Connect with us

Sports

Dodgers cement legacies by finally capturing elusive World Series title – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


Back in February, when the Los Angeles Dodgers first reported to spring training, they had ambitious goals for the year ahead. They had come close to winning it all over the years, only to lose time after time in the playoffs. But by adding Mookie Betts to a team that had won eight division titles in a row, they had legitimate World Series aspirations once again.

Well, it’s happened, just not in the way anyone anticipated. The COVID-19 pandemic shortened the regular season to 60 games, but the Dodgers still had the best record in baseball at 43-17. Playoff wins over Milwaukee, San Diego and Atlanta followed, setting up a World Series matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays.

It took six pitching changes and nearly four hours, but the Dodgers beat the Rays 3-1 Tuesday to defeat the Rays in six games. Now, the Dodgers are World Series champions for the first time since 1988. At long last, it’s time for Clayton Kershaw & Co. to celebrate.

As the champagne starts flowing in Texas, here are some observations from a tightly-contested Game 6…

Legacies on the line

Year after year, the Dodgers have been in the playoffs and year after year they’ve been eliminated – often in painful fashion. If any player has carried the weight of those losses, it’s been Kershaw. And Dave Roberts, the team’s manager since 2016, has faced plenty of criticism of his own.

This year, Kershaw went a long way toward silencing his critics, capping off a stellar month of pitching with a 2.31 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 11.2 innings in the World Series. And while no manager escapes second guessing altogether, Roberts should be able to breathe a little easier now that he has led the Dodgers to a championship.

Also deserving of recognition is Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations whose front office sets the standard for combining financial might with player development and acquisition. Along with expensive veterans like Kershaw and Justin Turner, the Dodgers have a pipeline of young players such as Will Smith, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Julio Urias. They don’t part with that young talent often, but when they do, it’s for good reason – the Betts trade, for instance.

Now, they’re all World Series champs. With a talented young core in place more championships may be on the way, but as the Dodgers know all too well, talent is no guarantee of rings in baseball. Regardless, they’ve each accomplished something meaningful.

Meanwhile, the Rays deserve credit for an impressive season of their own. They won their second AL pennant in franchise history, took the Dodgers to a sixth game and enjoyed the continued breakout of Randy Arozarena. For now, though, this loss just stings.

An early hook backfires

Blake Snell was dealing Tuesday, with a fastball that topped out at 98 m.p.h. and three breaking pitches that kept Dodgers hitters guessing. Through five innings, he had allowed just one hit while striking out nine. Better still, he was relatively fresh after throwing just 69 pitches.

But when Austin Barnes hit a one-out single in the sixth inning, the top of the Dodgers’ lineup was coming to the plate and Rays manager Kevin Cash went to his bullpen. Nick Anderson promptly surrendered a double to Betts, threw a wild pitch that allowed Barnes to score and allowed an RBI fielder’s choice to Seager. With that, the Dodgers had a 2-1 lead and the second guessing began. Should Snell have stayed in the game?

Whether Snell would have fared better than Anderson is an open question, of course. Like most pitchers, Snell’s numbers deteriorate the second and third times through the order. In 2020, he didn’t complete six innings a single time. Plus, it was Cash’s stated intention to build an early lead then hand the ball to the bullpen. Within that context, the decision to pull Snell was reasonable.

But any plan can fail, even one as seemingly sound as handing the ball over to a pitcher with a 0.55 ERA. In this case, the Rays’ best intentions were no match for the Dodgers’ lineup, setting up ‘what ifs’ for years to come.

An early hook pays off

While Snell certainly had a case for staying in the game a little longer, his outing feels like a throwback compared to that of his counterpart, Tony Gonsolin. Roberts had the bullpen up in the first inning and pulled Gonsolin in the second after just five outs.

From there, six relievers combined to close out the win: Dylan Floro, Alex Wood, Pedro Baez, Victor Gonzalez, Brusdar Graterol and Urias. Wood was effective in the middle innings, with two scoreless, hitless frames, and Urias dominated at the end.

The pitchers themselves deserve the most credit, of course, but don’t forget about Roberts, whose bullpen management has often been questioned as the Dodgers have been eliminated year after year. This time, far fewer critics will be second guessing his work.

Turner positive prompts questions for MLB

It was revealed after the game that Turner left Game 6 because he tested positive for COVID-19. Now the diagnosis raises the question of whether others in the organization have been exposed to the virus, especially since Turner was on the field for some of the Dodgers’ post-game celebrations despite the positive test.

