The World Series started last night for Major League Baseball, but as I write this the game has not yet taken place. The Los Angeles Dodgers with all of their big names with big contracts take on the Tampa Bay Rays with their obscure roster full of other teams leftovers will match up in this years Fall Classic.
While the rosters look much different and the payrolls even more, the Rays and Dodgers were the best two teams from their respective leagues in the regular season. This is only the fourth time since 1995 that the best two teams from each league faced off in the World Series.
The Dodgers are back in the World Series for the third time in four seasons, but no title to show for it. The Rays made it back in 2008 for the first time in franchise history, and are now back looking for the first championship in team history.
The Rays opened the season with the 28th ranked payroll in the league. The only team the last 22 years to make the World Series with a lower ranking was the 2008 Rays team. The Dodgers are completely opposite, with trading for Mookie Betts and David Price (who opted out before the season). There are 12 players on the Dodgers who have been all-stars with 26 total appearances compared to the Rays who have four all-stars and five appearances.
The Dodgers have the names like Kershaw, Betts, Bellinger and Jansen and the Rays have relatively unknown stars like Randy Arozarena. But the Rays have several pitchers in Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow that have emerged into the limelight with spectacular seasons.
Those pitchers, along with the Rays bullpen are going to have to be on top of their game as the Dodgers come into the series with a plus 136 run differential during the regular season. There is no weak spot in the Dodgers lineup from top to bottom so mistakes must be limited if the Rays have any chance to win the series. The Dodgers averaged 5.82 runs per game in the regular season and the Rays had 4.82.
The Rays bats were relatively quiet in the ALCS, with Arozarena the only Ray with a hot bat. He hit .321 in the ALCS while the rest of the team hit below the Mendoza line at .183. While the Rays have the better pitching staff, the Dodgers aren’t hurting there with Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, two of the bigger names on the staff ready to keep those Rays bats quiet.
There will be no home field advantage this year because the World Series is being held at a neutral site. The games will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Texas Rangers. There will be no off day traveling or any other distractions from a normal year. The World Series will be the first time fans will be allowed into a MLB game this year.
Approximately 28% capacity will be allowed to attend which is about 11,500 fans. With both teams home base a considerable distance from the stadium, it doesn’t appear either one will have an advantage with so few fans.
The World Series kicked off last night and game two is tonight, followed by game three on Friday. Game four is Saturday and if necessary, games five, six and seven will be played Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week. All games will be on Fox.
My prediction: Dodgers in 6.
Until next time.