For the third time in four years the Dodgers are in the World Series as National League champs.
And for the fourth consecutive season the team that beat them in the NL Championship Series on the way to one of the most celebrated World Series titles of all-time in 2016 is not.
That historically young 2016 Cubs champion, in fact, has advanced from only one playoff round out of four since then despite the dynasty widely predicted for the long-stagnant Cubs.
One look up and down the Dodgers roster — from Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler to Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts — and it’s easy to see why the Dodgers are back in the World Series.
Their opponent from Tampa Bay, a 40-game winner during this 60-game season, has turned run prevention and scoring efficiency into an art form — surviving a seven-game series in the ALCS against an Astros team that had played in two of the last three World Series.
But the Cubs?
The team with the third-highest-paid 28-man roster in the game this season has had well documented hitting problems the last few seasons with its touted hitting core from that 2016 title.
But at least five not-so-obvious factors also have conspired to keep the Cubs out of the World Series since 2016 — and likely will result in a roster overhaul starting this winter.