After Lakers championship, LA's eyes turn to the Dodgers

The Lakers have just won the NBA title. Will it be the Dodgers' turn next? staff via KABC logo
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is talking about how the team has come together during the pandemic and how that might help on the field during the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.

On Sunday, the Lakers ended a 10-year drought and brought an NBA championship back to Los Angeles.

Now even as the celebrations continue, the city's sports fans look to another team to break their own drought.

The Dodgers haven't won the World Series in 32 years. As they start the National League Championship Series, they are eight wins away from bringing The Commissioner's Trophy back to Los Angeles.

The last time the Dodgers won, 1988, it was also a year when the Lakers won the NBA title. With the coronavirus pandemic pushing the NBA finals into October, this could be the first time Los Angeles faces the possibility of celebrating two championships in different sports in the same month.

On Monday, the Dodgers open the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.

The Dodgers have met the Braves in two out of the last three seasons, and have beaten them both times. But those Braves they faced in the playoffs have grown up a little bit, and have even won a couple of postseason series.

The Dodgers have been here before, in the NL Championship Series for the fourth time in five years and settling in at the new AL ballpark where last week they won their NL Division series and would like to stay for the World Series.

Atlanta is in its first NLCS since 2001 and, like Los Angeles, has won all five games so far this postseason.

It is a matchup of the highest-scoring teams in the majors during the regular season, with fans in the stands for the first time in this pandemic-affected season. After 118 homers in 60 regular-season games, the Dodgers have only two in the playoffs. They've hit one in the spacious new Texas Rangers' ballpark where they swept the San Diego Padres in the NL Division Series there last week, but scored 23 in those three games.

"We're not a one-track offense. We can score runs in a ton of different ways," Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. "And if the ball happens to go over the fence, we'll take that too."

Los Angeles won the 2018 NLDS over Atlanta in four games on the way to its second consecutive World Series, though the Dodgers are still more than three decades removed from their last title in 1988. That was part of 10 consecutive postseason series losses before the Braves swept Cincinnati and Miami this year.

While young 20-something standouts Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies have now been part of three consecutive NL East titles, Braves pitchers - a staff with rookie starters Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright - have thrown four shutouts in these playoffs.

"There's a lot of young athleticism on both sides," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's going to be a fun series."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.