Hernández: Dodgers’ dominance means only one thing — they must win the World Series

Meanwhile, the years are beginning to coalesce, the decades-long renaissance making one season indistinguishable from the last. Baseball in October is now taken for granted in this city.

Consistency should not be confused with a lack of variety. Some Dodgers teams were better than others.

After 108 games into their season, this year’s Dodgers are shedding the majority of their ancestors.

They casually dismissed the San Diego Padres’ recent challenge, ending a three-game win over their visiting Port Loser in a 4-0 win. They remain on track to become the fifth team in the sport’s history to win more than 110 games.

The Dodgers have a 15½ game lead over the Padres in the National League West. This dominance is unusual even for them. So the opportunity is before them.

This is her year to win the World Series. This has to be their year, and not just because manager Dave Roberts has repeatedly guaranteed it.

When Andrew Friedman handed over the keys to the baseball operations department after the 2014 season, he spoke about winning multiple World Series championships.

He gets stuck on one.

As many regular-season games as the Dodgers have won under Friedman — they have a .621 win rate over eight seasons — they have not won more championships than under Fred Claire and Al Campanis.

Friedman’s Dodgers were as unpredictable in October as they were reliable from April through September, and their postseason failures threatened to make them this generation’s Stan Kasten Atlanta Braves.

Like those Braves, these Dodgers only have one World Series.

Like these Braves, these Dodgers won their World Series in an abbreviated season.

Like these Braves, these Dodgers have Caste as their president.

Dodgers catcher Will Smith (left) and relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel celebrate.

Dodgers catcher Will Smith (left) and relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel celebrate after the Dodgers’ 4-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Braves were a dynasty, but they are not considered as such. They’re not the Derek Jeter New York Yankees or the Buster Posey San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers can be. This season is an excellent opportunity for them to join this class.

Their offense is as terrifying as was expected when they signed Freddie Freeman, who now follows fellow All-Stars Mookie Betts and Trea Turner at the top of the order. Will Smith is the best batter in baseball. Gavin Lux has emerged as a legitimate threat. Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy are sources of occasional power.

The Dodgers lead the NL with 5.29 runs per game.

Their other historically high-scoring team in recent history, the 2019 team, suddenly went cold in October. This team was eliminated in the NL Division Series by the Washington Nationals.

The current Dodgers number is less volatile as Betts and Freeman have proven reliable postseason performers.

A chance like this may not come again.

Turner will be a free agent by the end of the season. Betts turns 30 in October. Freeman will be 33 years old in September.

Their top pitcher, Julio Urías, will be a free agent after next season. Walker Buehler, who is out with a strained elbow, can test the market in the winter afterwards.

The Dodgers will face stiffer competition in their division in the years to come. The Padres now have Juan Soto, who is 23 and appears to have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. He will be working with veteran Manny Machado and fellow up-and-coming Fernando Tatis Jr., who began a rehabilitation assignment over the weekend. The Giants should have the financial resources that former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi can use to get them back in contention.

While a more competitive NL West would create some significant regular-season matchups — “That’s great for the sport,” Roberts said — it could also wear down the Dodgers. Last year, the Giants won 107 games and the Dodgers 106. The Dodgers were beaten by the Braves in the NL Championship Series, and Roberts later acknowledged the toll of their regular-season struggles with the Giants.

With this shrinking window of opportunity, the Dodgers made no significant moves at the close.

“I was pretty adamant when I said, I don’t think we need to do anything,” Roberts said.

He better be right. His championship guarantee now feels more like an ultimatum. Either the Dodgers win the World Series or they’ll be forgotten, thrown together with other disappointments in October. Hernández: Dodgers’ dominance means only one thing — they must win the World Series

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