Tampa Bay, after defeating the New York Yankees now face the Dodgers. Both of their opponents have the largest payrolls in baseball. The entire best-of-seven series is being played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Rays reached the World Series once, in 2008, whole the Dodgers are back in their third World Series in the past four years, but still looking for their first title since 1988. Here’s what to watch in the games ahead…
The Dodgers were the best team in the National League and the Rays were tops all season in the American League. If the Dodgers lose in the World Series for the third time in four years, there will be plenty to answer for, so the pressure will be heavily on the white and blue while Tampa has the opportunity to play loose and free.
For all their success, Tampa has struggled getting runners on base this postseason. Brandon Lowe has been slumping in October and the Rays have relied on the long ball for offense. The Dodgers are more well-rounded in terms of moving players around the diamond, with Betts, Max Muncy, Turner and Will Smith bringing hot bats into the final series of the pandemic shortened season.
The Rays have slugged their way to the World Series, led by Randy Arozarena, who set a rookie record with seven postseason homers and has a chance to build on the record in the World Series. Manuel Margot, Mike Zunino and Ji-Man Choi have all delivered important homers.
In the field the Dodgers have been absolutely clinical in their defense. Combining fundamentals with spectacular individual plays to steal potential runs from their opponents in close games. Meabwhile the Rays use an infield shift better than most any other team and have plenty of solid fielders, with Lowe at second, Adames at shortstop and Wendle at third, as well as a platoon of solid first basemen.
On the mound the Rays figure to go with Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton in the first three games, with a bullpen game in Game 4. Clayton Kershaw could get another shot at postseason redemption for LA, with Walker Buehler and Julio Urias followed by some combination of Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin. Kenley Jansen remains the wild card for the Dodgers after almost losing the closer’s job after the NLDS. He bounced back big time by finishing Games 5 and 6 in the NLCS with scoreless ninth innings. Los Angeles will also rely on Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Brusdar Graterol and lefty Victor Gonzalez.
If you want some skin in the game, check out the World Series odds on Sports Betting Dime.
It has been a strange year, obviously, and the finale should be as unpredictable and unorthodox as the shortened regular season and expanded post season that led us to this point.
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