Manager Dave Roberts is predicting a World Series championship for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019.
“I expect us to be back here next year, but celebrating on the field,” Roberts said Sunday night after the Boston Red Sox won the 2018 World Series with a 5-1 victory at Dodger Stadium, capturing the best-of-seven series, four games to one.
“I think the culture, the players, as far as the large majority, are in place. The arrow is pointing certainly in the right direction.”
This is the second consecutive season the Dodgers have lost in the World Series, the first time that has happened to the team since 1978 when it lost to the New York Yankees for the second consecutive season.
The Dodgers have not won the World Series since 1988.
“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,” Roberts said.
Roberts confirmed the Dodgers have not picked up the option year on his contract.
“Honestly I’m just kind of feeling for the guys in the clubhouse right now and feeling their pain, the coaches and all that stuff,” Roberts said. “There’s time for all that stuff.”
A more uncertain question is whether pitching star Clayton Kershaw will return.
Kershaw told reporters Sunday he has three days to decide whether to opt out of the final two years of the seven-year contract that began with the 2014 season.
“I haven’t made the decision yet,” Kershaw said. “We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens and then we’ll go from there.”
The $215 million contract calls for base salaries of $32 million for the 2019 season and $33 million in 2020, according to Spotrac, a website that follows professional sports contracts.
Kershaw was the Game 5 starter and loser. After retiring leadoff hitter Mookie Betts on two pitches, he allowed a single by Andrew Benintendi on an 0-2 slider and a two-run home run to Steve Pearce on the next pitch, a fastball.
“Pearce put a pretty good swing on the ball,” Kershaw said. “But the one that hurt was the (Andrew) Benintendi single. 0-2 and you’ve got to get that slider in the dirt. He didn’t hit it that hard, but he shouldn’t be able to make contact on a 0-2 slider.
“I left that one up. That’s what costs you.”
Kershaw also allowed solo homers by Betts in the sixth and J.D. Martinez in the seventh.
“I made a few mistakes tonight and sometimes you just wish they’d find a gap or find a single or something like that and they went over the fence tonight,” Kershaw said. “That’s the story of the game.”
Kershaw allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings, striking out five and not walking a batter in his second loss of the Series as his career postseason record dropped to 9-10.
“I thought he had really good stuff. I thought he was mixing the fastball to different quadrants. I thought he competed, like he always does,” Roberts said.
“I thought the slider was good. I thought the breaking ball was good. There were a couple of mistakes in there with the fastball. Pearce, J.D., the ball that just didn’t get there, and the Mookie slider just didn’t get there.
“And that’s a good club over there, a very good club. A great club. And so when he did make a mistake, they hit it out of the ballpark.”
Pearce hit a solo homer in the eighth of Pedro Baez, the second of three Dodger pitchers.
David Freese homered off David Price’s first pitch in the bottom of the first for the Dodgers run.
Price limited the Dodgers to three hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking two. He retired 14 consecutive batters from the third through seventh following Freese’s triple as he recorded his second victory in the Series and third in 11 days after going 0-9 as a postseason starter.
“You’ve got to give credit to David Price over there,” Roberts said. “He pitched a heck of a ballgame. Couldn’t put hits together, couldn’t get baserunners, and really stress them at all.”
Corona High School and UC Riverside alumnus Joe Kelly struck out all three Dodgers he faced in the eighth, as did Chris Sale in the ninth. Manny Machado made the final out, swinging and missing on a 1-2 slider.
Pearce was selected as the Series MVP for hitting three home runs and driving in eight runs.
The 35-year-old who has played with seven major league teams, including all five in the American League East Division, was acquired in a June 28 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league shortstop Santiago Espinal.
Pearce is the first position player to win the World Series MVP with 50 or fewer regular-season games with the winning team in his career at the time of the Fall Classic and the second player since the World Series MVP began being awarded in 1955 to play for multiple teams in the preceding regular season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official statistician. Donn Clendenon of the 1969 New York Mets is the other.
“This has been a lifelong journey,” Pearce said. “And to be here right now is a dream come true.”