Dave Roberts is expected to return, but the Dodgers face other major questions outside the season

After a decade of unprecedented dominance in the regular season, but all the all-too-familiar disappointment that dragged on Saturday night with their elimination in the National League series, the Dodgers find themselves in a familiar place entering this season.

In an effort to maintain the success that has included a record-breaking 111 game win this year – but build a more consistent squad in October, they have secured just one World Championship in 10 consecutive games after the season debuted.

The one thing that probably won’t change is the manager.

Dave Roberts, who has been the target of fans frustration after the Dodgers failed to win more than one championship during his tenure, is expected to return in 2023 for his eighth season as team manager, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not. You are not authorized to speak publicly. Roberts is set to begin a three-year contract extension before this season.

But after the NLDS’ disastrous defeat to the San Diego Padres last week, which was shut down when the Dodgers blew a three-game lead in Game Four Saturday night, there are plenty of other unknowns the club will have to address.

Among them – the future of many players, including franchise icons Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner.

“The goal is to win the championship,” Turner said following the Dodgers’ elimination on Saturday. “Failing to make it any round, it doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t feel good.”

What made this failure particularly difficult for the Dodgers was that it came quickly after a historic regular season.

Their 111 wins were the fourth most in league history. They’ve led the majors in running and scored a few laps that were abandoned. They won their score by 22 games against Padres. They were the favorites to win the seventh world title in Los Angeles.

A couple of common themes emerged during the NLDS defeat.

Their powerful attack slipped into a post-season drought, turning from the highest scoring unit in the major tournaments during the regular season to a disappointing and ineffective group that managed just seven runs in three consecutive losses after the first game.

Their staff also failed to maintain their strong showing in the regular season, often faltering in key positions against the Padres, whom the Dodgers have defeated 14 times in 19 attempts this year to enter the series.

The Dodgers’ collapse in the seventh inning of Game Four on Saturday summed it all up.

Their lineup only managed to run one run after loading bases with no ends, missing out on an opportunity to extend a three-range lead.

And their team exploded against an opportunistic Padres attack, who scored five goals in front of a raucous San Diego crowd.

And the Dodgers were unable to reclaim the remainder of the road, as they suffered one of the biggest upheavals in baseball game history. They became the first sports team to win at least 110 games and fail to advance to the League Championship Series.

Said Kershaw, potential future Hall of-Fame player: “It’s just another good regular season.”

Followed by another bout of heartbreak.

So how do the Dodgers fix this? How can they reverse the agony of post-season, with the 2020 World Championships they won during the pandemic shortened season remaining their only delay in October?

That’s what the team’s front-office decision makers, from Chief of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman onwards, will begin to think about in the coming days.

Roberts appears to be on the safe side despite criticism of several decisions during Saturday’s fateful seventh game.

“We didn’t hit our target, that’s the point,” Roberts said after the match. “Yes, it hurts.”

No manager in Major League history has officiated more games than Roberts with a win percentage better than his career 0.632. His total of 653 wins ranked him fifth in franchise history.

He and his current staff, including head coach Mark Pryor and hits coach Brant Brown and Robert van Sjoek, helped the team’s transition to the 2020 world title as well.

However, they have now overseen early eliminations in the last two seasons, the latter of which included a crucial break in contact during Saturday’s seventh-round disaster.

Hoping to give Savior Alex Vesia an extra moment to warm up, Dodgers’ bunker signaled pitcher Yency Almonte to shoot first base. However, the mark was missed, with Almonte instead handing the pitch to the board, causing the Dodgers to make a risky change right at the middle of the bat.

Moments later, Padres took the lead with a punch.

“I don’t know how it got lost in translation,” Roberts said.

It wasn’t the team’s only problem last week.

Although Friedman has built a sustainable regular season winner with rosters built around top stars, local talent and unannounced depth additions, his teams continue to show a penchant for pressure in October, particularly on the plate.

“We did it ourselves,” said Mookie Betts, the $365 million team player who has only had two hits on the series. “They played well, but there were some situations where we didn’t perform.”

Despite their impeccable veteran career, the Dodgers sometimes seem to lack the confidence and bravado of other title contenders – this year’s Padres, who adopted the goose that landed at Dodger Stadium during Game Two as their unofficial series mascot, included.

“They’ve had great bats the whole series and made big pitches when they had to, playing better than us,” Kershaw said. “It’s hard to admit sometimes, but it is the truth. They just beat us.”

And in the wake of this latest setback, the Dodgers are having a good time full of questions.

The club will have to make decisions about Turner, the third baseman with the club’s $16 million option to enter his 38-year season; And former Premier League most valuable player Cody Bellinger, who despite struggling again this season, culminating in appearances in games 3 and 4 of the NLDS, is likely to receive a raise on his $17 million salary in arbitration if he makes The Dodgers have offered their midfielder a contract.

Shortstop Trea Turner is making headlines for a host of non-contracted dealers, with bowlers Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney and Tommy Kahnle also hitting the open market without a new deal.

So does Kershaw, although the 34-year-old left-back will first have to decide if he wants to continue his career.

“Yes, I think so,” Kershaw said when asked if he wanted to play next season. “We’ll see what happens. Coming home, staying around and being a full-time dad changes your perspective on things. But as of now, I’d say I’m going to play again.”

If Kershaw stays with the Dodgers, he will be part of a club that should remain competitive in 2023.

It will remain the main title offense by former Bates best players and first baseman Freddy Freeman. Cy Young Award nominee Julio Urías will be the mainstay on the show’s cast. There is no doubt in Friedman’s ability to build – and Roberts’ ability to manage – a winning team from April to September.

But for the franchise now ruling itself to stand out in October, the Dodgers will have to wait another 12 months for their next title opportunity.

“It was great to win so many matches [in the regular season]Bates said. “But it means absolutely nothing if you lose in the post-season.”

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