Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
World Series Game 3
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 8:08 PM EST at Globe Life Field
|Dodgers:||Walker Buehler||(1-0 3.44 ERA; Postseason: 1-0 1.89 ERA)|
|Rays:||Charlie Morton||(2-2 4.74 ERA; Postseason: 3-0 .57 ERA)|
The World Series is dead even at one to one, meaning we’ll at least get five games. I predicted seven games for this series, and so far, the prediction looks solid. The Dodgers have plenty of power in their lineup, but the Rays always seem to find ways to win, whether that’s solid pitching, solid fielding, or timely hitting.
After a day off from baseball, both bullpens are rejuvenated. However, these teams are sending out ace pitchers that can both pitch five innings or more without interruption.
Walker Buehler will get the start for the Dodgers. He went 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA in the regular season. However, during the postseason he has been the best pitcher for the Dodgers. In four starts, he’s got an ERA of 1.89 and has limited his last three starts to just two runs in 15 innings.
Buehler had struggled with his command early in the postseason, but in his last start against the Braves, he walked no batters in six innings. In that start, he still allowed seven hits but struck out six using 89 pitches.
Before that start, Buehler had walked 11 batters in 13 innings. Of course, throughout the postseason, he’s been able to limit damage and pitch around runners on base. But every pitcher would rather not have to worry about runners on base.
In every start, he’s allowed plenty of runners on base. During his first start, he allowed three hits and two walks for five total base runners in four innings. In the second start, he allowed six base runners between four walks and two hits in four innings. In his third start, Buehler allowed eight base runners in five innings with five walks and three hits.
Lastly, he allowed seven runners in six innings in his final NLCS start. Buehler has allowed 26 fly balls to 17 ground balls. His strikeout numbers are high with 29 in 19 innings, and he’s going up against a team that strikes out over 26 percent of the time against righties.
Plus, while he’s allowing fly balls, only two have actually left the yard. This season, Buehler was dominant early in starts and struggled the third time around orders. It’s a small sample size, but Buehler had a .103 average against when facing an order for the first time. His second time around the order, he had a .212 average, but the third time around the order he had a .400 average.
On the flip side, Charlie Morton will get the start for the Rays in the third game of the World Series. Morton had a shaky regular season where he went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA in nine starts.
That hasn’t been the case in the postseason. In three starts, Morton is 3-0 with a .57 ERA. He’s allowed just four walks in 15.2 innings and one earned run (two runs) off 11 hits. Morton has also struck out 17 and induced nearly 50 percent of ground balls.
Morton had a 3.18 ERA on the road this season and pitched much better away from home. He held batters to a .227 average on the road in 17 innings, allowing six runs on 15 hits.
The one glaring issue this season was how he fared against right-handed pitching. Righties hit .304 against Morton this season in 92 at-bats. Lefties and righties both had an on-base percentage of over .330 and a slugging percentage over .400.
But in the postseason, he’s been a different pitcher. During the regular season, he struggled as he went deeper into the game. Walks went down but hits went up for Morton. His strikeouts also took a dip as he went deeper into games this season.
Both of these pitchers have high strikeout numbers within the last couple of years. We can’t go off of those stats for this game. We’ve seen that most regular season stats and stats from multiple years just don’t work in the postseason.
The Dodgers have a projected opponent weighted batting average of .335 while the Rays have a projected .318 weighted average. The Dodgers have a better lineup and hit righties well this season.
Meanwhile, the Rays are striking out no matter the pitcher. Buehler has high strikeout numbers. This is why his MLB odds are set at 7.5 for total strikeouts. That’s a high number, and Buehler can absolutely hit it. But again, you’re asking for a lot to go right for Buehler. He’s had two outings in the postseason with just four innings.
It’s going to be every night, but I love the Dodgers bats yet again. The entire lineup hits with plenty of hard contact against righties this season. Only Chris Taylor has limited hard contact against righties. Morton has struggled against righties, and therefore Mookie Betts and Justin Turner are both solid options for total bases.
Cody Bellinger has destroyed righties in the last couple of seasons. Bellinger limits strikeouts against righties and hits 46.5 percent hard contact. Some of the best sportsbooks have Betts, Turner, Corey Seager, and Will Smith at over 1.5 total bases. Bellinger’s is set at .5 at -175. One base hit is all we need.
MLB Pick: Cody Bellinger Over .5 Total Bases (-175) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)