In a COVID-19 year of despair, anguish and uncertainty, there is one thing we know to be true. The Los Angeles Dodgers are your 2020 World Series champions, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. For a while, it looked as though the Rays were sticking around in the series, but the Fall Classic favorites pulled away in the end. This victory is even more meaningful for those on the team since 2017, who lost a heartbreaking seven-game series to the trash-can-banging Houston Astros.[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]In this must-win game for Tampa, they struck first, taking a 1-0 lead off of a solo home run by none other than Randy Arozarena, his record-extending 10th dinger this postseason. After this home run, things got quiet on the offensive end for five innings, as Tampa’s Blake Snell, as well as five LA pitchers combined to give up no earned runs over that span.
Speaking of Blake Snell, this guy was absolutely dealing in the biggest game of his career. He had nine strikeouts and gave up no runs on just one hit headed into the sixth. After getting the first out, he allowed a single to Austin Barnes, which prompted manager Kevin Cash to pull him from the game. Knowing he was pitching well and only at an astoundingly efficient 73 pitches, Snell was visibly irate with his coach for not keeping him in. With only one runner on, they were one ground ball away from the end of the inning.
Cash’s decision proved to be a big mistake, as reliever Nick Anderson gave up a double down the line to Mookie Betts, putting runners on second and third. A wild pitch in the dirt scored Barnes from third and moved Betts over, still with one out. Betts, one of the best baserunners in the game, easily scored on a ground ball to first. Anderson got taken out at bat later, but the damage had already been done. A Betts homer later in the game cemented the win, 3-1.
The Rays had no answer for the likes of Dodger pitchers Alex Wood, Dylan Floro, Pedro Baez, Victor Gonzalez, Brusdar Graterol and Julio Urias, only reaching base twice during their combined seven and two thirds innings pitched. While the storyline may be centered on other things, the Dodgers bullpen put the team on their back for this one.
The World Series MVP was Corey Seager, who also earned NLCS MVP honors earlier in the postseason. This is an uncommon double occurrence, yet it happened the last time the Dodgers won the World Series back in 1988 with Orel Hershiser.
One ridiculous fact about the game was the removal of Justin Turner in the eighth inning, due to a positive COVID-19 test that day. Turner had been in the dugouts, next to players, unmasked, for eight innings. If there had been a Game 7, it almost certainly would have been delayed to retest everyone and to let MLB weigh their options. It turns out that they didn’t care too much now that the season is over, since Turner was seen without a mask celebrating after the game with his teammates.