2020 World Series Preview

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Costas Tzoumas, Guest Reporter

This year’s Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason is in full swing. The playoffs are usually characterized by drama, energy, storylines and a fan frenzy. This year’s MLB postseason will not have the fan frenzy and atmosphere as per usual. With 16 teams making it to the postseason this year, the storylines and drama have taken center stage in a star-studded postseason. Right now, baseball is on the brink of an exciting World Series matchup where the Tampa Bay Rays will represent the American League (AL) and take on the National League (NL) representative, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Coming off a seven game series versus the Houston Astros, the Tampa Bay Rays are looking to continue their post season momentum. The Rays have been doubted all season due to their unwillingness to spend money in the offseason and sign “star power.” The way the Rays have built their team has been a long and more balanced approach. They drafted and developed most of their players in their own system, while trading for cast offs from other teams and turning them into superstars. Their rotation is led by former Cy Young award winner Blake Snell, former Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton and former Pittsburgh Pirate Tyler Glasnow. This three-headed monster of all-star pitchers is the major reason why the Rays were able to win the American League East division this year and make it this far in the playoffs. The starting and relief pitching has been extraordinary this postseason, and combining that with timely hitting is a recipe for success. Led by another former Pirate, Austin Meadows, the Rays potent offense continues its theme of unlikely heroes. Meadows has struggled with injuries this season, but he is poised for a return this postseason, and, when he does return, he will provide a boost to the lineup. Randy Arozarena has filled in for Meadow’s absence perfectly. Arozarena has the most hits this postseason. He is the leading candidate for playoff MVP and looks to continue his hot streak through the World Series. 

Switching gears to the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hungry for a championship. They have been thought of as the best team in baseball all year. With the offseason acquisition of superstar outfielder and former MVP Mookie Betts, the Dodgers are poised to make a deep postseason run. The Dodgers have three former MVPs with starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, outfielder Cody Bellinger and the aforementioned Betts. The Dodgers have a star-studded lineup that is deeper than just Bellinger and Betts. They have former all stars up and down the lineup including third baseman Justin Turner, shortstop Corey Seager and first baseman Max Muncy. Their offense has been potent all year and this is likely to continue throughout the playoffs. Not only do the Dodgers have one of the best lineups in the league, they also have one of the best starting pitching rotations in the league. Their rotation is highlighted by Clayton Kershaw and rising star Walker Buehler. Buehler has emerged as the ace in the rotation this season by blowing away batters with his 98 mph fastball and an electric curveball. The Dodgers have been to the World Series two of the last three seasons, losing both of them. 

The World Series is set for a dramatic affair between the star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers and the scrappy Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays will utilize their strong starting rotation and bullpen to gain an edge in this series. The Rays have been doubted all year and are the underdogs in this series. While the Rays will win with their pitching and defense, the Dodgers will win with their formidable offense. Clayton Kershaw could solidify his legendary legacy with a World Series ring. The Rays could defy all odds and prove to the baseball world that the richest do not always win. There is a lot at stake during this World Series.