On the evening of Oct. 15, the Los Angeles Dodgers trailed the Atlanta Braves by a 3-1 margin in the NLCS, leaving many to lament the likelihood that baseball’s best team could again fall short of a World Series crown. After three straight wins to upend the Braves and three wins in five chances against the Tampa Bay Rays, Mookie Betts and the Dodgers entered Tuesday’s Game 6 with the chance to win the title for the first time since 1988.
While it wasn’t a dominant, wire-to-wire victory, the Dodgers benefitted from a controversial managerial decision and, with the help of Betts, Julio Urias, and others, Dave Roberts’ team picked up a 3-1 win to bring the championship back to Los Angeles.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 28, 2020
The evening actually began in positive fashion for the Rays, with Randy Arozarena hitting his third home run of the World Series and tenth home run of the postseason to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
From there, the Rays were in strong position, with Blake Snell dominating on the mound. That continued until Snell allowed a 1-out single to Austin Barnes in the bottom of the sixth inning, prompting the decision that will be remembered in Tampa Bay for a long time.
Though Snell had thrown only 73 pitches on the way to nine strikeouts and 5.1 scoreless innings, Rays manager Kevin Cash elected to go to the bullpen and inserted Nick Anderson. While Tampa Bay excelled with similar tactics throughout the 2020 season, namely in avoiding starting pitchers facing the opposition for a third time through the order, the decision came back to bite Cash in short order.
Anderson, who has struggled during the playoffs after a fantastic showing in the regular season, promptly allowed a double to Betts, putting a pair of runners in scoring position. Then, he uncorked a wild pitch to allow the Dodgers to tie the game and, seconds later, Betts crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2020
The Dodgers would never trail again, though Betts did his best to ensure that with an insurance run that gave the favorites more breathing room.
— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2020
Finally, Julio Urias capped off the win with 2.1 perfect innings, striking out four batters and mowing down the Rays lineup. As such, Tampa Bay never threatened in terms of a comeback bid, and the Dodgers emerged victorious.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 28, 2020
Later, the story turned to a positive COVID-19 test for Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and many questions about how the situation was handled, with Turner removed from action during the game itself. Still, the celebration continued for the Dodgers and, with a managerial choice that will linger in the minds of neutral observers and star power carrying the day for Los Angeles, the team with the best roster ultimately won the 2020 World Series to cap off a bizarre baseball season.