Analysis on the Upcoming World Series

Monday, October 19, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

The Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in 2020, will meet the Tampa Bay Rays, the second-best team in 2020, in the World Series. Both teams had a 7-game League Championship Series, so they are tired.

Unlike in the previous series, the World Series has two off days if it goes seven games. This will help both teams’ bullpens, which is crucial.

The Dodgers with the second-highest payroll, are a complete team. They hit well for both average and power. Particularly in the outfield, their defense is magnificent. Their pitching had the lowest ERA in the Majors. The Dodgers have been to the World Series in 2017 and 2018 so that they understand the pressure associated with the World Series. Plus, they just won three games in a row, and they have played in Globe Life Field for thirteen games this year.

Whereas most baseball-knowledgeable people think the Dodgers will win their first world championship since 1988, the Rays will give them tough competition. The Rays have the third-lowest payroll in Major League Baseball. Not since 2008, the Rays have been to the World Series. They have not played at Globe Life Field before.

While the Dodgers had their offensive struggles against the Atlanta Braves during the NLCS, their collective batting average of .256. They had 16 home runs. Although the Dodgers struck more than usual, their knowledge of the strike zone was evident, forcing the Braves’ young pitching staff to walk them. Walks made rallies. While the Dodgers used their enormous power, they demonstrated an ability to link hits together. At least Will Smith understands sometimes a hitter must beat the shift.

Against the Houston Astros during the ALCS, the Rays had a collective batting average of .209. During the 2020 season, they averaged 10 strikeouts a game. Although the Rays rely on the long ball to score, the Dodgers outslugged the Rays during the 2020 regular season. In the ALCS, the Rays hit 11 home runs and struck out 81 times. The Dodger pitching staff does not rely on strikeouts to get outs, but their pitches can make people chase.

The Rays’ strength is their pitching, particularly their bullpen. While they will have two days off before the World Series begins, the Astros worked the Rays’ bullpen well. The style of Dodger at-bats will tire both their starters and relievers. Like the Braves, the Rays have three true starters – Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton. Normally, during the World Series, most teams use three starters, but now, teams dislike using starters on short rest because they think pitching short rest makes injuries. Therefore, the Rays might have two openers, exposing their relievers more to the Dodgers.

Although the Dodgers usually do not hit well facing a pitcher for the first time, they collect information about the pitcher and store it to use it later. The Dodgers must run up pitch-count on every Rays’ pitcher to exhaust them.

While the Dodgers played seven games during the NLCS, their bullpen is in surprisingly good shape. Brusdar Graterol is experiencing soreness, but his pitch count was limited on Sunday. Blake Treinen has pitched on three consecutive days, but he has Monday off. Thanks to Julio Urìas, the Dodgers did not use Pedro Báez, Joe Kelly, Alex Wood, Adam Koralek, and Kenley Jansen. With Clayton Kershaw starting Tuesday and facing a team who likes to chase, the Dodgers should be able to rest their bullpen more.

The 2020 World Series should not be short. It is a rarity to see the two best teams in the World Series. If the Dodgers can remain patient at the plate and exploit the Rays’ free-swinging nature, they should win their first world championship in 32 seasons.

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