The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night by a 3-1 final behind timely hitting and a strong joint outing from their bullpen. With the victory, the Dodgers have secured their first championship since 1988. The Dodgers had lost two of the last three World Series, making the win all the sweeter.
Any time a team wins a World Series, there's a lot of information and revelation to sort through in the afterglow. For the sake of making things easier on everyone, we've decided to highlight five aspects of the Dodgers' victory worth knowing about, including their championship drought and what the upcoming offseason could look like for them.
Follow along with us on this journey down the information superhighway, won't you?
1. Seventh title, but first since 1988
This year's world championship is the seventh in Dodgers franchise history, and the sixth since they moved to Los Angeles ahead of the 1958 season. Only five franchises have more world championships than L.A., with those being the New York Yankees (27), St. Louis Cardinals (11), Oakland Athletics (9), Boston Red Sox (9), and the rival San Francisco Giants (8).
For as many titles as the Dodgers have, this championship ends the 10th-longest drought in the majors. The Dodgers had not won the World Series since 1988, or some 32 years ago. As mentioned in the introduction, they had won two of the last three pennants, though they lost in the World Series in 2017 to the Houston Astros and in 2018 to the Boston Red Sox.
2. Friedman's first title
Andrew Friedman has been one of the most creative and successful executives in the majors since first taking over the Tampa Bay Rays before the 2006 season. Friedman jumped to the Dodgers after the 2014 campaign, and has since made his presence known.
In six seasons under Friedman's watch, the Dodgers have won the division each year and have accumulated 528 regular-season victories, or the most in the majors. For comparison's sake, the next-winningest team has been the Astros, who have 18 fewer regular-season victories.
3. Roberts' historic first
Manager Dave Roberts has taken a lot of grief over the years for the Dodgers' shortcomings, with their postseason failures often laid at his feet. Surely he deserves some credit after his perceived questionable decision-making received so much of the blame, right?
Anyway, Roberts is the first manager of Asian heritage (his mother is Japanese-American and he was born in Naha) to win the World Series. He's also the third consecutive manager to win the World Series who isn't a white male, joining Alex Cora and Davey Martinez. That may not mean much to the average individual, but it's a significant achievement given the league's poor diversity.
Roberts, who has been at the helm since the start of the 2016 season, has amassed more regular-season victories than any other skipper during that time.
4. Completes Kershaw's legacy
If there's a common theme here, it's that this championship is the bow on many of the key Dodgers who have otherwise done it all. Count left-hander Clayton Kershaw among them.
Kershaw won't turn 33 until next March, but he's accomplished an absurd amount during his 13-season career: he's won three Cy Young Awards, made eight All-Star Games, and has accumulated nearly 70 Wins Above Replacement -- the average Hall of Fame pitcher has 73. Kershaw could retire tomorrow and he would be a worthy of enshrinement into Cooperstown.
For all of Kershaw's regular season success, he hadn't found a way to help the Dodgers over the hump. That changed, mostly, this postseason. In five playoff starts, he accumulated a 2.93 ERA over 30 innings, with 32 more strikeouts than walks. The Dodgers were 4-1 in his starts.
As a result of this postseason, Kershaw has lowered his career playoffs ERA from 4.41 to 4.19. More importantly, he's increased his number of rings from zero to one.
5. Turner, Pederson among key free agents
The Dodgers are certain to celebrate their title over the coming days, but soon they'll have to shift their attention to next season if they want to become the first repeat champion since the New York Yankees won three consecutive World Series from 1998-2000.
One of the first orders of business will be attempting to re-sign or replace a handful of contributors who qualify for free agency. That includes third baseman Justin Turner, outfielder Joc Pederson, utilityman Enrique Hernandez, and relievers Pedro Baez and Blake Treinen.
The Dodgers will also have to figure out if they want to extend any of their players scheduled to hit free agency after next season, be it shortstop Corey Seager, Kershaw, or longtime closer Kenley Jansen.