Olney: How a collective rage is powering the Dodgers

You have to start with this, because it's the ignition switch of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2019 season: They share a collective rage.

Losing the 2017 World Series to the Astros was disappointing, for sure, but it was a baseball rock/paper/scissors, a seven-game coin flip. If Marwin Gonzalez doesn't go oppo off Kenley Jansen in Game 2, if Clayton Kershaw pitches as well in Game 5 as he did in Game 7, then it might have been the Dodgers who dogpiled. Tip of the cap to the Astros; stuff happens.

But last fall's World Series was different. It was a train wreck. After pushing the National League boulder back up the mountain in another summit attempt, the Dodgers faced the Red Sox and got destroyed. Five games, and it wasn't that competitive.

Some on the Boston pitching staff thought that if they worked to the Dodgers' weaknesses, L.A. had no chance because their hitters seemingly couldn't make adjustments. That's exactly how it played out. The Dodgers batted .180 and struck out in 30 percent of their plate appearances, including that final toppling at-bat of Manny Machado as he flailed at a Chris Sale slider.

All of this brought the Dodgers to a crossroads in the offseason. They could be content with their silver medals, change little, and drift onto the same path that had led them to moments when they watched other people celebrate. Or they could dig in, fix swings, effect change and try to find a way to climb on top of the baseball world in 2019 and create an alternative to that Kirk Gibson home run highlight package that's been running at Dodger Stadium for 30 seasons.