For the first time since 1988 and seventh time in franchise history, the Los Angeles Dodgers are World Series champions after beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-1, in game six. It was a collective effort as the offense came from behind to score three runs and the pitching staff refused to allow a run after the first inning.
After returning to the World Series for the third time in four years, the Dodgers were looking for a chance at redemption after having lost to the Houston Astros in 2017 and the Boston Red Sox in 2018. However, after both World Series championships, there was an investigation of a cheating scandal committed by both organizations, which left Dodgers fans feeling cheated out of a championship title.
The Rays, on the other hand, were riding a stellar regular season and hard-fought victories in the previous series, as they swept the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, beat the New York Yankees in five games and took the Astros to seven games for the American League pennant. Emerging superstar Randy Arozarena set multiple records for hits, total bases and home runs in a single postseason, hits by a rookie, as well as most career postseason home runs and hits by a Rays player — all in one postseason.
Los Angeles took game one with the offense exploding for 10 hits. Tampa Bay bounced back in Game 2 by getting 10 hits themselves and tying the series at one game each. The third and fourth games were more of the same as Los Angeles won Game Three and Tampa Bay tied the series yet again after a dramatic walk off by Brett Phillips.
After, it was all Dodgers as the offense continued to give their pitchers a lead, and their pitching staff was able to shut down a solid Rays lineup. In the fifth and sixth games, Los Angeles scored a total of seven runs and limited the Rays to just three runs combined.
Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner and pitcher Dylan Floro are the second CSUF alumni in a row to be World Series champions after Kurt Suzuki and the Washington Nationals hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2019. Additionally, Turner and pitchers Walker Buehler and Josh Sborz were added to the short list of players to win both a College World Series and an MLB World Series.
Turner and Floro played important roles in the success of the Dodgers. After a shaky start by Tony Gonsolin in Game Six, Floro came in at the second inning with runners on first and second with two outs. He was faced with the daunting task of getting Arozarena out, the Rays best hitter. He managed to strike him out to end the inning and ended the Rays chance to add to their one-run lead.
Similarly, Turner was instrumental in offensive success. In Game Three, the Dodgers were facing a tough match-up against Charlie Morton, who previously had two scoreless starts against the Astros in the previous series. In the first inning, Turner gave Los Angeles the lead with a solo homerun that put the pressure on Morton, who gave up five runs in 4.1 innings of the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory, giving Los Angeles the 2-1 series lead.
Turner was taken out of the game in the eighth inning and it wasn’t until the end of the game that it was revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to leave the game. Although it was brief, Turner was still able to celebrate with his team in the locker room post-celebration.
Despite the fact that very few fans were allowed to watch the series in person, it will no doubt be a sold-out crowd when the team receives their rings and celebrates their new championship on Opening Day next year.