first_imgWelcome to their nightmares:1994: The Dodgers finished first in the N.L. West. They did not lose a playoff series that year, only because nobody did. A players strike ended the season in August.1995: The Dodgers won the West and opened the Division Series on Oct. 3, which should have been a day of exhilaration. Instead, a sullen non-crowd of 44,000 braved the traffic. Some chanted, “Guilty, guilty.” That morning, O.J. Simpson had been acquitted of murder.In Game 2 Mike Piazza had six runners during his at-bats and never moved any of them. The Reds enjoyed a three-game sweep. The Dodgers’ two best players were Eric Karros and Chad Fonville, a 5-foot-6 shortstop who hit .500. 1996: The Dodgers hit .147 and scored five runs in three losses to Atlanta’s Hall of Fame pitchers. Still, they had reason to believe they would return. Then Brian Johnson of the Giants hit a home run off Mark Guthrie the next September, and Piazza was traded the following May. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error 2004: Steve Finley’s division-winning grand slam remains one of Dodger Stadium’s loudest screams. The noise died quickly in a four-game Division Series loss to the Cardinals. At least Jose Lima gave L.A. its first postseason win since ‘88, with a five-hit shutout in Game 3. “Not bad,” someone told him, and Lima replied, “Not bad? What did you want, a perfect game?”2006: Lefty reliever Joe Beimel sliced open his hand the night before Game 1 in New York. Then came the premiere of Crash Test Dodgers. Both Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew were tagged out at home, on the same play, after Russell Martin’s single. The Mets won 6-5 and swept the series.“It was like an air traffic controller,” third base coach Rich Donnelly. “You don’t notice him until there’s a wreck.”2008: The Dodgers won their first playoff series in 20 years, sweeping Chicago. It was the Summer of Manny, with Ramirez hitting .403 after he came from Boston. But the Phillies went up 2-0 in the NLCS, and several Dodgers were irritated with Chad Billingsley in Game 2, for not protecting hitters.In a classic Game 4, Joe Torre used starters Clayton Kershaw and Chan Ho Park in relief, and the Phillies tied the game 3-3. The Dodgers went ahead 5-3 before Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs homered in the seventh, Philadelphia won 6-5 and closed the series the next night.2009: A Division Series sweep of St. Louis sent the Dodgers against the Phillies. The 95-win Dodgers had home field, but lefty Raul Ibanez crushed a three-run homer off lefty George Sherrill and the Phillies won Game 1, 8-6.The Dodgers led Game 4, 4-3, after eight. Again, Stairs got the best of Jonathan Broxton, with a one-out walk. Broxton then hit Carlos Ruiz and gave up a two-out, game-winning double to Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies won in five.2013: A four-game victory over the Braves set up an NLCS matchup with St. Louis, which won Game 1 when Carlos Beltran belted a 13th-inning single off Kenley Jansen. In the 10th, Beltran had thrown out A.J. Ellis trying to score on a flyball.In Game 5, St. Louis picked up three early runs on Kershaw and then Matt Adams chased him with a sixth-inning double to clinch the series. Three times, Cardinal baserunners advanced when Yasiel Puig kept overthrowing cutoff men.2014: Kershaw seized a 6-1 lead in Game 1 of the rematch with the Cards. In one of the most astonishing playoff innings ever, the Cardinals scored eight in the seventh, all but one off the NL MVP and Cy Young winner. They hung on to win, 10-9, won Game 3 when they jumped on lefty reliever Scott Elbert, and then Adams beat Kershaw in Game 4 with a seventh-inning home run.So now it’s the Mets, in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, knowing that they might have the Dodgers just where they want them.In October.center_img [email protected] @MWhicker03LANG on TwitterThe Dodgers’ post-1988 playoff history is a case of Ansel Adams leaving on the lens cap, Bob Dylan dropping his harmonica into the bean dip.They have touched off celebrations in Cincinnati, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis. They have won three playoff series since Orel Hershiser kneeled on the mound in Oakland. They have lost homefield advantages. They have lost with their best pitchers. They have lost hurt and they have lost healthy.You don’t have to believe in ghosts to wonder how the Dodgers’ shoulders will droop if the Mets seize a first-inning lead in Game 1 of the NL Division Series tonight.last_img

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