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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(Original Caption) 2/24/1937-Havana, Cuba: Carl Hubbbell, star pitcher, shown at training with the New York Giants at their Havana, Cuba, spring training camp. /

1938 New York Giants

These were the Giants of Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell, two-time reigning National League champions. That they had run afoul of the Yankees in both World Series – winning just three total games – was actually an accomplishment. Those same Yanks would sweep the Cubs in 1938 and Reds in 1939, then take out the Dodgers in five games in 1941.

In 1938, though,, the Dodgers began to show their age. That was nowhere more the case than on the mound, where Hubbell, 36, fell from 66 starts and 48 wins the previous two seasons to just 22 starts and a 13-10 record. He would continue to pitch into 1943, but would never again win more.

Nor did the Giants have much to pick up the slack for Hubbell. Cliff Melton was coming off a 20-9 rookie season, but he slumped to 14-14 and never blossomed into anything more than a filler piece.  Slick Castleman and Harry Gumbert also failed to develop.

Ott delivered his usual season: 36 home runs and a .311 average.  Indeed the Giants led the league in home runs with 125. But their offense was otherwise mediocre. They ranked only fifth in runs per game and fourth in batting average.

The truth was that the Cubs had overtaken New York on the mound. Fueled by a comeback season from Dizzy Dean and strong performances from Bill Lee (22-9, 2.66) and Clay Bryant (19-11, 3.10), Chicago led the league in earned run average at 3.37, a quarter of a run per game better than New York.

For the defending champs, the result was a third place finish five games behind the Cubs and also trailing Pittsburgh. It was also the start of a steeper decline, to fifth in 1939, sixth in 1940 and to last place by 1943. The Giants would not make another World Series appearance until Mays’ arrival in 1951.