselves by being so darned dominant in the first place.They could have avoided these stark circumstances by losing at a pace more heady than Sports Illustrated publishes a magazine. Once-a-week is ridiculous in baseball, a game where even the winning team typically makes at least 24 outs.Yet, the Dodgers of late have insisted on eluding defeat at a level dating to the sport’s very origins.They could stumble now and still easily win more than 110 times, which wouldn’t break any big-league records, even though their winning has come to sound precisely like a broken record.center_img Still, what happens from April to September in baseball assures nothing once October arrives. If anyone understands that, it’s Clayton Kershaw, right?So, as much as the Dodgers have demolished everyone in their path – their lead for the sport’s best record entering Wednesday was eight games – they eventually will face an opponent that’s undefeated in the postseason: fate.And fate can have entirely different ideas about what’s required to be a champion.“Our goal is to win 11 games in October,” Manager Dave Roberts said during the team’s most recent homestand, repeating something he has uttered frequently and knowingly all summer. “We’re far from that right now.”No, this isn’t the NBA, where an individual player can so influence the outcome of games that everyone today expects Golden State to win the title again in 10 months.Baseball’s playoffs can be much more fickle, of course, to the extreme point of one injured player, performing on one healthy leg, greatly determining everything with one gargantuan swing.Hey, there’s a reason Kirk Gibson is a storybook legend around here.Since that 1988 championship – the Dodgers’ most recent – six wild-card teams have won the World Series, including the 2002 Angels. Six others have reached the World Series before finally losing.Not one of those 12 teams entered the playoffs favored to win anything, never mind everything.Only two of the past 20 teams to win at least 100 regular-season games went on to claim the World Series, numbers that seem almost as unlikely as the statistics of Cody Bellinger.That’s 2 for 20 or a batting average of .100, much too close to what Brandon McCarthy is hitting this year and proof that, in a series as short as a homestand, simple luck matters like raw skill.The Chicago Cubs had the best regular-season mark in 2016 and rode that success to a title that ended a century-plus worth of disappointment.Two years earlier, the Angels entered the postseason with a baseball-best 98 victories. That team didn’t win again, losing the division series to Kansas City in a sweep.In fact, over the past decade, only four teams that finished with the best record or tied for the best record won the World Series.That history says the Dodgers, if they do end up leading baseball in victories, still have a better chance of not being champions.All of which means nothing at the moment other than the truth that the Dodgers face much more uncertainty as it relates to winning the 2017 World Series than their success today suggests.Sorry, I’m not trying to be a downer, just a realist, one taking a realistic look at the unpredictable future of a team performing at an unreal clip.Want something uplifting? OK, what do the Dodgers have in common with the Cleveland Cavaliers?Both teams have had one three-game losing streak since the beginning of June, and the Cavs stopped playing more than eight weeks ago.During that past homestand, I asked Roberts about the possibility of the Dodgers being too good too soon.“I think people who feel like they’re peaking too soon aren’t confident fundamentally or in the foundation of what (they) have,” he said. “The foundation of where we’re at and the talent that we have, this is who we are.”That, too, has become a regular response from Roberts. The “Who We Are Dodgers.” Maybe it’s not as catchy as the “Ya Gotta Believe Mets,” the “We Are Family Pirates” or the “Cowboy Up Red Sox.”But the “Who We Are Dodgers” does fit them. All this winning stopped being fluky long ago. This is who the deep, talented Dodgers are in the second week of August.What remains to be seen is who they’ll be in the fourth week of October, understanding that those two teams won’t necessarily be one.last_img