It was the bottom of the 6th inning in the 2020 World Series. The Dodgers were looking to close out a championship as it was Game 6 and they were up in the series 3-2 against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays were leading 1-0 against LA, and Tampa’s starting pitcher, Blake Snell, was pitching as great of a game as oneany could ask for; up until this point, Snell had only allowed for one hit, with nine strikeouts and no runs scored against him. Up at bat, LA’s catcher, Austin Barnes, singled to center field for Snell’s second hit of the game. It would be Snell’s last pitch of the night, as Tampa’s manager, Kevin Cash, signaled to the Rays’ bullpen, calling in one of their relieving pitchers. Following the questionable call to pull Snell out of the game, the Dodgers scored two runs in the sixth inning, and hung on to win Game 6 with a final score of 3-1.
Many Tampa fans feel that Cash’s decision to pull Snell cost them the championship. In addition to the Snell controversy in Game 6, there have been some concerns involving one of the Dodgers’ players being allowed to celebrate with the team after supposedly testing positive for COVID-19. LA shortstop Justin Turner was informed during the second inning that he had tested positive for the virus. He was pulled out of the game, but was seen celebrating with the team and even holding the World Series trophy with his Dodger teammates. MLB has stated that they are looking further into this situation and the possibility of whether or not Turner’s test was a false positive.
The Dodgers have been a league powerhouse from 2013 through this past season. The team won their division and made playoffs for eight straight years, two of which include back-to-back World Series losses: one to the Houston Astros in 2017, and the other to the Boston Red Sox in 2018. Their most recent opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays, have been up and down in their performance over the past few seasons. Their franchise has yet to win a World Series with their last appearance in the Fall Classic back in 2008, during which they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1. The team made the playoffs a few times in the 2010s, but never made it past the divisional round. This year, both teams were the number one seed in their respective leagues (Rays in the American League and Dodgers in the National League). In a shortened, sixty game MLB season due to COVID-19, the Dodgers posted an impressive 43-17 record, with the Rays not far behind, at 40-20.
What really separated the Dodgers from the rest of the league this past year was signing one of the biggest free agents of 2019: Mookie Betts. Betts, a former Boston Red Sox outfielder and 2018 American League MVP, has always made huge plays on and off the plate. Most notably, Betts’ “home-run robberies” have saved many runs scored against his teams, and serve as a great highlight reel. However, it was the Dodgers’ shortstop, Corey Seager, who truly played lights out in the series, winning him the 2020 World Series MVP title. Seager had a .400 batting average, drove in five runs, scored seven times, and hit two home runs during the series. If the Rays had won, the World Series MVP title would presumably have gone to outfielder Randy Arozarena, who continued his hot streak at the plate after winning the American League Championship Series MVP against the Houston Astros. Collecting eight hits, four runs batted in, and three home runs, the second-year pro found a way to keep the series against the Dodgers a close fought battle.
If the Dodgers keep their high calibre talent from this season, they have a great chance at making another postseason run next year. The 2021 season is expected to start in late March or early April, and the League plans to play out the typical 162-game season if Covid-19 is no longer a worry.