Los Angeles Dodgers win seventh World Series title

Jude Papillion, Associate Sports Editor

Thirty-two years after Kirk Gibson hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run in game one to set the tone of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 1988 World Series championship against the heavily favored Oakland Athletics, the Dodgers brought another title back to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Dodgers won their seventh World Series title Oct. 27 against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Dodgers defeated the Rays 3-1 in game six.

Los Angeles, making their third World Series appearance in four years, fell to the Houston Astros in 2017 in a highly controversial series in which Mike Fiers, a former Astros pitcher, reported that the Astros developed a system that used cameras to film the opposing catcher’s signs from center field and then hit trash cans near the dugout a designated number of times to let their batter know what pitch to expect. The Dodgers were also defeated in the 2018 World Series by the Boston Red Sox in five games. The Rays last competed in the World Series in 2008, falling to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.

The World Series was held inside of Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. While no fans were allowed to attend any of the 898 regular-season games in 2020, 11,500 fans were allowed to attend the World Series.

The Dodgers dominated the Rays in game one of the World Series, led by future-Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw who only allowed two hits and one walk in over six innings while striking out eight batters. The Dodgers got on the board first with a two-run home run from Cody Bellinger off of a Tyler Glasnow pitch in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Rays’ center fielder Kevin Kiermaier hit a home run; however, the Dodgers scored four more times, taking a 6-1 lead. The final two runs came from a Mookie Betts leadoff home run and back-to-back doubles from Justin Turner and Max Muncy in the sixth. The Rays scored twice more, but it was not enough as the Dodgers took game one in an 8-3 victory.

Tampa Bay struck back in game two, defeating Los Angeles 6-4. The Rays scored a run in the first, two in the fourth, and two in the fifth before their pitcher, Blake Snell, let up allowing Chris Taylor of the Dodgers to hit a 2-run home run. The Rays’ first baseman Ji-Man Choi scored in the sixth and Will Smith and Corey Seager of the Dodgers hit home runs in the sixth and eighth innings, but it was not enough to get the win.

Dodgers’ pitcher Walker Buehler was the star of the Dodgers’ 6-2 win in game three, with one run allowed on three hits and 10 strikeouts in a phenomenal six innings. The Dodgers hit two home runs and scored four more runs, while the Rays scored once in the fifth and did not score again until a late Randy Arozarena solo home run off Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth.

The Dodgers fell in game four in one of the craziest wins in World Series history. Going into the bottom of the ninth the Dodgers led the Rays 7-6. With two outs remaining, Rays outfielder Brett Phillips hit a single and Dodgers’ outfielder Taylor committed an error allowing Kiermaier to score. However, Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith dropped Taylor’s pass at home, committing an error and allowing Arozarena to score the game winning run.

Kershaw again led the Dodgers to victory in game five. In the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where Kershaw was born and raised, he threw his 206th postseason strikeout, passing Justin Verlander of the Astros for the most strikeouts in postseason history. In the fourth inning, Kershaw threw-out Manuel Margot, who nearly stole home plate for the first time in the World Series since Jackie Robinson did it in the Dodgers’ 1955 championship. The Dodgers went on to win 4-2, putting Los Angeles one win away from a title.

 The Rays led game six through the top of the sixth thanks to another Arozarena home run in the first inning and a stellar performance from Snell. Nick Anderson controversially took Snell’s place in the bottom of the sixth and on his fifth pitch of the inning, he threw a wild pitch allowing Dodgers’ catcher Austin Barnes to score. Betts scored on the next pitch off of a fielder’s choice hit by Seager. Betts hit another home run into centerfield in the bottom of the eighth and Dodgers’ pitcher Julio Urías, who was signed by the club in 2012 when he was only sixteen, closed the World Series with seven up and seven down.

The Dodgers’ third baseman Turner was pulled from game six in the eighth inning by manager Dave Roberts after Turner tested positive for COVID-19 mid-game. While Turner missed Urías’ game-winning strikeout of Willy Adames to win the championship and the first moments of the subsequent celebration, Turner left isolation and was seen on the field celebrating with the rest of his teammates and their families postgame.

 

Seager was named Most Valuable Player of the World Series. In addition to his grounder in the sixth of game six that allowed Betts to score the go-ahead run, Seager also batted .400, hit two home runs, collected five RBIs and six walks.

Tulane alumnus Andrew Friedman has served as the Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations since 2014. Friedman is credited with building the Dodgers’ star-studded lineup, including the 12-year, $365-million contract that acquired Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox. Prior to serving in the Dodgers’ front office, Friedman served as executive vice president of baseball operations with the Rays from 2005-2014. Ex-Ray Carlos Pena said “Andrew Friedman was the one who set this locomotive in motion. So, in a sense, he is facing the monster he created. That’s an awesome story line.”