Andrew Friedman stood in a hallway outside the Dodgers’ clubhouse late Sunday night, spinning a baseball in his hand. It had been more than an hour since the Dodgers’ season ended, and he had made his way through the clubhouse, shaking hands and extending hugs. The clubhouse door was locked, the players had left for the winter and the pride in guiding the Dodgers to their first back-to-back World Series appearances in 30 years had been eclipsed by the pain in losing both of them.
The Dodgers never have played in the World Series in three consecutive years — not in Los Angeles, not Brooklyn, not ever. For the fans, wait till next year. For Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, next year started Sunday.
Manny Machado was the last line of defense for the Dodgers on Sunday night, the final hope for the home team in its desperate quest to extend the World Series another day and avoid allowing an opponent to celebrate a championship on its turf. He was acquired for moments like those, when the Dodgers needed a spark from his otherworldly talent. He did not provide one. Machado struck out on a slider from Chris Sale at his feet. His defensive swing left him on one knee. It was likely the impending free agent’s final act as a Dodger.
The bell tolled for the 2018 Dodgers at 8:17 p.m. on Sunday, as Manny Machado made the final, futile swing of the season in Game 5 of the World Series, a 5-1 defeat by the Boston Red Sox that lacked the drama and turmoil of the previous night. The anti-climax still stung. Despite looking feeble for the majority of the Fall Classic, the team finished three victories shy of the championship which has eluded Los Angeles since 1988.
The drought reached its 30th year in dispiriting fashion. The Dodgers spent a summer with their flaws hiding in plain sight. The group overcame them to collective their second consecutive National League pennant. Then, across 54 innings with the Red Sox, the team saw itself torn apart from within and without. They made mistakes and paid for them. They failed to execute, and saw their opponents romp inside their own ballpark, which teemed with Red Sox fans by Sunday’s conclusion.
The evening felt like an eerie companion to Game 7 of last year’s World Series. The opponent launched a first-inning salvo. The offense squandered an early opportunity. The crowd sat on its hands, desperate for material to cheer about. The Dodgers offered little. They were unable to send the series back to Boston.
TOP OF NINTH: Hernandez to second. Muncy to first. Taylor to center. Kemp in left. Grandal catching. Kenley Jansen pitching. Bogaerts walked. Holt grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Devers grounded to first. RED SOX 5, DODGERS 1.
BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: Taylor walked. Matt Kemp was announced for Barnes, so the Red Sox bring in right-hander Joe Kelly. Kemp struck out swinging. Joc Pederson, batting for Baez, struck out looking. Cody Bellinger, batting for Freese, struck out swinging. RED SOX 5, DODGERS 1