Rays, Dodgers Survive Championship Series to Face Off in World Series

It was strange to hear noise in a baseball stadium that wasn’t automated. Fans have not been permitted into baseball games during the regular season. Now, fans have been allowed into the MLB playoff “bubble” to watch the final rounds of the season from their designated pods in the outfield. Excited to be watching live baseball, the fans were spirited as they were treated to two electrifying championship series at Petco Park in San Diego, California and Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. With both series going down to the wire, fans went wild watching the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays make it to the World Series. 

The Rays were able to avoid a complete collapse by winning game seven against the Houston Astros. The Rays were up 3-0 to start the series. Their pitching was on point, they were making incredible plays in the field and the bats were alive. Houston second baseman Jose Altuve continued to perform poorly on the field, racking up errors in the first three losses this series. Despite all of this, the Astros were able to claw their way back into the series. 

Game seven was highlighted by Tampa’s budding superstar, left fielder Randy Arozarena, who hit his seventh home run of the postseason in game seven. That is the most home runs by a rookie in a single postseason in MLB history. It was his fourth home run in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and a big one at that. This earned him ALCS MVP honors. Arozarena is hitting .375 with 11 extra-base hits this postseason, a Rays single-season playoff record. His 21 hits are one shy of Derek Jeter’s 1996 showing for the most by a rookie in postseason history. If he homers again, Arozarena can make history beyond the rookie records. He’s one home run shy of the single-season playoff record of eight home runs. 

In the National League Champion Series (NLCS), the Dodgers were able to narrowly beat out the Atlanta Braves, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to make it to their third world series in four years. The Dodgers defense kept them in this series. Outfielder Mookie Betts was able to rob a home run in game five and made a game-changing grab in game six. In game seven, Justin Turner was able to take advantage of a baserunning blunder by the Braves and turned it into one of the wackiest double plays ever seen. This silenced the Braves offense and set the stage for Cody Bellinger’s go-ahead home run in the seventh inning. Corey Seager was named NLCS MVP after hitting .310/.333/.897 with eight runs and 26 total bases. He is the only NL player in history to hit five home runs and drive in 11 runs in a postseason series. 

The two franchises will face off at Globe Life Field to fight it out for the Commissioner’s Trophy. Counting players who opted out, the Dodgers payroll this season is $221 million. They will be fighting a Rays team, with an estimated $74 million payroll. Even with the disparities in money spent, each team is putting forth an elite pitching staff with an offense to back it up, regardless of the star power on each side of the ball. In the end, the Commissioner’s Trophy will be handed out, and one team will go home empty-handed.

 Fans will fill the outfields as the two teams vie for the championship. As they watch two hard-hitting teams, they might feel like the series and the world is a little bit more normal.