2020 Los Angeles Dodgers
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2020 Los Angeles Dodgers / Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers / BR Team Page
Managed by Dave Roberts
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers went into the season as a team on a mission. Riding a string of seven straight NL West titles, there was only one result they were looking for, and that was their first World Series title since 1988. They had made it to the final party in both 2017 and 2018 but been defeated both times, and then had suffered an unexpected quick elimination in 2019 at the hands of the eventual World Series champs, the Washington Nationals, in the Division Series. So there was definitely a sense of unfinished business hanging over the team. To get over the final hump, they had made a major trade in the off-season, acquiring superstar OF Mookie Betts in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, betting that they could convince to stay with the team for the long term, which they did just as the season was about to start after the four-month interruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Dodgers already had a good core, led by Ps Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, OFs Cody Bellinger, the reigning NL MVP, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock, and IFs Max Muncy, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. With the NL using the designated hitter full time in 2020, adding Betts made it a formidable batting order. If there was one concern, it may have been that the starting rotation had been gutted in the off-season, with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill leaving as free agents, and Kenta Maeda being traded. But the Dodgers had Ross Stripling who had shuffled between starting and relieving for a number of years, ready to step in, as well as rookie Dustin May, one of the top pitching prospects in the minor leagues.
The Dodgers played one of only two games on Opening Day, July 23rd, and May had to step in at the last moment to replace an ailing Kershaw and make his first major league start, reminding everyone of something Fernando Valenzuela had done back in the 1981 championship season. They gave a quick indication of how strong they would be by defeating the San Francisco Giants, 8-1, in that first game and following that with a 9-1 win the next day. They then had a rare hiccup when they lost their next two games to the Giants, but got hot after that, winning five of their next six games to claim first place in the division, albeit only briefly as the Colorado Rockies were also on a very hot streak. But they continued winning, getting back into first place on August 13th, and then holding on. On August 21st, thanks to a 5-1 win over Colorado, they were the first major league team to reach 20 wins, with a record of 20-8 as the abbreviated season was about to reach its halfway point. They set a National League record for most homers by a team in the month August when they hit number 57 on August 30th - although that was still miles away from the American League record of 74, set by the 2019 New York Yankees. Their 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers that day was the 10,000th in franchise history, dating back to the 1884 Brooklyn Atlantics. On September 4th, they were the first major league team to 30 wins, against only 10 losses. That tied the franchise record for best 40-game start, something that had been done previously in 1888, 1955 and 1977. On September 16th, they became the first major league team to clinch a postseason spot with a 7-5 won over the San Diego Padres, who had emerged as their main rivals in the NL West.
Awards and Honors
- NL Gold Glove: Mookie Betts (RF)
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Mookie Betts (RF)
- 2020 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Tony Gonsolin (RhP)
- Ken Gurnick: "Dodgers' 2020 lineup: Best in franchise history?", mlb.com, February 19, 2020. 
- Tim Neverett: COVID Curveball: An Inside View of the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers World Championship Season, Permuted Press, Brentwood, TN, 2021. ISBN 978-1637581438
- Mike Petriello: "Deepest roster ever? Dodgers just might have it: LA projected to have Top-10 production at 10 different positions", mlb.com, February 25, 2020.