If you were to ask me who I thought was the best team in the MLB before the season started, I would have said the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Both teams have some of the best players in the league since the Dodgers and Yankees are the two teams with the highest payroll compared to the rest of the MLB.
Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu are just a few superstars on each roster.
This past offseason saw two major additions to each squad with the intention of increasing their chances to win the World Series.
Pitcher Gerrit Cole signed a whopping 9-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees during last offseason, which made me think they were instant contenders.
He has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball for the past few years and New York added him to their already-solid starting pitcher rotation that consisted of Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ.
As for Los Angeles, a blockbuster trade this year in February happened when the Dodgers acquired outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Sox.
After the trade, Betts then signed a contract extension with Los Angeles worth $365 million for the next 12 years.
Even though Price opted out this season and didn’t play because of the ongoing pandemic, Betts was the most coveted piece in the trade since he is regarded by many as the best right fielder in the MLB.
However, one team thrived through the regular season while the other disappointed.
As per usual, Los Angeles, yet again, were first place in the National League. But as for New York, usually at the top of the American League every year, had a poor season and ended up taking sixth place.
These teams always have the biggest expectations going into every postseason, but they haven’t had much playoff success in recent history since they have struggled to find consistency during their playoff runs.
The Yankees last won the World Series in 2009 and have been eliminated in the American League Division Series or Championship Series ever since.
Their playoff woes continued in 2020 as they were eliminated in the ALDS by the Tampa Bay Rays with the series ending 3-2.
But as for Los Angeles, they have finally done what many baseball fans would have expected.
You would have to go back to 1988 when the Dodgers last won the World Series.
However, they have been very close recently as Los Angeles has had two opportunities to be crowned MLB champions a few years ago. The Dodgers made it to the World Series in 2017 and 2018, but they were eliminated by the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, respectively.
Some people would argue that Los Angeles should be the 2017 champions. Houston was involved in a cheating scandal where they stole pitch signs from their opposition. They saw what the other team’s pitcher planned on throwing and Astros players banged on a trashcan to let their players know what to expect when Houston was up to bat.
This wouldn’t phase them.
This year, the Dodgers swept the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series and the San Diego Padres in the NLDS. With the combination of pitchers throwing straight heat and batters getting contact on the ball, Los Angeles easily handled their first two opponents in the 2020 postseason.
After that, the Atlanta Braves were the next opposition that the Dodgers had to get past. This series was evenly matched, with both teams’ offense going full-throttle all season as Atlanta and Los Angeles led the league in runs scored: the Dodgers at 349 and the Braves at 348.
Los Angeles went down 2-0 early in the series, but the Dodgers came back big in game three.
In the third game, a MLB postseason record was shattered as Los Angeles scored 11 runs in the first inning. It was the most amount of runs scored in one inning in a playoff game.
The series went seven games with many twists and turns, but the Dodgers found a way to get past Atlanta 4-3.
Los Angeles would then move on to the World Series and play the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay finished as the premier team in the American League with their pitching rotation undeniably the best that MLB had to offer.
Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Ryan Yarbrough and their relief pitchers carried them all the way to having a remarkable season as their opposition found it very difficult to hit.
There were many instances where the games went back and forth as the Rays and Dodgers didn’t have many differences between each other. If the Dodgers won a game, the Rays won the next.
The series was 3–2 in Los Angeles’ favor and Tampa Bay needed to put on a great fight in game six. It looked like they would as Rays starting pitcher Snell was terrific, giving up two hits and no runs while striking out 9.
But it all came crashing down when he gave up a single to center field in the sixth inning by Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes and that was it for Snell.
Tampa Bay’s manager Kevin Cash controversially pulled Snell out of the game when Betts came up to bat for the Dodgers.
Relief pitcher Nick Anderson came in for the Rays and the 1–0 lead that Tampa Bay held quickly vanished. Betts hit a double to move Barnes to third base. Then, Anderson threw a wild pitch away from catcher Mike Zunino and Barnes scored to tie the game 1–1.
Dodgers star Corey Seager then hit a grounder to Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi and Betts scored the crucial run from third and the Dodgers took the lead 2–1.
The game ended 3–1 and the Los Angeles Dodgers became the 2020 World Series Champions.
Who knows what could’ve happened if Cash let Snell continue to pitch, but the decision to take Snell out of the game crushed the dreams of the Rays players and their fans.
For the Dodgers, the drought is over and they have finally reached the pinnacle of competing in the MLB: winning a World Series.
With most of the roster looking like it will stay intact, we could see a Dodger dynasty continue for years to come.