Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2020 World Series took place between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. The best-of-seven series concluded a very unconventional season for the MLB, in which only 60 (as opposed to 162) games were played.
The two teams took very different routes to the playoffs — the star-studded Dodgers have the second-largest payroll in the league, and their roster is filled with all-stars, former MVPs and Cy Young Award winners. In contrast, the Rays operated with one of the lowest payrolls in all of baseball and still managed to dominate the American League. Just two players on the Dodgers (Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw) have a higher combined salary than all 28 active players on the Rays.
Filled with young stars, the Dodgers’ overpowering offense and consistent starting rotation led them to the best regular-season record in all of baseball this year. Following heartbreaking postseason losses in previous seasons, the Dodgers hoped to break through this year and win their first championship since 1988. Led by recently acquired superstar Betts, who signed a lucrative 12-year, $365 million contract, the Dodgers offense is filled with some of the best hitters in all of baseball, including all-stars Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager. These sluggers cumulatively achieved a total of 118 home runs in the regular season, leading the majors by a significant margin.
The Dodgers also come with a well-rounded pitching staff led by a handful of young flamethrowers such as Walker Buehler and Dustin May, along with veteran future Hall of Famer Kershaw and a slew of quality bullpen arms. The Dodgers’ earned run average (ERA) of 3.02 in the regular season was the best of any major league team.
The Dodgers have now won every National League (NL) West title since 2013 and have won the NL pennant in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
On the other hand, the Rays have the third-lowest payroll in all of baseball. The team’s success lies in top tier player development and keen ability to pick out hidden gems. Some of their most noteworthy players were low-level prospects from other teams who they were able to convert to stars. Along with key breakout hitter Randy Arozarena, the offense has been fueled by its speed and clutch hitting ability. Their “next man up” approach has allowed many of their players to shine, rather than just a handful of superstars. Along with this solid offense, the Rays have one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. With a group of 98 mph or more pitchers, the Rays bullpen had a 3.37 ERA in the regular season. Additionally, starting pitchers Tyler Glasgow, Blake Snell and Charlie Morton create a very formidable rotation for the Rays.
Despite coming up short, the Rays looked to win their first World Series title ever. This was their first appearance since 2008 when they lost in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The competitive six-game series concluded on Oct. 27 with a three-to-one Dodgers win, making this the first World Series they have won since 1988 and their seventh World Series title overall.