World Series Preview
David Troy (@FuturePrez2024) - October 20th, 2020
Although both teams were the #1 seed for their respective league, the Rays and Dodgers had significantly opposite series. The Rays raced out to a 3-0 lead on the Astros before having to win in Game 7. The Dodgers were down 3-1 and won the last three games of the series with some Bellinger heroics in game 7 to push them into another World Series. What can we expect in the upcoming series?
For playing 7 games in 7 days, both teams seem to have starters ready to go. The Dodgers who had to scratch and claw their way back are still in a decent spot. Kershaw could start the series after pitching in Game 4 and Buehler last pitched in game 6, so he could go on 4 days rest pitching in game 2. That would set the Dodgers up for a good start to the series. I do recognize that Kershaw has not been a successful playoff pitcher, but he still provides innings and usually a manageable game for the Dodgers. May and Urias were both used in Game 7, so the Dodgers are somewhat scrambling for Game 3 and beyond.
The Rays will likely start Glasnow in Game 1. Snell could go on 5-days rest on Wednesday, and Morton can follow in Game 3. They can plug in a bullpen game for Game 4 and then go back to their three arms. Keep in mind, Snell threw only 82 pitches and Morton threw 66 in their games. Their arms should be fresh too – even most regular season games the starters have pitched for the Rays have been low pitch counts and turned over to the bullpen.
The Rays hitters have seen very little of Buehler with only 11 at-bats and strikeouts coming on five of those at-bats. Margot and Renfroe account for 44 of 60 total Rays at-bats against Kershaw, with pretty low success rate (the rest of the Rays are 1 for 16 against him). Rays hitters have 12 and 10 at-bats, respectively, against Urias and May with only two hits. This was a fairly similar situation with the Rays vs. Astros, and it led to only one game scoring more than 7 runs.
Dodgers hitters have a tough task coming up. We’ve seen the Rays handle the Yankees so we can look to that series as a bit of a comparison with the Dodgers. Not surprisingly, Mookie Betts has the most experience against the Rays, he is a .300 hitter against the three Rays main starters. Aside from him, most Dodgers have not seen much of the Rays starters. However, it is worth noting that Bellinger is 2 for 2 against Glasnow, with two homeruns.
How the Rays win:
It will start and end with their pitching. You could argue that they really shouldn’t have won the series against the Astros. In the first couple of games, the Astros defense imploded, and the Astros left 10 runners on base in multiple games. Part of that is a lack of clutch hitting, but a larger portion is that the Rays have a dominant staff and bullpen. The Rays hitters need to stay confident and take their walks while keeping the line moving.
How the Dodgers win:
The Dodgers need to win the games started by Buehler (which they should) and then win at least one of the Kershaw starts. They also will likely need to attack the Rays pen and win a game off them. The Dodgers should be more comfortable in the stadium than the Rays, they should look to use that to their advantage if possible. I also think the Dodgers need to make their pitchers comfortable, give them a lead early in the game.
At +175, the Rays have pretty good value in my opinion. I think they pull this out in 6 games (even though I had them losing to the Astros). My thought is to look for the Rays in the first 5 innings and unders as much as possible in the series. I also will be interested in Buehler strikeout props – the Rays strikeout more than any team in baseball. Should be a fun series, what do you like for the series?
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