2020 World Series Ends with First Dodgers Title in 32 Years
The 2020 MLB season wrapped up last night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, and the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first title in 32 years. It was a win for all Dodger fans to savor, especially longtime radio voice Vin Scully.
When people look back at the sixth and deciding game that was played between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, there will be two major storylines that never go away. The first involves the managerial move by Kevin Cash to remove starting pitcher Blake Snell from the final game during the sixth inning. The other being the positive COVID test from Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, who left the game during the eighth inning but returned to the field to celebrate with teammates.
With the Dodgers leading the series three games to two last night, Snell was asked to go out and keep the Rays season alive. Through five scoreless innings, he had nine strikeouts and had allowed only one baserunner. After Snell allowed a one out single to Austin Barnes, Cash decided that it was time to go to the bullpen and bring in Nick Anderson. Here was Snell's reaction when he was being taken out by his Rays manager.
Of course it is easy to guess what happened next. Mookie Betts doubled to left which advanced Barnes to third. Anderson throws a wild pitch which allowed Barnes to score the tying run and advance Betts to third. Then, Corey Seager reached first on a fielder's choice which scored Betts and gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. That was all they needed as they tacked on an insurance run in the 8th to win the game 3-1.
After it was all over, Cash defended his decision to yank his ace after just 73 pitches.
The idea that a manager is afraid of letting his starting pitcher go through an opposing team's lineup for the third time in a game based on past experiences is a sign of the new times. Gone is a manager's "feel" for a how a game is transpiring and it has now been replaced by advanced analytics and sabermetrics. Although respected baseball writers like Joe Sheehan will defend Cash's decision to remove Snell based on how he handled his pitching staff all season, he seems to have forgotten how Cash allowed Tyler Glasnow to stay in the game and rack up a career high 112 pitches and six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings in their game one loss to the Dodgers. Cash is not alone. Many of baseball's current managers and front office executives operate their team the same way. The game has changed in a big way and last night, it might have cost the Rays an opportunity to extend the series to a seventh game tonight.
The other major storyline broke after the final out of last night's Dodgers win. LA third baseman Justin Turner, who many consider the face of the team, was removed in the top of the 9th inning after MLB learned that he had tested positive for COVID. However, he returned to the field after the final out to celebrate with his team and he even removed his mask to pose for pictures with teammates and the World Series trophy.
Turner himself even took to Twitter to address late last night to address the situation.
This story is not near over yet, since other Dodgers players and staff were in direct contact with their third baseman since his positive COVID test result last night. It remains to be seen how many other players and Dodgers personnel will test positive over the next week or two.
MLB dodged a bullet here too, since they would have most likely had to postpone a Game 7 had the Rays won the game last night. Regardless, the Dodgers deserve a ton of credit for breaking their 32-year drought with what some call their best team ever. Although Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, or even Julio Urias could all have been named the Series Most Valuable Player, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager should be remembered for his MVP performance. Meanwhile, the 2020 MLB season will have plenty of footnotes in baseball's history books.