With everything the MLB has had to deal with this year, kudos to them for making it to the World Series. From labor disagreements to COVID breakouts, it seemed like the season was doomed from the beginning. Fortunately, Rob Manfred was able to pull off a fake 60 game season to crown a champion in 2020.
The World Series this year is no joke. I truly believe the two best teams are playing for the title. Both the Rays and Dodgers were able to close out their LCS with thrilling game 7 victories.
The Dodgers are an absolute powerhouse. Their lineup is loaded with star power and their pitching staff can match up against anyone in the league. They have a payroll close to $222 million, but one question always looms. Can they get over the hump? They've been close the past few years and had a potential championship stolen from them thanks to the Astros in 2017. Despite all the disappointment in the playoffs, they return every year as contenders.
On the other side, you have the pesky Tampa Bay Rays. Remember the movie Moneyball? Their team might as well be modeled after that movie. The Rays are the store brand version of the Dodgers. Although they have a loaded lineup, a casual fan wouldn't be able to name a single player. Their pitching staff is probably the best in baseball with everyone throwing 100+ mph. Despite lacking star power, they seem to have someone they can plug into any situation and contribute. They finished with the best record in the American League, but it's fun to view them as "the underdogs".
It's astonishing to see how little the Rays spent on their roster.
There's plenty of ways to win baseball games in 2020.
I'm going to breakdown this series by pitching, hitting, and manager.
The main storyline of this World Series is whether Clayton Kershaw can finally get a ring. In my opinion, he's the best starting pitcher of our generation. It's tough to make that call over guys like Verlander or Scherzer, but Kershaw's numbers during his prime speak for themselves. From 2011-2014, Kershaw won the Cy Young Award three times, led the league in ERA four times, and won an MVP. He was truly unhittable during that time until he got to the playoffs. If the Dodgers win, I think people will look past his playoff woes.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the Rays have a better pitching staff. It's hard to find a starting rotation of what the Rays have in Snell, Glasnow, and Morton. All three are capable of pitching deep into games. If they get hit early, there's a ton of pitching in the bullpen that can throw 100+ mph. It's tough for me to pick against the Dodgers because I love Dustin May.
Whenever I watch this red-headed freak dropping f-bombs on the mound, it makes me feel some type of way. The Dodgers have some quality arms too, but as of now I have more faith in the Rays starters and bullpen. Depth is going to matter a lot considering they could play seven games in eight days. It'll be interesting to see how Cash and Roberts manage their pitching staff. We all know what Cash thinks about his pitchers.
This is easy. No need to overthink it. The Dodgers have the best lineup in baseball because they can do things like this.
Betts, Bellinger, Turner, Seager, Muncy, and the list goes on. Pretty scary to see those names scattered across the lineup card. Although they found themselves down to the Braves, this lineup came up with a clutch hit every time they needed one. I mean, this home run from Bellinger is one of the sweetest pimp jobs of all time.
Being able to hit 400+ foot moon shots along with being one of the most handsome men in the world? Sigh, some men truly have all the luck. Regardless, this Dodgers lineup has swagger, and anyone can take you deep in that lineup. It's still ridiculous to me they casually added Mookie Betts to their roster.
The Rays don't come close to the star power the Dodgers have but they still have an exceptional lineup. Remember when I said this is a Moneyball team? You'll see what I mean when you have no idea who I'm talking about. To start, Randy Arozarena has been the best hitter in baseball. He's hitting .382 with seven home runs and 10 RBIs in the playoffs. He also has an on-base percentage of .433 and OPS of 1.288. The lineup is balanced throughout, with contributions from guys like Ji Man Choi and Mike Zunino.
Although the Rays lineup has been producing all year with what looks like a minor league all-star team, I just can't go against these Dodgers' bats.
Dave Roberts has had multiple cracks at the title but never got over the top as a manager. He hasn't won a World Series since he helped end Boston's drought with this rotten little slide in the 2004 ALCS.
People may disagree due to his postseason failures, but I consider Roberts one of the best managers in the game. Unfortunately for him, I think Kevin Cash is better.
Cash has called an almost flawless playoff run with the moves he's making. From pinch-hit situations to managing the bullpen, no manager has played it better than him. With only one off day in the entire series, both managers need a flawless game plan because one wrong move can change their entire outcome.
These two teams are pretty evenly matched, so the edge is going to go to the manager that makes the fewest mistakes. With the best analytical team and hungry players behind him, I'm giving the edge to Kevin Cash.
My official prediction: Rays in seven games. These teams are so close that I think it goes the distance. Like I just mentioned, I think the series is going to be decided by which manager makes the fewest mistakes. I trust Cash more than Roberts to execute those decisions. It's going to be a heavyweight brawl, so sit back, relax, and listen to Joe Buck make unenthusiastic home run calls.
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