The first game of the 2020 MLB World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays got off to a very quiet start indeed. In fact, the first three innings were so quiet you could hear the players talking. It was like everyone was a little afraid of speaking up. That was the end of the silence, though, and the rest of the game was a fight for domination before the Dodgers prevailed, 8-3.
The Dodgers Pull Ahead
Long, tall Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers came up to bat and woke up the entire stadium with a no doubter, 2-run homer in the fourth inning. The joy on his face as he rounded the bases told the whole story. The Dodgers want very badly to win the 2020 World Series. They have been there before. Three out of the last four MLB World Series events featured the Dodgers. But LA was defeated in 2017 by the Houston Astros and again in 2018 by the Boston Red Sox.
Now, the Dodgers are back once again at MLB’s main attraction, and they really, really want to win it all this time around. They have the players to do it with, too. The team’s President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman (who is also the former GM of the Rays), and his staff have done a remarkable job of putting together the best team that the Dodgers have fielded for years.
LA even signed All Star right fielder Mookie Betts to a 12-year contract that will pay him over $300M, and he’s earning it in the World Series. Friedman and company got a good look at Betts during the 2018 World Series in which Betts, the AL MVP, played a significant role in the five-game series win over the Dodgers.
The first game of the 2020 World Series started at Dodgers -172 O/7.5 but then it dropped down to -161 by first pitch time. That was with Clayton Kershaw pitching. Tonight’s contest will find Tony Gonsolin on the mound, but, oddly enough, the odds have dropped even lower on the morning line for game two.
The Dodgers are listed at -145 O/8. Perhaps that is because it is widely known that manager Dave Roberts likes to start Gonsolin and see what he can get out of him, then bring on Julio Urias or Dustin May. Those two guys will scare the hell out of most batters who come up against them.
The Rays Aren’t Out Of It Yet
These are the same Tampa Bay Rays that just went seven games in the ALCS with the Houston Astros after they had polished off none other than the New York Yankees in the previous playoff series. These guys are not afraid of anything, and they are not afraid to show it. There are no big-name stars on the Rays roster, but several members of that Tampa Bay team are destined to MLB stardom at some point soon.
In Game 1 in Arlington, they faced a pitcher whom many have called “the best on the planet,” and when he is on, he is right up there with the best. But Kershaw has gotten a sort of bad rep for his post season performances, which seem a bit silly when you consider that his victory in Game 1 makes 12 post season wins and puts him up there with the best pitchers that ever played the game.
Clayton went a full 6 innings, was hit twice and struck out 8 before Roberts pulled him out of the game with the scoreboard reading 8-1 in favor of the Dodgers – best to save his ace for the upcoming games. Before the game was over, the Dodgers would allow Tampa to score two more runs for an 8-3 finish, but was never in any real danger.
This series easily fall into the category of “no easy task” for both the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s going to be war.