World Series Preview: Dodgers vs. Rays
Host Logan Bourandas and analysts Sam Kirk, Matt Rudisill and Aidan Torok dive into the upcoming World Series. They look at the road both the Rays and the Dodgers had to take to get here and give their predictions for the Fall Classic.
Very few people predicted the Tampa Bay Rays to be where they are right now. Many saw this finally being the year that the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers met in the World Series. With the Yankees hampered by injuries and the Rays’ hot start, that dream failed to happen. The Rays dominated all season, specifically against the Yankees, as they went 8-2 against the Bronx Bombers during the regular season.
In the playoffs, it’s been Randy Arozarena who has carried the load for the Rays offense. Arozarena was a throw-in piece in a trade that sent him and Jose Martinez from St. Louis to Tampa Bay for Matthew Liberatore last offseason. That throw-in piece has only gone on to hit .382 in the playoffs and hit seven homers, setting a rookie postseason record after blasting a two-run homer in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Astros.
The Rays bullpen has been what’s carried them through the playoffs, with top-level contributors such as Nick Anderson, Diego Castillo and Pete Fairbanks carrying the workload. In terms of the starting rotation, Charlie Morton and Blake Snell have stepped up, with Morton dominating in Game 7 against the Astros and Snell playing lights-out in Game 1. With the Rays ranking near the bottom of all postseason teams in batting average, the pitching will need to continue to carry the load in the World Series.
After breezing through the first two rounds, things got very scary very fast for the Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers were down 3-1 in the series only for their pitching staff to wake up, combining for just seven runs allowed in Games 5-7 after giving up over five runs in each of the three losses.
What’s shocking for the Dodgers is that in both Games 5 and 7, they relied on Dustin May as an opener. May pitched two innings in Game 5 and one inning in Game 7, as the Dodgers relied more on their bullpen and less on starting rotation stars Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.
Mookie Betts has been even better than expected, as he leads the Dodgers in batting average this postseason. On defense, he has contributed as well, robbing Freddie Freeman of a home run in Game 7 of the NLCS that could’ve changed the course of the game. Corey Seager has been a surprise, as he elevated his game in the NLCS, hitting five homers and driving in 11 runs.
A major question mark has been Cody Bellinger. After struggling during the regular season, Bellinger has improved only slightly throughout the postseason, but he showed signs of life in the seventh inning of Game 7 when he hit the go-ahead home run that proved to be the deciding score.
This will be the Dodgers’ third World Series appearance in the last four years, and they have a lot to prove to the entire baseball world. Having played and lost to two teams that were later caught for cheating in the Astros and the Red Sox, the Dodgers came into this season hungry for the championship that they feel they deserve. With question marks around the majority of the Rays offense and a Tampa Bay bullpen that may have been pushed to its limit just to get here, the Dodgers seem to have all the pieces in place for their first World Series title since 1988.
Prediction: Dodgers win the World Series in 6 games
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.