Party Like It’s 1988: Dodgers capture first World Series in 32 years
The city of Los Angeles is partying like it’s 1988.
After going six games with the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been crowned world champions.
It marks the first championship for the franchise since 1988. In addition, it marks the first time both the Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers won titles in the same year since 1988 also.
By capturing the Commissioner’s Trophy for their seventh time, Los Angeles ended its longest drought in team history.
The win also brings an end to the pain the team had to endure losing in the World Series in 2017 and 2018.
Los Angeles’ road to victory was paved by victories in games one, three, five and six while dropping games two and four to Tampa Bay.
Four of the six games were decided by two runs or less.
In game four, the Dodgers held a 7-6 lead with two-out with a runner on with long-time closer, Kenley Jansen on the mound.
A bloop hit and two errors later, the Rays were walking it off heading to the locker room with the series tied 2-2.
Los Angeles recovered to win back-to-back games to close the series.
The Dodgers had two players with .400 averages in shortstop Corey Seager and outfielder Joc Pederson.
Seager was named the Most Valuable Player of the series after leading the team with eight hits, a .556 on-base percentage and being tied for first with two home runs.
He was also named the MVP of the National League Championship Series as well.
Outfielder Mookie Betts won his second time in three years with his second team becoming the first to win an MVP and World Series with two teams before the age of 30.
Betts batted .296 this postseason with eight doubles and eight runs batted in. His two home runs were both hit in the World Series.
He also flashed some great glove work in the outfield along with fellow outfielder Cody Bellinger.
Bellinger also added a ring to a trophy case that included a Rookie of the Year award, MVP award, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award.
The two-time all-star batted .212 this postseason with four home runs.
Third baseman Justin Turner finally captured an elusive championship in his 12th season.
The 35-year-old Long Beach native, has spent the last seven years with the Dodgers, becoming the team’s all-time leader in postseason hits this October.
He batted .250 with three home runs, six RBI and 15 runs scored on 17 hits while playing every game for Los Angeles.
In the seventh inning of the series-clinching game, Turner was removed from the game due to a positive COVID test.
He was later allowed to join his team on the field for the championship celebration with a mask on.
The World Series win brought an end to much more than just the Dodgers string of shortcomings.
It also marks the end of questioning when one of the game’s all-time great pitchers will ever get a ring because the answer is now.
The 32-year-old Dallas, Texas native Clayton Kershaw has been with the Dodgers since 2008 and had a trophy shelf that included almost everything except for a championship ring.
Kershaw is an MVP award winner, three-time Cy Young award winner, a Triple Crown winner, an eight-time all-star, a gold glover and the league leader in earned run average five times.
Prior to the start of the 2020 postseason, Kershaw had a 9-11 record with an ERA of over 3.50.
In the 2020 postseason, he was dominant going 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA with 37 strikeouts to just five walks.
His record includes going 2-0 in the World Series.
During his championship stretch, he became the league’s all-time leader in postseason strikeouts.
The aforementioned Jansen has a similar story to Kershaw considering many believed he was only missing championship hardware to his Hall-of-Fame resume.
Los Angeles’ all-time leader in saves (312) and games (632), the 33-year-old Jansen has been a Dodger-staple since 2010.
The closest Dodgers to his records are closer Eric Gagne’s 161 saves and Don Sutton’s 550 games.
Earlier this season, Jansen lost his closer role but remained an integral part of the bullpen.
In two games played this postseason, Jansen posted an ERA of 10.80.
The shining bright spot for the Dodgers came in the form of young pitcher Julio Urias whose transformation to shutdown reliever helped deliver Los Angeles it’s first baseball title in three decades.
Urias became the first Mexican-born pitcher to save the deciding game of the World Series, getting the last seven outs of the game including four strikeouts.
In game seven of the NLCS, he went three full innings allowing no hits against the Atlanta Braves.
This postseason, Urias played in six games (starting two) striking out 29 batters in 23 innings of work while only walking four.
He also allowed four runs (three earned) on 11 hits.
In the World Series, Urias had a 2.57 ERA and the series-clinching save notching 13 strikeouts in only seven innings pitched.
At the conclusion of the playoffs, Urias finished with a 4-0 record and 1.17 ERA.
It is also the first title as a manager for Dave Roberts who won one as a player with the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
Roberts becomes the 28th manager with titles as a player and as a skipper in the dugout.
Having reached three World Series in four seasons, Roberts was expected to be on the hot seat had the Dodgers not won it all.