20 facts about LA's title, 2020 postseason

October 28th, 2020

After losing the 2017 and '18 World Series, the Dodgers won the '20 Fall Classic in six games, defeating the Rays after sweeps in the Wild Card Series and National League Division Series and a rally from down 3-1 in the NL Championship Series.

It’s the Dodgers’ first title since 1988. Since that postseason run ended, 637 players have appeared in at least one regular-season game for the Dodgers. In other words -- it had been a while.

It’s the seventh World Series title in franchise history. The only NL clubs with more are the Cardinals (11) and Giants (eight).

Here are 20 fun facts to know about the Dodgers’ World Series title and their clinching 3-1 victory over the Rays in Game 6 on Tuesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

Dodger blue breaks through
1. The Dodgers had a .717 winning percentage in the regular season. That’s the second-highest for any eventual World Series champion, behind the 1909 Pirates, who won at a .724 clip. Those Pirates played 154 games, to the Dodgers’ 60.

2. The Dodgers had the best record in the Majors this year, too. It’s just the seventh time in the Wild Card Era (since 1995) that the team with at least a share of the best record in baseball went on to win the World Series. The Dodgers join the 2018 Red Sox, '16 Cubs, '13 Red Sox, '09 Yankees, '07 Red Sox and 1998 Yankees on that list.

3. Speaking of the Dodgers’ record, it’s not just that they were good in 2020 -- they’ve been quite good for a while. In fact, their .629 winning percentage over the past four seasons, including the playoffs, is the highest of any team in a four-year span in the Wild Card Era. They surpassed the 1996-99 Yankees, who had a .628 winning percentage. It is worth noting, however, that those Yankees won three World Series titles in that four-year span.

4. Just how good were the Dodgers in 2020? Only one team beat them in any series -- the Rockies, who won two out of three at Dodger Stadium in early September. That’s it.

5. Another way to look at the drought quenched by the Dodgers is that they finally had a postseason berth lead to a title. This win snaps a streak of 13 consecutive postseason appearances that did not result in them hoisting a World Series trophy, which is tied for the third-longest such streak all-time.

Standout performers
6. now joins his father, Clay, as a World Series champion. Clay played for three teams that won the World Series -- the 1999 Yankees, 2000 Yankees and '02 Angels -- though he only appeared in the Series for the 2000 club. They are the eighth father-son duo to both win at least one title as players, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, joining Ray and Bob Boone, Pedro Borbon Sr. and Jr., Sal and Drew Butera, Dave and Chris Duncan, Jim and Mike Hegan, Julian and Stan Javier and Ed and Scott Spiezio.

7. homered in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers an insurance run. It was a 434-foot homer, tied for the fifth-longest he’s hit since Statcast began tracking in 2015. Betts also homered in Game 5 of the ‘18 World Series, when the Red Sox went on to clinch. He became the ninth player to homer in multiple World Series clinchers, and just the second to do it with different teams -- joining Reggie Jackson.

8. For Betts, this is another item for the trophy case -- which already includes the aforementioned 2018 World Series, as well as the ‘18 American League MVP Award. He’s the first MVP Award winner to win a World Series title with multiple franchises, according to Elias.

9. , who hit .400 in the Fall Classic, was named World Series MVP, a series after he won the equivalent honor for the NLCS. He’s the eighth player to win LCS and World Series MVPs in the same postseason, and the first since Madison Bumgarner in 2014. The others include David Freese (2011), Cole Hamels ('08), Livan Hernandez (1997), Orel Hershiser ('88), Darrell Porter ('82) and Willie Stargell ('79).

10. Seager became the sixth shortstop to win the World Series MVP Award and the first since Edgar Renteria in 2010. The others were David Eckstein in '06, Derek Jeter in '00, Alan Trammell in 1984 and Bucky Dent in '78.

11. , who debuted for the Dodgers in 2008, finally won his first World Series title. After numerous trials in his postseason career, he finished the '20 playoff campaign with a 2.93 ERA in five starts.

Kershaw played in 19 postseason series before the 2020 World Series. That’s the most postseason rounds played for a player before winning his first title. Part of that is the sheer number of postseason series that exist these days -- but it also illustrates how much Kershaw went through before finally winning it all.

Records approached and set
12. It was a postseason unlike any we had seen before, in many ways. And that was true through the final out of the final game. The Dodgers used seven pitchers in their Game 6 victory, the most used by a winning team in a nine-inning World Series clincher, and it is tied for the most used by the winning team in a World Series clincher of any length, with the 1992 Blue Jays, who clinched their title in 11 innings in Game 6.

13. Another record we saw set on Tuesday was for strikeouts in a nine-inning World Series game. The Dodgers and Rays combined for 27 strikeouts in Game 6, breaking a record previously shared by the Mets and Yankees in Game 3 of the 2000 World Series and the Dodgers and Yankees in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.

14. The teams combined to hit 21 home runs in this Series, tied for the third-most in any Fall Classic with the Angels and Giants in 2002. The only teams to combine for more homers in a World Series were the Dodgers and Astros, with 25 in ‘17, and the Astros and Nationals, with 22, in ‘19.

15. The Dodgers hit 12 homers in the World Series, tied with the 1956 Yankees for third-most. The only World Series teams with more were the 2017 Astros (15) and ‘02 Giants (14).

Wrapping up the Rays
16. In what turned out to be the final game of his sensational postseason, rookie came through yet again for Tampa Bay. His go-ahead homer in the first inning was his 10th big fly of the postseason, extending the record he broke back in Game 4. No other player has hit more than eight homers in a single postseason, and Arozarena also now owns the Rays’ career postseason home run record after his first year with the team.

17. Arozarena’s 2-for-4 game extended his own records for hits (29) and total bases (64) in a single postseason, the latter now 14 ahead of any other player. His 14th extra-base hit this postseason also tied David Freese (2011 Cardinals) for first in that category.

18. One of the big stories of Game 6 was Rays manager Kevin Cash pulling starter Blake Snell with one out in the sixth inning. But before that, Snell authored quite a game, giving up just two hits, walking none and striking out nine. After also racking up nine K’s in Game 2, Snell became only the 10th pitcher to have two such games in a single World Series -- the first since the Marlins’ Josh Beckett in 2003.

19. The Rays finished the postseason scoring 67.1 percent of their runs via homers, the highest such rate by a team in a single postseason (minimum 10 games). The prior record belonged to the 1998 Indians, who scored 63.2 percent of their runs via homers during that postseason.

20. Home runs were prominent throughout this postseason from all teams, and we ended up with 51.3 percent of runs scored that way. That’s the third-highest rate in a single postseason behind 1956 (53.4) and ‘57 (52.1), and the highest in any year since the playoffs expanded to multiple rounds in ‘69, according to Elias.