Los Angeles Dodgers have finally won their World Series, the first for the franchise since 1988 and the first in three tries for them over the past four years.
The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 by 3-1 on Tuesday night at the Globe Life Field as Mookie Betts hit a double and a home run and scored twice to help the storied franchise end its 32 years of drought.
“I was traded for for this reason,” Betts said. “I’m proud of myself and proud of the guys for accomplishing it.”
The superstar right fielder added a special dynamism and confidence to a lineup that was already stacked with stars such as Seager, Cody Bellinger and Turner, the third baseman that the Mets gave up on before he went on to become one of the most dangerous hitters in the Dodgers’ postseason history.
Corey Seager achieved a rare October double, becoming the Most Valuable Player of the World Series after earning the honor for the National League Championship Series — just as Orel Hershiser did when the Dodgers won their previous World Series title in 1988.
“That’s things you think about when you’re a kid,” Seager said of being called World Series champion. “You wonder what it’s like, you strive to hear that, and to do it with this team and this group — it couldn’t be any more special.”
For the series, he batted .400 while hitting two home runs and recording four RBIs.
And for the entire postseason, Seager recorded eight home runs and 20 RBIs in what was one of the most dominant playoff runs in MLB playoff history.
The finals series went back and forth throughout the five games, but in the sixth, the Dodgers proved their superiority and their resilience, as they rallied despite falling behind in the first inning.
They scraped together two runs in the sixth inning to take the lead after Rays Manager Kevin Cash made a pitching change that will be debated for years.
Tampa Bay’s starter Blake Snell was dominating the Dodgers and led, 1-0, after five innings. He recorded the first out in the sixth, but after he gave up a single to the No. 9 batter, Austin Barnes, on his 73rd pitch, Cash bounced out of the dugout and removed Snell in favor of Nick Anderson.
Snell’s body language suggested he could not believe he was coming out, but Cash already finalized his decision. He said he was concerned about the Dodgers catching up to Snell in their third at-bats against him, even though Snell had struck out Betts, Corey Seager and Turner twice each.
Rays manager Cash was asked if he regretted the move, he said, “Yeah I guess I regret it because it didn’t work out. But the thought process was right.”
The results were not. When Betts saw Snell leave, he looked at Roberts in the dugout and gave him a little smile.
“We were all just kind of excited that Snell was out of the game,” Roberts said.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts did what his seven predecessors — including Joe Torre and Don Mattingly — failed to do: bring a championship to long-starved Dodgers fans. Roberts joins Hall of Famers Walter Alston and Tom Lasorda as the only managers to do so.
An emotional Roberts shared hugs with his players after the final out.
“This is our year!” Roberts shouted, drawing huge cheers from about 11,000 fans around.
He has taken the Dodgers to the playoffs in each of his five seasons, but they never reached their ultimate goal, and Roberts endured his share of criticism along the way.
After closing out the Rays, Roberts thanked two people who weren’t in Texas: former pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and pitcher Ross Stripling, who was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in late August.
Roberts also singled out Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen, who struggled this season.
“For guys like Clayton, I couldn’t be happier for you, Kersh. Couldn’t be happier,” Roberts said. “You want to talk about a narrative? How about being a champion? He’s a champion forever.”
Kershaw was equally happy for Roberts.
“It’s not easy to be manager,” the pitcher said. “There are so many behind-the-scenes people who put us in position to succeed, and he’s at the top of that food chain.”
Kershaw became only the third starting pitcher to earn two wins and strike out at least one-third of the batters he faced in a single World Series, joining Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.
He is the first pitcher to do so on a winning team and not win World Series MVP.
“I’ve been saying, ‘World Series champs,’ in my head, over and over again, just to see if it will sink in,” Kershaw said. “I’m just so very thankful to be a part of this group of guys, and so very thankful that we get to be on the team that is bringing back a World Series to the Dodgers fans after 32 years. They’ve waited a long time, and to get to do that … you couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s incredible.”