Tampa Bay is making their second World Series appearance in franchise history. It’s no secret that the Rays will rely on their starting pitching, stellar defense, and a stable of guys in their bullpen that throw upwards of 100 MPH. Their bullpen is so good in fact, the team is 33-0 when leading after seven innings.
Kevin Cash says that he Rays pitching and the defense masked their lack of hitting in the ALCS, and that will need to change for them to win this series against the hot hitting Dodgers. Cash has decided to go with 27-year-old right-hander Tyler Glasnow to kick off the series followed by the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.
If Tampa Bay wants to win their first World Series in franchise history, they need to get the offense rolling, most importantly, they need to stop stranding runners on base or in scoring position. The Rays will need ALCS MVP Randy Arozarena, who racked up four home runs in the series, to stay hot against the Dodgers bullpen if they want to win.
The biggest question mark for Los Angeles is starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw’s back spasms have been an issue this postseason as he’s allowed seven runs in 11 innings over his last two starts. We'll see how he performs tonight after 5 days of rest.
Can Arozarena and a sluggish Rays lineup knock him around early? If the Rays want to pick up a crucial first win in the series, they will need to be patient at the plate, and make Kershaw work. Look for Walker Buehler and Julio Urias to step up in key games if Kershaw isn’t his usual dominant self. While their bullpen is rested, Dave Roberts will need to get more quality innings out of Buehler, Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.
Both teams finished the regular season with the best records in their respective leagues, and each with over 40 wins. While the Rays relied on their pitching, the Dodgers did the dirty work with their bats, driving in the most runs in all of baseball. Corey Seager was a major reason for their success in the first six games of the NLCS, earning MVP honors with five home runs and 11 RBI’s. Cody Bellinger’s monster home run in the 7th inning of Game 7 propelled the Dodgers to their third World Series in the last four years. Seager, Betts, and Bellinger need to attack the Rays' starters early and put runs on the board. Those three bats could be the difference in this best of seven series.
Grab your favorite beverage and your Dugout Mug because the 2020 World Series is finally here, and one thing is for sure we are in for an east coast versus west coast showdown between the Rays and the Dodgers!
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