Enough about 1988! For the first time in 32 years, the Dodgers have won the World Series. The seventh title in franchise history. The most tumultuous year of the century in which many didn’t know what was in store, with baseball as an afterthought. No one knew if a Major League season would even take place. But baseball eventually got up and dusted itself off, and in the end, one team was standing—the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tuesday night showed why Clayton Kershaw is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and why he will have a plaque in Cooperstown one day. It also showed every bit of reason why the Dodgers signed Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. In an almost-perfect evening, the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series.
A three-run homer in the top of the sixth by Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith off of Atlanta lefty reliever Will Smith sparked a 7-3 Dodger win and kept the Los Angeles season alive, forcing a Game 6 in the NLCS.
The Dodgers offense finally showed signs of life, but it wasn’t quite enough on Tuesday as Los Angeles dropped Game 2 in the National League Championship Series by a score of 8-7. The Dodgers would come up within 90 feet of tying the game, but A.J. Pollock grounded out to third to end the game.
Tuesday night will mark the beginning of the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. This series will mark the first time the two National League West teams have met each other in the playoffs. They could possibly play five straight days if the series goes the full distance. If that occurred, they would play every day from Tuesday until Saturday.
The Dodgers swept the Brewers 2-0 in a best two-out-of-three Wild Card series. Manager Dave Roberts and his ballclub moved onto the Division Series with relative ease. There wasn’t really wasn’t any point where the Dodgers didn’t look in control. The bullpen pitched a scoreless six innings in the first game and got nice help from Clayton Kershaw in the second game. Kershaw looked like every bit of his three-time Cy Young award-winning self, pitching a scoreless eight innings alongside an insane 13 strikeouts.
In what was certainly an exclamation point to an outstanding regular season, the Dodgers defeated the Angels 3-0 on Sunday as the final tuneup to the 2020 playoffs. The victory also secured the team’s sixth series sweep of the season.
Here we are entering the final regular-season series of the year against the Angels. The Dodgers have clinched “home field advantage” throughout the National League playoffs. This season, home field doesn’t directly come to play, but the fact that the Dodgers have a better road record should bode well for the team looking ahead, regardless.
After the Dodgers lead dwindled down to 1.5 games at the beginning of the week, it is now back up to a full four games. The magic number for an eighth consecutive National League West Division title is down to five with only nine games to play. On Wednesday, the Dodgers became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. The season has breezed by as we all expected a 60-game season to be. As we enter the final week of the season, it would have been exciting to watch this Dodger team over a full 162-game season. But, at least the front office secured Mookie Betts for the next dozen years, which I’d believe 99 percent of Dodger fans would be content with.
To the shock of many Dodger fans, Ross Stripling, a fan favorite, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the August 31st deadline. The deal wasn’t announced until nearly an hour after the deadline. In return, the Dodgers received the 11th ranked prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, right-handed pitcher Kendall Williams. Getting Williams is a nice return, but he can’t help the current ballclub, who is in win-now mode, especially as the postseason approaches. While Stripling was struggling at times, he could have provided support down the stretch in case of an emergency.