Are the Dodgers 2019 chances already history?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing a sixth inning home run to Mookie Betts (not pictured) #50 of the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing a sixth inning home run to Mookie Betts (not pictured) #50 of the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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The two-time World Series loser Dodgers face plenty of precedent against their hopes to finally win a World Series in 2019

If history is any guide, their 5-1 loss Sunday night in Game 5 may have cost the Los Angeles Dodgers more than merely a chance at the 2018 World Series. It may also have finished them as 2019 contenders.

The defeat was the second straight for LA in the Fall Classic; they lost in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017. They thus became the 11th team in baseball history to lose back-to-back Series.

Of the previous 10, only one won the World Series a year later …and that happened nearly a century ago. Since the divisional era began in 1969, the only three previous three-time losers all were eliminated in pre-World Series rounds or failed to make post-season play at all.

The average decline – measured by regular season wins — of those 10 teams was 9.2 games.

The Dodgers were 92-71 this season; a nine-game slide next year would almost certainly have left them out of the playoffs altogether.

They face challenges over the winter, although most of those challenges are age-related. Probably their most consistent hitter, Justin Turner, will be 34 in 2019, an age when career arcs generally begin to trend downward. Matt Kemp will also be 34.

On the mound – always the heart of any Dodger team – the Dodgers are waiting to hear what becomes of Clayton Kershaw’s opt-out decision. Whatever Kershaw decides, it doesn’t change the fact that Rich Hill, a valuable left-handed arm, will be 39.

Of the Dodgers’ 10 most valuable players in 2017 as measured by WAR, eight produced worse seasons in 2018, the total performance reduction of the 10 equaling -18.2 games.

Here’s a look at the 10 previous two-time World Series losers, and the problems they ran into the following season: