Los Angeles is once again “Title Town,” as the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win their first World Series title since 1988.
The first inning did not provide reassurance that this would be the Dodgers’ night. SP Tony Gonsolin struggled and allowed a solo home run to LF Randy Arozarena, giving Tampa a very early 1-0 lead.
Rays SP Blake Snell came out firing on all cylinders in the bottom of the first and struck out RF Mookie Betts, SS Corey Seager and 3B Justin Turner in order to put the ball back in Gonsolin’s glove.
Gonsolin allowed another hit and walk before being pulled after only 1.2 innings in favor of RHP Dylan Floro, who closed the inning and kept the game within one run.
Snell continued to give the Dodgers all kinds of problems until the sixth inning when Rays Manager Kevin Cash made the very questionable and controversial decision to pull Snell after just 5.1 innings. Up to his departure, Snell allowed only 2 hits, no walks and 9 strikeouts. Snell was removed for RHP Nick Anderson, who struggled this postseason by allowing 9 earned runs in 14.2 innings.
Anderson couldn’t overcome his October woes and immediately allowed a double to Betts, which advanced Barnes, who singled off Snell earlier in the inning, to third. Barnes subsequently scored on a wild pitch, tying the game at one and moving Betts to third.
Seager was up next and hit a grounder to the Rays 1B Ji-Man Choi, who immediately fired the ball to C Mike Zunino to try and make a play to get Betts out at home plate. Betts beat the throw home to give the Dodgers the lead and Seager was safe at first on the fielders choice.
Anderson was pulled in the same inning, and I’m sure Rays fans everywhere were looking around trying to figure out what happened. He was replaced by LHP Aaron Loup, who stopped the bleeding and closed out the bottom of the sixth.
With a 2-1 lead, Los Angeles played with the momentum on their side. The Rays offense had been non-existent since Arozarena’s home run in the first inning, while the Dodgers had only been gaining steam as each inning ended.
In the eighth, the Dodgers got their insurance run when Betts led off the inning with a home run off RHP Peter Fairbanks, making it a two-run game.
LHP Julio Urías entered the game with two outs in the seventh and continued to assert his dominance this postseason by striking out PH/1B Yandy Díaz to end the inning. Urías came back out for the eighth and promptly retired Arozarena, DH Hunter Renfroe and 2B Brandon Lowe in order.
LA Manager Dave Roberts made the decision to keep Urías in for the ninth to bring it all home. RF Manuel Margot flew out to right and PH Michael Brosseau struck out swinging, leaving the hopes of the Rays’ season in the hands of SS Willy Adames. Urías struck him out in just three pitches, ending the game and winning Los Angeles’ first World Series title in over three decades.
Corey Seager was crowned this year’s World Series MVP with a .400/.538/.700 slashline, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 5 runs scored and 1 stolen based throughout the World Series. While Seager was a strong choice, the contribution of Betts in this series and the postseason in general cannot be overstated.
On the other side of the box score, Tampa Bay had some outstanding performances led by Arozarena, who became the first player ever to hit double digit home runs in a postseason. Lowe, Snell and Margot also had successful postseasons, and who could forget the Rays Game 4 walk-off victory when RF Brett Phillips hit a single that started one of the strangest plays we’ll ever see.
It may have taken eight straight NL West titles and three trips to the World Series to do it, but the Dodgers have finally found a way to climb back to the top of the baseball world.
Betts: 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI
Urías (S): 2.1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 0 H, 0 BB
Snell: 5.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 9 K, 2 H, 0 BB
Arozarena: 2-4, HR, RBI, R
Hey, my name is Max Perez, I am a contributing writer for The Bullpen and a senior at California State University, Long Beach. Since beginning my education I have been dedicated to sports journalism, working for two different student publication and covering as many sports as possible, and hope to continue that journey here.