MLB World Series Preview

MLB+World+Series+Preview

Mason Collins, Sports Editor

On Tuesday, Oct 20, at 8:10 p.m., the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers kicked off the first game of the World Series. The World Series took place at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, which is a neutral site for both teams. 

 

Tampa Bay finished with a 40-20 record, winning the American East for the first time since 2010. They clinched the number one seed in the American League and hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wildcard series. In a best two out of three series, Tampa Bay didn’t need a third game, defeating Toronto 3-1 in game one and cruising by a score of 8-2 in game two. 

 

The Rays then traveled across the country to San Diego, in a best three out of five matchup with their division rival, the New York Yankees. After stumbling in game one, losing 9-3, Tampa bounced back, winning the next two games by a score of 7-5 and 8-4. Left Fielder Randy Arozerena, who was acquired by St. Louis, had a tremendous first three games, going 8-12 with a homerun in all three games. The Rays’ bats then went cold in game four, managing to score just one run in three hits, losing 5-1 and evening the series at two games a piece. 

 

In a pivotal game five, Tampa Bay had bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the first inning, but they left those runners on base stranded and failed to score any runs. Losing 1-0 in the fifth inning, Austin Meadows got Tampa Bay on the board, tying the game with a homerun just over the arm of right fielder Aaron Judge. Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Mike Brosseau gave Tampa a 2-1 lead, hitting a homerun off of Yankees closer Arlodis Chapman.

 

Two runs was all Tampa Bay needed, surviving and advancing to the ALCS for the first time since 2008. 

 

In game one versus the Houston Astros, two runs was all they needed to produce.. Blake Snell pitched a solid five innings, allowing one run, and Randy Arozerena continued his dominant postseason performance with another homerun. Game two was a cruising win for Tampa Bay after right fielder Manuel Marogt hit a three run homerun in the first inning, winning 4-2 and taking a 2-0 lead in the series. 

 

Tampa Bay continued to keep rolling the following day, scoring all of their runs in the sixth inning and keeping the momentum going, winning 5-2 and just one win away from the World Series. In a series that looked dead in the water, Houston pushed the series all the way to game seven, making them the second team in MLB history to even the series down trailing three games to zero. 

 

With the winner going to the World Series, Arozerena, back for more, gave Tampa Bay an early lead, hitting his seventh homerun in the postseason. Catcher Mike Zunino expanded the lead with a two run home run of his own. Houston was able to score two runs in the eighth inning, but it was too little too late. Pitcher Pete Fiarbanks got third baseman Aledmys Diaz to fly out to right field for the last out in the ninth inning, clinching the Rays a spot in the World Series. 

 

Similar to Tampa Bay, Los Angeles also finished with the best record in the National League, going 43-17, finishing with the best record in the MLB. In the Wildcard series, the Dodgers pitching set the tone, allowing just two runs, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in two games. 

 

Starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler went a combined 12 innings, allowing one run on just six hits. Mookie Betts made a nice playoff debut with his new team, going 3-7 with two doubles and three runs batted in. 

 

Los Angeles then made the trip to Arlington Texas, in a division matchup with the San Diego Padres. In a best three out of five series, the Dodgers handled their business, sweeping the Padres. Game one was led by San Diego until the sixth inning when Los Angeles put up five consecutive runs, winning by a score of 5-1. 

 

After defeating the Padres 6-5 in game two, Los Angeles put the finishing touches on the series, scoring double digit runs. Catcher Will Smith had an explosive day, going 5-6 with three runs batted in. Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock also had a productive game, combining for four hits and four runs batted in. Los Angeles went on to score 12 runs, sending the Padres packing by a score of 12-3. 

 

The first two games of the NLCS did not start as planned for the Dodgers, losing the first two games to the Atlanta Braves by a combined score of 13-8. With their backs against the wall in game three, Los Angeles made a statement in the first inning, scoring 11 runs. The dodgers scored 15 runs, on 16 hits and 5 home runs, defeating the Braves by 12 runs. Atlanta then bounced back in game four scoring 10 runs, sending Los Angeles to the brink of elimination. 

 

Down 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Cory Seager gave the Dodgers life again, hitting a solo homerun just over the glove of centerfielder Colin Pache. Catcher Will Smith broke the game open after hitting a towering home run in the left field seats. Cory Seager added another home run that night, and Los Angeles inched one game closer to the World Series. Against ace pitcher Max Fried, the Dodgers struck quickly, scoring three runs with home runs by Cory Seager, and Justin Turner. Walker Buehler set the tone early, pitching six innings and allowing no runs. Los Angeles won the game comfortably 3-1, forcing a win or go home game seven matchup. 

 

Marcell Ozuna gave Atlanta the lead early in the top of the first, hitting a single into leftfield which scored Ronald Acuna. Swanson extended the lead in the second inning with a titanic 434 feet home run to left center field. Down 2-0 in the third inning, Will Smith with one swing of the bat tied the game at two, with a single to right center field, scoring Justin Turner and Max Muncy. 

 

Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Cody Bellinger sent Los Angeles to the World Series, crushing a homerun deep into the right field seats. Pitcher Julio Urias got the win and the save, sitting down nine consecutive Braves’ batters in just 39 pitches. 

 

World Series Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays, despite losing multiple pitchers in the regular season due to injury, still have more depth at the starters and bullpen role. With both lineups having no weaknesses, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a slight advantage with more all around hatters, such as Mookie Betts, Cory Seager and Cody Bellinger. 

 

In a World Series that will probably last at least six games, I believe the Dodgers have the right amount of pieces at both the hitting and pitching side to edge out close games against a young Tampa team that doesn’t have any World Series experience. 

 

Prediction: After Los Angeles showed off their power in game one of the world series, Tampa Bay responded back with a game two victory 6-4. With the series tied at one game a piece, I predict the Dodgers hitting at the end will be too much for the Tampa Bay pitching staff to handle. If the dodgers can get another good pitching day from Clayton Kershaw and a productive start from Walker Buehler, I believe the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the World Series in 7 games.