Dodgers-Rays: More history ahead

COREY SEAGER’S bat has been one of the reasons the Dodgers are back in the World Series (Flickr).

As much as the 2020 baseball season was the most unique ever, so might the 2020 World Series be one for the ages.

The coronavirus has turned everything upside down, but the teams that finally made it are now strangers to the Fall Classic. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be making their third trip to the Series in four years, and they will be chasing their first MLB World Championship since 1988.

Tampa Bay’s Rays (remember when they were called the Devil Rays?) were last “here” in 2008. Of course, “here” isn’t where it used to be. Instead of a home-and-home series, all games will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the first World Series ever held at a neutral site.

There’s little doubt that these are the best two teams in the MLB. They each posted the best win-loss record in their leagues over this shortened season. The Rays and Dodgers posted a combined .692 winning percentage, the best ever.

For the boys from Chavez Ravine, it will be a chance to overcome a string of October frustration. With a balanced team boasting strong pitching and lots of pop at the plate, LAD won 30 of their first 40 games, another record (at least for the franchise).  The addition of Mookie Betts added additional power to a team that already had plenty of long-ball hitters. Betts crashed 16 home runs, as did A.J. Pollock. Corey Seager had 15 and there were 12 round-trippers each from Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy.

BRANDON LOWE of the Rays is masked up for what could be an epic World Series (Flickr).

The Dodgers also boast an outstanding pitching staff. Clayton Kershaw – a lock for the Hall of Fame – posted a 6-2 record with an ERA of 2.16. He was ably seconded by Dustin May with a 3-1 mark and a 2.57 ERA. The top reliever was Kenley Kansen with a 3-1 record and 11 saves.

For Tampa Bay, the Rays batting lineup can answer with its own long-ball threats. Brandon Lowe hit 14 home runs and drove in 37 in the regular season and four other players had eight or more homers. But don’t overlook Randy Arozarena, who batted “only” .281, but had the team’s best OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) at 1.022.

On the mound, the Rays feature a strong rotation with four pitchers having won four or more games. Most perfect was Josh Fleming (4-0, 2.78 ERA), followed by Tyler Glasnow (5-1, 4.08). Pete Fairbanks was 6-3 with a 2.70 ERA.

Our prediction: This is really a pick-‘em situation. Both teams had great regular seasons, had tough championship series and possess tons of talent. The safest bet is to just say this one should go seven games and make new history.

Here’s the schedule.

  • Game One (Tuesday, Oct. 20): Rays at Dodgers
  • Game Two (Wednesday, Oct. 21): Rays at Dodgers
  • Game Three (Friday, Oct. 23): Dodgers at Rays
  • Game Four (Saturday, Oct. 24): Dodgers at Rays
  • Game Five (Sunday, Oct. 25): Dodgers at Rays
  • Game Six (Tuesday, Oct. 27): Rays at Dodgers
  • Game Seven (Wednesday, Oct. 28): Rays at Dodgers.

Games Five through Seven are only if needed.

“Wild World of Sports” is posted on Mondays. Go Dodgers.

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