The American League (AL) Championship Series (CS) and the National League (NL) CS are now in the books. The ALCS had already been decided when the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros in Game 7 this weekend, but the NLCS race wouldn’t be decided until its Game 7 last night. The Atlanta Braves were denied a trip to the World Series by the LA Dodgers, and it now comes down to the last best-of-seven series of MLB for 2020. The fight to become the champions of one of the strangest MLB seasons in recent history begins tomorrow night.
The Rays started to feel a little pressure in the ALCS battle after the Astros found some success late in the series. Tampa had started 3-0 against Houston and needed just one more win to put the series to bed, but the Astros fought back and made it a 3-3 tie in the best-of-seven series. The Rays kept it together in the last game on Saturday, beating the Astros 4-2 to advance to the World Series for the first time since 2008.
Coincidentally, it was a former Astros player that helped them get there. Charlie Morton was on the mound for the Rays in Game 7, and he happens to be the same Morton who played for the Astros in 2017 – the year they are said to have cheated on their way to a World Series win. He was also pitching for the Astros when they won that championship.
As the Rays looked to advance to the World Series, they found success off the bat of Randy Arozarena, who brought in two runs in the first inning and followed it up with another run in the second. The game remained relatively mundane after that until, in the eighth inning, Carlos Correa gave the Astros two runs after hitting a bases-loaded single. That would be it, though, and Rays pitcher Peter Fairbanks would make sure the Astros didn’t find any more success, shutting them down completely in the ninth.
In the past three years, the Dodgers have made two World Series appearances, losing both. If the third time’s the charm, this could be the year the LA team turns things around. Like the ALCS, the NLCS would go the distance and wouldn’t be decided until Game 7, but the Dodgers pulled out everything they had to beat the Braves. Like the Rays, the Braves had taken the lead early in the series, getting out in front 3-1 before the Dodgers rallied to tie things up at three games apiece. LA sealed the deal last night after getting off to a rocky start and are now ready to take the season championship.
Atlanta would jump out ahead in Game 7 and take a two-run lead to threaten the Dodgers’ chances of advancing. This battle was hard-fought, with both teams showing why they deserved to be where they were. With real fans finally in attendance at some MLB games, the limited crowd went wild when Cody Bellinger crushed one out of the park in the seventh inning for the Dodgers to motivate his teammates, and got some defensive help when Mookie Betts pulled down a Freddie Freeman ball that was looking to breach the right field wall. The Dodgers would pull off a 4-3 victory, ending the Braves’ chances of making their first World Series appearance since 1999.