World Series Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers emerge victorious


Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw celebrates his first World Series Championship with great excitement.

Los Angeles and Tampa Bay have dominated the 2020 sports world. The Tampa Bay Lightning stormed to a Stanley Cup Finals victory, concluding the NHL season, and the Los Angeles Lakers emerged victorious in the NBA’s bubble. These two cities continued their success as the Tampa Bay Rays faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series last week. Both the Rays and the Dodgers had outstanding regular seasons, and each finished number 1 in their respective conferences. 

The MLB has made many significant adaptations to their season, including only playing 60 games (102 less than a regular season) and expanding the playoffs from 5 teams in each conference to 8. This brought about worry amongst fans and advocates of baseball that the victor would not be worthy of a championship. This was supported by the fact that the 2019 champions, Washington Nationals, wouldn’t even have made the playoffs if the season was only the first 60 games. However, both 1 seeds making it to the championship wiped away that notion of a team winning who wasn’t deserving of the champion’s title. 

The Dodgers-Rays series started very back and forth. Dodgers won game 1 pretty handily, Rays retaliated in game 2, and the Dodgers came back and won game 3. The Dodgers were also in a prime spot to win game 4, but Brett Phillips of the Tampa Bay Rays would not let that happen. 

The Dodgers were up by 1 with 2 outs in the 9th and Kevin Kiermaier on first. They decided to intentionally walk Randy Arozarena because of how hot he had been with the bat that postseason. This brought up Brett Phillips, the last man on the Rays bench, aside from their backup catcher. However, Phillips delivered. He hit the ball hard into the right field. Chris Taylor went to field it, but it bounced off his glove, allowing Kiermaier to score easily. However, the Rays wanted to win the game right there. Arozarena rounded third but stumbled halfway down the line. The relay throw had him beat. Although the Dodgers catcher, Will Smith, missed the ball, allowing Arozarena to dive into home plate. Phillips won game 4 for the Rays. 

He was just as shocked as the rest of the world saying, “Honestly, it’s just hard to believe right now that that just happened. Once I saw Randy slip, I thought, ‘Oh, shoot, at least we tied it up.’ And then he missed the ball. I didn’t know what happened, and then he scored, and the next thing I know, I’m airplane-ing around the outfield and getting dog-piled.”

While the Rays made a triumphant comeback to emerge victorious in game 4, the Dodgers responded with an emphatic game 5 victory. In game 6, the Rays were up 1-0 in the middle of the sixth inning. Blake Snell was pitching a masterpiece. He had allowed only 2 hits and struck out 9 of the Dodgers batters. However, he was due to face the top of the order for the third time. The Rays manager, Kevin Cash, decided to pull Snell from the game. 

The Rays are a team that relies heavily on analytics, and the data shows that the third time a pitcher faces the batting order, the chances that a batter gets a hit increases. As a result, Cash brought in Nick Anderson. However, this move backfired. Mookie Betts doubled, a run scored on a wild pitch, then an infield single drove in another run to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Dodgers took that lead and never gave it back as they were crowned World Series Champions 3 innings later, winning the game 3-1. 

“I was like, ‘whew, thank you.’ He was rolling. He was pitching a fantastic game. I’m not exactly sure why (he was pulled). I’m not going to ask any questions. I’m just going to be happy that we’re winners,” Mookie told MLB.TV after the game.

This Dodgers championship was long overdue. They had a taste of the spotlight in 2017 but fell short to the Houston Astros in 7 games. They returned to the World Series the following season but lost to the Boston Red Sox. In 2019, they lost to the Washington Nationals, who would go on to win the World Series that year, in the NL Division Round. However, this year they were able to get over the hump. 

Their star-powered lineup featuring Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger harassed pitchers all season long. Their pitching rotation led by Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler was also dominant. Despite the shortened season, it is safe to say that the best team won. With that victory, Los Angeles was able to break the tie with Tampa Bay for the number of championships won this season, making LA the 2020 city of champions.