Rays vs Dodgers

Road to the World Series for Rays and Dodgers | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on October 19, 2020

The Tampa Bay Rays have never won a World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of MLB’s most successful franchises overall and are in the Fall Classic for the third time in the past four years, but they haven’t won a title since 1988. One drought will end as the franchises meet in this year’s World Series starting Tuesday from a neutral site outside Dallas. The Dodgers are -210 series favorites after leading the majors in wins during the regular season. The Rays were second in wins and are +175 on the MLB odds.

World Series for Rays and Dodgers | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

These franchises are very different. The Dodgers can outspend every club other than perhaps the Yankees and sell out nearly every game – when there’s not a pandemic. They are nationally known. The Rays are a penny-pinching team that has no stars. However, they do share one thing in common: Andrew Freidman.

Friedman became the president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2015 campaign. Since then, the Dodgers have won more games than anybody in the majors. Before that, he was the general manager of the Rays. When Friedman assumed the GM role with Tampa Bay before the 2006 season, the franchise had never won more than 70 games in a season and appeared nowhere near contention.

The Rays’ and Dodgers’ combined regular season win pct of .692 is the highest in a World Series ever.  The previous mark belonged to the 1906 Cubs & White Sox (.690).

Rays Are An Anonymous Bunch

Tampa Bay had little trouble in the Wild-Card Round this year in sweeping out Toronto. It was much tougher in the ALDS as the Rays beat the Yankees 2-1 in the clinching Game 5. Mike Brosseau hit a dramatic home run off Aroldis Chapman with one out in the eighth inning. It was the first career postseason homer for the 26-year-old utilityman and got the Rays to the ALCS for the first time in 12 years.

The Rays took a 3-0 lead over the Houston Astros in the ALCS but were pushed to a Game 7 on Saturday. Tampa won that 4-2. Rookie Randy Arozarena was named the ALCS MVP. He was a throw-in during an offseason trade from St. Louis. In seven games, Arozarena torched Houston pitching to the tune of four homers, a .321 average and an 1.152 OPS.

Arozarena became first rookie position player in MLB history to win an LCS or World Series MVP Award. The only previous three players to win one were all pitchers — Mike Boddicker (1983 ALCS MVP), Livan Hernández (’97 NLCS and World Series MVP) and Michael Wacha (2013 NLCS MVP).

The Rays opened the season ranking 28th in the majors in payroll. The only team to reach the World Series since 1998 with a lower ranking? The 2008 Rays.

Dodgers Were Favored All Year

Once L.A. acquired Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox in February, the Dodgers became the odds-on World Series favorite. They did not disappoint, racing to a 43-17 record and posting a plus-136 run differential, both by far the best in baseball.

They swept the Brewers in the Wild-Card Round and the Padres in the NLDS but were down 2-0 and 3-1 in the NLCS vs. the Braves before rallying. L.A. won Game 7 on Sunday, 4-3. The Dodgers hit 16 HR in the NLCS, matching the 2008 Rays for the most in a single series in MLB postseason history.

It was the 11th time in the 35 all-time best-of-7 NLCS series for the victor to be crowned in a winner-take-all Game 7. It was also the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in LCS play since 2012 (SF came back to beat STL in 7 G).

The 2020 season marked just the 3rd time since the LCS round went to a best-of-7 format for both the ALCS and NLCS to last the full 7 games. The Dodgers are the 8th team to win an LCS after trailing 3-1 in the series. The last 4 teams to do it all won the World Series.

The Dodgers are back for the third time in four seasons, the first team to do that since the Yankees in 2000, 2001 and 2003. It’s the 63rd instance in major league history that a team has reached three World Series in a four-year span — most of those overlapping Yankees teams — and only two teams among the group did not a win a World Series, the 1907-09 Tigers and 1911-13 Giants.

The Dodgers’ NLCS roster included 12 players who have been All-Stars in their careers, for a total of 26 appearances. The Rays’ roster features four All-Stars with five appearances.

Former NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager was named the NLCS MVP after batting .310/.333/.897 (9-29) with 5 HR, 2 2B, 11 RBI, 7 total XBH, 8 R, and 26 total bases. He became the 8th player in MLB history with at least 6 HR and 15 RBI in a single postseason, joining Houston’s Carlos Correa (6 HR/17 RBI in 2020 ALCS) as players to do it in 2020. Seager’s 11 RBI and 26 total bases in the NLCS were most by a Dodger in a single postseason series in franchise history.

Series Prediction Dodgers in six
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