The two top-ranked teams in baseball this year are tied at one game apiece heading into game three on Friday. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays have given fans amazing moments in the first two games, with plenty more action to be played this weekend.
Heading into the series, the Dodgers are the favorites with their heavy offensive lineup. The Rays come in with a better pitching rotation and a slightly better bullpen. These two teams were the best in their respective divisions all year long. Now playing for a championship in October, each team looks for a key win in game three to go up in the series.
The Dodgers clearly have more World Series experience. Their players have played a combined total of 123 World Series games, compared to Tampa Bay’s two. Those two games were pitched in by Charlie Morton, who will take the mound on Friday evening. If there was not a better time for experience, Morton will face Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler.
With both top-tier pitchers getting the start, the win will depend on the offenses of each club and which will have to go to their bullpen first. The Dodgers took game one with their powerful offense, scoring eight runs, and pitcher Clayton Kershaw of Los Angeles only let up two hits.
In game two, the Rays came to play, scoring early and never looking back. Blake Snell had an impressive outing for Tampa, limiting the Dodgers offensively. Game three will come down to which starting pitcher can last the longest.
Jeffrey Wear, an avid Rays fan and senior earth and environmental science major at Montclair State University, gave his keys to how his beloved team can win game three.
“Guys like Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle need to continue getting consistent contact at bat, [and] I like our chances with Charlie Morton on the bump,” Wear said.
Wear explained how his favorite team can win the Series, finally bringing the first championship to Tampa Bay.
“We have to make them play our style of ball, keeping the game close and jumping out to early leads. If we can do these things, and keep our bullpen well rested, we should be able to go the distance,” Wear said.
What Wear really wants people to know about the Rays is how good of a job they do with the least amount of money to work with. With the entire Tampa Bay payroll adding up to less than 10% of Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts’ contract, it goes to show that money can only get you so far.
“They just want to play baseball and that’s the main reason [the Rays] beat teams who pay millions of dollars more,” Wear said.
As for the Dodgers, this is their third World Series run in the last four years. Having the second biggest payroll in the league, the Los Angeles team is filled with stars, compared to the Rays who rarely get any love. Considering the big differences between these two teams, they play similarly on the field.
Steve Luisa, a senior finance major, has seen this effort before from the Dodgers, his favorite team, but this year feels a little bit different.
“They have looked dominant all year, I truly believe the players love their team and the game,” Luisa said.
The Rays are clear underdogs in this battle, but Luisa feels as though the Dodgers have something to prove because of attempts they have missed in the past.
“People don’t like the Dodgers because they have been winning a lot in recent years,” Luisa said. “They have the more talented players with a chip on their shoulders.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers bring history, stardom and plenty of money. Tampa Bay is a small market team with a fraction of the payroll. Both of these teams earned their way to this moment and know how to win. Two different franchises are competing for one goal: to raise that World Series trophy and bring their fans and clubs a championship.