The Los Angeles Dodgers survived a strong start from Blake Snell and the forced departure of one of their players due to a late, positive COVID-19 test to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 and win the 2020 World Series.
Julio Urias struck out Willy Adames to end the game and deliver the Dodgers their first World Series title since 1988.
Cash Stands by Decision to Pull Snell
Game 6 began well for the Rays. Breakout Tampa Bay star Randy Arozarena homered in the first inning to give the American League champions a 1-0 lead. That advantage held up into the sixth inning, as Blake Snell held the Dodgers scoreless.
Rays manager Kevin Cash decided to pull Snell after just 5.1 innings after he gave up a hit to Dodgers No. 9 hitter Austin Barnes. It was only the second hit Snell had allowed on the night while striking out nine Los Angeles hitters.
“I regret the decision because it didn’t work out,” Cash said after the game. “But you know, I feel like the thought process was right.”
Cash said he lifted Snell to avoid having him face the dangerous top of the Dodgers lineup for a third time. To that point, however, Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner had struck out in all six plate appearances on the night.
Dodgers Offense Breaks Out, Bullpen Shuts Down Rays
Instead, Cash brought in reliever Nick Anderson who promptly allowed two runs before Aaron Loup finished the inning. The Dodgers scored a third run in the 8th inning on a Mookie Betts home run.
Whether Cash’s decision cost Tampa Bay the game can’t be known; after all, the Rays only scored one run on the night, and the potent Los Angeles lineup still had four innings to work with. Still, fans and pundits roundly criticized the move, and Snell was disappointed to leave the game.
“I just want the ball. I felt good,” Snell said afterward. “I did everything I could to prove my case to stay out there, and then for us to lose, it sucks. I want to win, and I want to win the World Series, and for us to lose, it just sucks. I am not going to question him. He’s a hell of a manager, so I am not going to question him.”
— Dodgers' Way (@DodgersWayFS) October 28, 2020
Despite the many Twitter memes, Corey Seager won World Series MVP rather than Cash. Seager had become the favorite to win the award prior to Game 6. He hit .400 with two homers and five RBIs during the series. Seager also took home the NLCS MVP award after the Dodgers knocked off the Atlanta Braves in seven games.
The coronavirus pandemic shortened the MLB season and led the league to hold its final playoff rounds in a bubble. Even so, COVID-19 still impacted the final game of the World Series.
Turner Leaves Game After Positive COVID-19 Test
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19, leading Los Angeles to pull him from the game after seven innings. Turner apparently took a test on Monday that came back inconclusive during Game 6; the lab then immediately tested a Tuesday sample and reported the positive result.
“We learned during the game Justin tested positive, and he was immediately isolated to prevent spread,’ MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said after the game.
THEY’RE ALL PUTTING THE TROPHY JUST HELD BY TURNER UP BY THEIR MOUTHS AND HOLDING IT AND TOUCHING THEIR MOUTHS AND TURNER TOOK HIS MASK OFF FOR A PHOTO!
What is going on right now?
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) October 28, 2020
While Turner initially sat out of the Dodgers’ postgame celebrations, he later returned with his wife, and even took photos without a mask on – much to the dismay of many on social media.