In one way, MLB caught a lucky break with the Dodgers’ Game 6 win. What would have happened in Game 7 if others had been exposed? But the positive test for Turner also serves as a reminder of how thin the margins for error were all season long. As MLB prepares for the 2021 season, there’s plenty more work to be done on this front to ensure the health of players, staff and fans.

Even more history for Arozarena

With his first-inning home run off of Gonsolin, Arozarena became the first player in baseball history to homer 10 times in a single post-season. With each home run that he hit, Arozarena’s month became more impressive…

• Arozarena became the first rookie in 81 years to hit three homers in a World Series. Before him, outfielder Charlie Keller of the 1939 Yankees was the last one to do it, and while Keller’s accomplishments have mostly been forgotten, those three homers were a sign of what was to come. Over the course of the next decade, Keller would hit .281/.406/.521, make five all-star teams and average 30 home runs and 109 RBIs per 162 games played.

• Arozarena now has more playoff home runs than regular season home runs (seven in 2020, eight for his career).

• He has more playoff home runs than anyone on the team that traded him hit during the entire 2020 regular season. After trading Arozarena and Jose Martinez for prospects Matthew Liberatore and Edgardo Rodriguez on January 9, the Cardinals had very little power in their lineup this year. Outfielder Tyler O’Neill and infielder Brad Miller tied for the team lead in homers with seven apiece.

• Though he’s now a household name, Arozarena could still be named Rookie of the Year in 2021. In fact, at this point, he has to be considered the favourite.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Report: Ravens Discipline Strength and Conditioning Coach for COVID-19 Conduct – Sports Illustrated

Published

 on


The Baltimore Ravens announced on Wednesday night that they disciplined “a staff member for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens.”

Sources later told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that the Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach “for not reporting symptoms and not consistently wearing a mask or tracking device.”

This comes hours after the NFL announced the Ravens-Steelers matchup that was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night has been postponed until Sunday afternoon

ESPN’s Adam Schefter originally reported that the Ravens had five players and four staffers test positive for COVID-19 this week. 

But by Wednesday evening, seven Ravens were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list with positive tests or close contacts following tracing, including running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and offensive linemen Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari.

Multiple Steelers players expressed their frustration on Twitter. 

The Ravens have lost three of their four previous games and were scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday before Thursday’s matchup. The Steelers enter the AFC North divisional matchup undefeated. 

While the Ravens were proactive with their internal discipline, they could still face penalties from the league.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Hockey Canada shuts down camp, mandates 14-day quarantine after positive tests – CBC.ca

Published

 on



Hockey Canada has temporarily shutdown national junior team selection camp following the confirmation of two positive COVID-19 tests among players.

Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that players, coaches and staff at the camp have entered a 14-day quarantine retroactive to Monday. All camp activities will be paused until Dec. 6.

The original announcement of the positive player tests came on Tuesday — three days after Hockey Canada said a “non-core member” of the team’s staff also tested positive. Hockey Canada said it was suspending all camp activities for the day, including a scheduled intrasquad game, at the time.

Both players and the staff have been in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Red Deer, Alta.

Players, coaches and staff all took mandatory COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the camp and have been tested regularly while there.

Hockey Canada is in the midst of their selection camp ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton that opens on Christmas Day.

“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” said senior vice-president of national teams, Scott Salmond.

“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”

Canada seeks its second consecutive gold medal at the tournament, which would be its 19th title all-time.

WATCH | Steve DeBus remembers the Michigan goal:

In episode 5 of our new series, Rob Pizzo speaks to former Minnesota Golden Gopher  goalie Steve DeBus about the infamous Mike Legg lacrosse goal in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.   4:37

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests – CityNews Toronto

Published

 on


Hockey Canada has temporarily shutdown national junior team selection camp following the confirmation of two positive COVID-19 tests among players.

Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that players, coaches and staff at the camp have entered a 14-day quarantine retroactive to Monday. All camp activities will be paused until Dec. 6.

The original announcement of the positive player tests came on Tuesday – three days after Hockey Canada said a “non-core member” of the team’s staff also tested positive. Hockey Canada said it was suspending all camp activities for the day, including a scheduled intrasquad game, at the time.

Both players and the staff have been in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Red Deer, Alta.

Players, coaches and staff all took mandatory COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the camp and have been tested regularly while there.

Hockey Canada is in the midst of their selection camp ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton that opens on Christmas Day.

“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” said senior vice-president of national teams, Scott Salmond.

“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”

Canada seeks its second consecutive gold medal at the tournament, which would be its 19th title all-time.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending