By Sean Chase
In front of about 11,000 fans, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series, securing the 2020 Major League Baseball World Series title on Oct. 27, in Arlington, Texas, the seventh in franchise history.
The Dodgers won Tuesday night’s contest by a final score of 3-1, with shortstop, Corey Seager being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2020 World Series. Clinching Los Angeles’ second title this month, as the Lakers won the 2020 National Basketball Association Title on Oct. 11.
“This was just awesome,” said Seager, to reporters after receiving the MVP trophy. “What this team has accomplished this year … the resilience, the effort, the energy, everything that this team’s done this season, it’s just fun to be a part of.”
After Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin gave up a solo home run in the first inning to Randy Arozarena, left fielder for the Rays. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts was quick to utilize his entire pitching staff, with an added rest day on Monday, ensuring that his bullpen arm’s would be ready to go.
Moving on from Gonsolin early paid off, as the Rays didn’t score another run the rest of the game. Pitcher Blake Snell took the hill for the Rays, giving the Dodgers batting order fits through five innings, striking out nine batters. After five and a half innings, the score remained 1-0, when the Dodger bats came to life in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With one out, Dodgers’ catcher, Austin Barnes got on base with a single, after A.J. Pollock popped the first pitch he saw to second. When Rays Manager Kevin Cash made the unpopular decision to take the ball from Snell and handed it to Nick Anderson, as the best Dodger’s batter came to the plate.
“Personally, I felt Blake had done his job and then some, (with) Mookie coming around for the third time,” said Cash to reporters postgame. “I totally respect and understand the questions that come with it. Blake gave us every opportunity to win, he was outstanding, they’re not easy decisions.”
Into the batter’s box stepped Betts, who the Dodgers traded with the Boston Red Sox to acquire at the beginning of the season, and he smoked a pitch down the left field line that bounced around allowing him to reach second base. With a runner on second and third, Anderson threw a pitch in the dirt that got past the catcher, allowing Betts to reach third base and Barnes to cross the plate, tying the game at 1-1.
After the wild pitch, Seager stepped back into the box and hit a soft ground ball to the bag at first base, that allowed Betts to slide under the tag at home plate, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the night.
Things settled down after that until the eighth inning when Betts came back up to the plate, with no runners on base. Rays pitcher Peter Fairbanks hung a pitch over the heart of the plate that Betts took for a ride over the left-centerfield fence, to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.
Julio Urias, Dodgers closing pitcher, was brought out of the bullpen in the seventh inning to shut the door on the Rays title hopes. He did just that, going hitless through two innings and striking out four batters, getting the save.
The Dodgers came into the playoffs with the best record in baseball and continued to dominate the competition throughout, in a season that saw COVID-19 force MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, to shorten the schedule down from 180 games to 60 games.
Complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, forced a number of teams to shut down throughout the season. To combat this, Manfred decided to set up multiple neutral site bubbles to host the playoff matchups. Texas and California were the only states selected to host games, with the World Series contest being held in Arlington, Texas.
“The elimination of travel is obviously a positive because it cuts exposure,” Manfred said to The Associated Press in September. “Less interaction outside with the group that you’re looking to protect is a huge positive. It’s all about what the risk of interacting with the community is.”
Despite extremely low ratings in television viewers for a World Series, it appeared that the bubble was a success until the eighth inning of Game 6, when the Dodgers pulled third baseman Justin Turner, after his most recent COVID-19 test came back positive for the virus.
“Thanks to everyone reaching out,” said Turner on Twitter after he was removed from the game. “I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys!”
When the team picture was taken on the field, however, Turner was sitting in the front row briefly wearing a mask within arms reach of his teammates. As of now, no other players or staff involved in the World Series have been reported to test positive for the virus.