Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 – 8:09 p.m. ET World Series Game 1 at Globe Life Park
Differences between Los Angeles and Tampa Bay are numerous, but the most glaring is the Dodgers carrying nearly four times the payroll as the Rays. Of course, the most significant similarity shared by the Dodgers and Rays is they’re about to square off in the 2020 World Series, and the size of a player’s paycheck matters not.
In a crazy season that could’ve easily given is a pair of third-place division teams meeting in the Fall Classic, it is the two No. 1 seeds from the expanded playoffs that made it through. Bookmaker has the Dodgers as -220 favorites to win their seventh World Championship, and -175 to get things off to a winning note on Tuesday behind veteran Clayton Kershaw (8-3, 2.44)
Betting the Rays to earn their first Series title means a +184 payday, and +157 to upset LA in the Series opener. Tuesday’s total is 7½, and is priced to the ‘under’ at many shops.
Rays & Dodgers Combine To Hit 43 HR In Playoffs
Another big disparity between the clubs is on offense where the Dodgers led the majors averaging 5.82 runs per game while the Rays finished 12th a full run back. A big chunk of that difference can be found in the HR column, Los Angeles swatting 118 to again lead all of baseball with Tampa Bay hitting 81, 14th in the bigs.
In 14 playoff games thus far, the Rays scored at a decreased clip, averaging just better than four runs a game which led to nine of those contests falling short of totals on MLB odds boards. The home run output increased, however, with Tampa Bay’s lineup cranking 25 out of the park. Randy Arozarena is behind that with seven homers in the postseason, four of them coming in the ALCS win over Houston. The rookie hit seven total in his 25 regular-season games.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, is plating October runs right at the same rate from the regular season, the Dodgers scoring 69 in their 12 playoff games (5.75 RPG). Their HR numbers are down slightly with 18 in the postseason, six of those clubbed by Corey Seager with five during the 7-game NLCS triumph against Atlanta.
Kershaw Guile vs. Glasnow Gas
Earning the nod to start a World Series is a great honor for any pitcher, but it’s got to be a bit unexpected for a pitcher like Glasnow who has only worked more than 100 innings in one of his five major league seasons. The 6-foot-8 flamethrower certainly made his 57.1 IP during the regular season count, averaging 14.3 K/9 which would have led baseball if he hadn’t fallen a couple of innings short of qualifying.
Glasnow added 25 more strikeouts during his 19+ innings this October, and he’ll be making his first career start against the Dodgers on Tuesday. His only experience against them came in 2018 when he was with Pittsburgh, three relief outings totaling four innings with LA scoring six times. Cody Bellinger took Glasnow deep twice in those appearances.
While Glasnow is making his seventh postseason appearance, all starts, Kershaw will be appearing in his 36th playoff game and starting his 29th. His first two outings this October went well, but the last one against the Braves ended in a 10-2 loss last Thursday with top-rated sportsbooks listing the Dodger -200 of higher. Kershaw has faced the Rays twice before, in 2013 and 2019, winning both with a combined 14.1 innings and three runs allowed.
Series Trends, Umpire Notes & A Free Pick
What little bit of interleague history between the clubs finds the Dodgers with a 10-7 lead, that margin built with a sweep at home in Los Angeles during the 2013 season. The last eight matchups between the teams were played out in 2-game, home-&-home scheduling in 2016 and 2019, with the Dodgers and Rays splitting all four of those quick sets. All four of the 2019 clashes were’ over’ winners.
Bill Miller will chief the 7-man umpire crew for the Series, and is joined by Jerry Meals, Mark Carlson, Laz Diaz, Chris Guccione, Marvin Hudson, and Todd Tichenor. It will be Diaz (5-8 O/U) behind the plate for Game 1, while Tichenor sits in preparation to call balls and strikes in Game 2. It’s the ‘new normal.’ This is Diaz’s third playoff series this October, having worked the Astros-Twins ALWC and Astros-A’s ALDS.
I like the sticks to come through in the opener, and will make my MLB pick on the ‘over’ between the Rays and Dodgers.