The Dodgers have won the World Series for the first time in 32 years. How did they finally clear the hurdle, and how should their opposition feel about their loss?
Wow. After years of frustration, years that can especially be showcased throughout the previous decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers can once again call themselves champions of baseball.
It didn’t come without tribulations and challenges. Being down to the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLCS. Blowing Game 4 of the World Series in the bottom of the ninth by committing two costly fielding errors. And, of course, the pandemic – one that left the season in doubt and forced particular circumstances that the league had never witnessed before.
Through all of it, the Dodgers consistently proved to be the best team in baseball, and nearly all would agree that title is well deserved. Nevertheless, how should the Dodgers feel about this wild journey of ups and downs to become champions? How should the other clubhouse in the Tampa Bay Rays feel after losing a series they were never expected to make?
Dodgers: Destiny answered her call – Reid
The Los Angeles Dodgers won their first World Series title since 1988 this past Tuesday. It’s been a long road for Dodger fans as they have been through heartbreak too many times, especially in the last decade.
Logically, it makes complete sense that this was the year they finally broke through with a global pandemic-threatened and shortened MLB season. A year where Clayton Kershaw and many other Dodgers, including manager Dave Roberts, were written off due to their recent playoff experiences. A year that the Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts, placing three former MVPs on their roster. A year of tragedy with the passing of Kobe Bryant. It was a year that seemed to be destined; everything added up.
Betts was the final piece Los Angeles needed to get over the hump. It surely helped, however, that the Dodgers had a somewhat revamped bullpen with arms like Brusdar Graterol and Blake Treinen. But the difference this year mostly came from Betts.
I don’t think anyone has a doubt who the best all-around player in the World Series was. From utilizing his speed to take extra bases and score from third on ground balls (twice) to hitting home runs in crucial situations, Mookie simply did it all. Safe to say the Dodgers are feeling pretty content with the 12-year contract they gave him during the season. He already helped deliver a championship in year one, what is stopping anyone from assuming this is the start of a dynasty?
Despite the trade for Betts, this Dodgers team was completely created from within. With staples like Clayton Kershaw, World Series MVP Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, it’s no secret the Dodgers have an eye for talent.
Their payroll certainly helped this team stay together, but you have to give credit to the Dodgers for creating one of the most talented baseball teams ever assembled. In my opinion, it’s the most talented Dodgers team in the franchise’s 137-year history, which says a lot.
Not too often do you see three former MVPs on one team. And if you do, usually one or two of them are beyond their prime. Not the case for the Dodgers. Kershaw at age 32 certainly isn’t in his prime anymore, but he delivered some big performances throughout this postseason. Betts and Bellinger, on the other hand, are just two seasons removed from earning the prestigious award.
As a baseball fan, the Dodgers winning the World Series this year simply made sense.
Kershaw winning his first title in the year 2020 made sense. The lefty was going to go down as one of the greatest pitchers of all time regardless of if he ever won a championship. How could you not be happy that he finally added that hardware to his arsenal? The future Hall-of-Famer deserved this moment.
Through it all, you can ask anyone within the organization and they will say having this moment of victory, on truly the weirdest World Series stage the game had ever seen, was worth all the previous heartbreak. It just feels right to finally say it, the Los Angeles Dodgers are your 2020 World Series Champions.
Rays: We have talent, but let’s keep building – Jordan
Blake Snell made two mistakes in Game 6: two hanging sliders to Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes. Those resulted in two singles, Taylor eventually being stranded on base and Barnes seemingly forcing Snell out of the ballgame.
But Barnes’ hit occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out. Snell was only at 73 pitches. He had acquired nine strikeouts so far. When not making a mistake, Snell was simply outmatching Los Angeles’ hitters. Yet, manager Kevin Cash inexcusably called on his bullpen after the single.
This decision will haunt the Rays and fans of their organization for years and years to come. The rhetorical questions will always remain “could Morton have been Astro-caliber Morton if he pitched in Game 7? Could we have won this thing?” Even for fans who love and admire Cash, which most Ray fans do, there is no angle that makes the decision look feasible.
Mookie Betts, who was supposed to be Snell’s next batter, had struggled against left-handed pitching all year, hitting .208 off of them. The pitch count was clearly low despite injuries Snell faced over the season. And if Cash was potentially thinking of a Snell appearance in a potential Game 7, why? In a must-win game, there is no room for such thinking. It’s do or die.
Nick Anderson comes into the game, Mookie hits a double and advances Barnes to third. A wild pitch brings in Barnes, and Betts follows suit and scores with a groundball out. It was all Dodgers from there.
While an inexcusable decision, no matter how you look at these teams it was no question who the better one was throughout this series.
The Dodgers throughout the postseason saw a home run hit from every defensive position. Their hitting with two outs was beyond exceptional, scoring 59 runs under those stipulations throughout the postseason. Their bullpen is constructed around some of the best young arms in the game such as Julio Urias and Brusdar Graterol. And at the heart of their rotation is Clayton Kershaw, who after continuous playoff struggles is finally a world champion.
What did the Rays have in this series? Snell, who in Game 2 and 6 acquired 18 strikeouts in 10 IP. Randy Arozarena, who had by far the greatest postseason of any Ray in franchise history. And two errors by the Dodgers. These three factors were the only reason Tampa brought this series to six; they were outmatched in every single facet of the game.
But, let’s make this clear, there is no shame in that. The Rays conquered their division-rival Yankees and the reigning AL pennant winners in the Astros to make it this far. They are a roster built on youth, grit and chemistry, and certainly general manager Erik Neander sees such a bright future with his club.
Despite a devastating Game 6 loss, Tampa will not lose hope in what they are building. Just maybe, though, this feeling will make Neander and Cash more aggressive during the offseason. With the AL holding the reputation of being the power-hitting league, the Rays will need to add more strength in their lineup to keep up and mimic, or even surpass, this year’s success. Complacency is not an option for Tampa heading into 2021.