It may take all off-season to recover from the Dodgers 9-0 elimination-loss to St. Louis in the NLCS, but before you set your sights to next year it is time to look back at their fantastic 2013.
In a 162-game season, there have been enough Dodger headlines to drown in. To help you relive the best moments of the season, without having to drown in countless headlines, here is a list of the top Dodger moments of 2013:
The Journey From Worst-to-First:
Perhaps the most memorable part of this season did not come from just a single game. The Dodgers remarkable 50-game stretch, that ended with a 42-8 record, set a franchise record that may never be topped, and certainly will not be forgotten by fans.
They went 19-6 in July, and set a franchise record for consecutive road wins with 15. During the run they rocketed in the NL West standings, starting in last place, down 9.5 games, and finishing to first place with an 8.5-game lead.
If the Dodgers do not go 42-8, they would have had to fight to compete in a mediocre division, but may not have made the playoffs.
Puig's First Month:
You could make an entire list of Yasiel Puig highlights alone, but let's just settle for one. Nobody will forget the immediate impact Puig made on the Dodgers with his early call-up in June, injecting the lineup with some much-needed energy and bringing electricity to the crowd at Dodger Stadium.
With so many outfielders injured, they needed the rookie to produce immediately upon his arrival, and he sure did. In June, he tied a MLB record for hits in a debut month with 44, and sported an outstanding line of .436/.467/.713.
One of the most discouraging bits of pre-season news came out of the World Baseball Classic as Dodger shortstop Hanley Ramirez broke his thumb in the international tournament. He missed the first month of the season after surgery on the thumb, and then played in just four games before missing another month with a hamstring injury.
Upon his return he absolutely destroyed the league to the tune of .341/.398/.628 despite battling several other injured along the way. Immediately upon the return from his hamstring, he put up astonishing numbers. He hit 39-84 with 22 runs, 21 RBIs, seven doubles, seven home runs, seven walks, and just seven strikeouts in 22 games. Wow.
Jansen Named Closer:
How would things have changed if Kenley Jansen was the closer all season long? Who knows, but the least the Dodgers could have done was at least put him in the slot a few weeks earlier with Brandon League consistently blowing late-inning leads.
Not only did Jansen destroy the competition all season long, but the decision to replace League solidified the roles of the relief-core in the bullpen, and brought about a fantastic stretch of lights-out relief.
Ryu shutouts the Angels:
Hyun-Jin Ryu came into the season as a technical rookie, but had years of experience playing in Korea, including on major stages like the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. Despite his experience, many felt he was a big question mark entering the season.
He had a fantastic rookie season, following up Kershaw and Zack Greinke as a solid number 3 starter. Ryu's best start was an exciting two-hit shutout of the Angels at Dodger Stadium. He mowed them down on 113 pitches in just two hours and eleven minutes.
One of the most highly-touted regular season match ups came in August when the Dodgers hosted the Tampa Bay Rays. The series started out on a sour note with the Dodgers losing 6-0 in the first game up until the seventh inning.
They scored one run in the seventh, two runs in the eighth, and four runs in the ninth for a dramatic 7-6 comeback victory.
Most Runs Scored:
In the regular season it does not get much better than when your team explodes for a total blowout-victory. On July 22 in Toronto, the Dodgers scored their most runs in a single game this season in a 14-5 thumping over the Blue Jays.
Perhaps the oddest thing from that game is that the big bats of Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier combined to hit 5-19 with one RBI, while A.J. Ellis and Skip Schumaker did the heavy lifting going 6-11 with eight RBIs.
Scully Announces Return For 2014:
This may not even belong on the list of moments from 2013, but Vin Scully's press conference announcing his return to the booth for 2014 was great because, he's Vinny and Vinny is the best. Can't wait for another great year with him calling the game.
Dodgers Clinch NL West:
One of the most satisfying wins of the regular season came in Arizona when the Dodgers clinched the NL West. They entered the month with a huge lead, and stumbled due to injuries before clinching with a 4-10 record leading up to their win on September 19.
They beat Arizona 7-6 in a dramatic comeback-win before popping the bubbly, and taking a controversial dive in the pool that Arizona keeps in the right field bleachers.
Kershaw Pitches On Short Rest:
NLDS Game 4 was a huge game for the Dodgers. They had a 2-1 series lead over the Braves, and wanted to wrap it up at home instead of traveling back to Atlanta for Game 5.
Ricky Nolasco was lined up to pitch the potential clinching game, but the Dodgers threw Clayton Kershaw on short rest instead. The decision caused quite the buzz, and he did not disappoint throwing six innings, and giving up three hits for no earned runs with six strikeouts.
It was simply just Kershaw doing Kershaw things, and it was awesome.
Uribe's Game 4 Home Run:
It looked like the Dodgers might waste Kershaw's great start on short rest, down 3-2 in the eighth inning of NLDS Game 4. But with one swing of the bat Juan Uribe changed everything with a two-run blast to give the Dodgers the 4-3 lead, ending the series with Atlanta.
Uribe had an amazing turnaround season, and became a fan-favorite after struggling so much in the first two years of his contract with the Dodgers. This home run simply punctuated everything he had done in 2013, and had everyone taking back all the negative things they had said about him before this season. (Too bad he went 3-23 with seven strikeouts and three double-plays in the NLCS though.)