The World Series is tied 1-1, but the Dodgers are still in clear control

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith celebrates with outfielder Cody Bellinger during World Series game against the Tampa Bay Rays
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Andrew Ortenberg

MLB · 1 year ago

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

The Tampa Bay Rays picked up a desperately needed win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series to even things at one game apiece. While things are knotted heading into Friday’s Game 3, that doesn’t mean this is a 50/50 proposition, and the Dodgers are still in clear control of this series.

Starting pitching moving forward

The Dodgers used a bullpen day in Game 2 without using any of their top options, while the Rays pitched former Cy Young winner Blake Snell. As such, I wasn’t too surprised by the result. With Snell and Tyler Glasnow out of the way, Tampa Bay doesn’t have any more appealing starting pitching options to go to.

The Dodgers saved Walker Buehler for Game 3, and they’ll have a huge edge on the mound on Friday. Charlie Morton will start for the Rays, and the 36-year-old is coming off a regular season where he had a 4.74 ERA. He’s pitched well in a few postseason starts, but he gave up a ton of hard-hit fly balls and I think he got pretty lucky.

Buehler has been downright dominant in the postseason, with a 1.89 ERA and whopping 29 strikeouts in 19 innings. After Morton the Rays have no more starters, and they’ll need to go with bullpen days. The Dodgers on the other hand will have young stud Julio Urias, who has only given up one earned run in 16 playoff innings this year, pitching in Game 4.

Los Angeles is going to have a mismatch in the pitching in both Game 3 & 4, and then they’ll have ace Clayton Kershaw back toeing the rubber in Game 5. When handicapping this series moving forward, it’s undeniable that the Dodgers have the pitching edge.

Offense

It’s a simple fact that Los Angeles has the better lineup as well. Guys like Mookie Betts and Corey Seager have been absolutely on fire, and it’s impossible to slow down all of the Dodgers’ stars on any given night. Through 16 playoff games, the Rays are hitting only .213 with an OPS of .703 as a team.

That’s a sharp drop from the .252 and .815 that the Dodgers have so far during the postseason. Los Angeles also has the benefit of already having played a full series in this unique Globe Life Field before this, as its dimensions can be quite hard to figure out for hitters.

After Betts and Seager the Dodgers have Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Will Smith and Cody Bellinger backing them up, and even on their best day Tampa Bay’s lineup will never have that kind of upside. Wednesday night was the first time in 12 games that the Rays topped five runs, and that’s far too anemic to best the Dodgers in a seven-game series.

The bottom line

There’s no reason for the Dodgers to panic after losing a game where the Rays had the best matchup on the mound that they’ll have all season. Los Angeles has the much better pitching options moving forward, and Tampa Bay’s offense has been struggling mightily the whole postseason. The Dodgers are going to be winning their first championship since 1988, and it’s not going to take them seven games to do it.

Want to see our full breakdowns and free picks for every remaining World Series game? Make sure to check out our ‘MLB Picks‘ tab!

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