Dodgers vs. Rays

Dodgers vs. Rays World Series Game 3 | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on October 23, 2020

After an off day Thursday, the World Series picks back up Friday night from the neutral site in Texas as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays play Game 3 – it’s the first time in the series that Tampa Bay is the “home” team, but the Dodgers are still favored on the MLB odds with the series knotted 1-1.

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Why Bet on LA Dodgers? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Going to a bullpen game Wednesday didn’t work well for L.A. in a 6-4 loss as Tony Gonsolin allowed just one run but was pulled after 1 1/3 innings. The Dodgers wound up using seven pitchers in this one and only one of them recorded more than four outs (Alex Wood recorded six).

Chris Taylor had a two-run homer Wednesday, although he struck out in all three of his other plate appearances, including on a check-swing to end the game. NLCS MVP Corey Seager went 2-for-4 with a solo homer Wednesday. The 26-year-old crushed his seventh homer of postseason, the most by a shortstop in a single postseason ever.

The most homers ever hit in a single postseason by any position player is eight, which is a three-way tie held by Nelson Cruz (2011), Carlos Beltran (2004) and Barry Bonds (2002). Catcher Will Smith also went yard.

During the regular season, Los Angeles led the Majors with 118 home runs in 60 games, an average of 1.97 per game. The 1.97 homers per game represent the top mark in MLB history, topping the 2019 Minnesota Twins (1.90). The Dodgers’ previous high came last year when the club averaged 1.72 home runs per game.

It will be Walker Buehler on the mound here. He finished the regular season going 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA (14 ER/36.2 IP) over eight starts, limiting opponents to a .178 average (24-for-135). He struck out 42 batters and walked just 11 during his eight appearance, while posting a 0.95 WHIP and 10.31 strikeout-per-nine innings mark.

Last time out in Game 6 of the NLCS vs. Atlanta, Buehler threw six scoreless innings. Despite giving up seven hits, Buehler struck out six and did not issue a walk as he earned his first win of the 2020 postseason. He also started Game 1, delivering 5.0 solid frames, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out seven and issuing five walks on 100 pitches.

Buehler has made 10 career playoff starts and is 2-1 1 with a 2.44 ERA (15 ER/55.1 IP), striking out 73 batters against 21 walks and limiting opposition to a .182 batting average. He has a 1.03 WHIP and four quality starts and has struck out at least seven batters in nine of his 10 postseason starts.

Buehler has never faced the Rays.

Why Bet on Tampa Bay? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Rays’ offense had been struggling for a while but broke out in Wednesday’s 6-4 win – especially Brandon Lowe. Coming into Game 2, Lowe had gone 6-for-56 this postseason. In none of the Rays’ 15 games had he registered more than one hit. He struck out 19 times.

However, Lowe homered twice in Game 2. He ripped a long opposite-field blast off of Tony Gonsolin as the second batter of the game to open the scoring and hit another one to left off of Dustin May in the fifth inning which hit off the top of the wall and went into the seats for a two-run shot.

Diego Castillo struck out the only batter he faced to nail down a save in Game 2. Aaron Loup was sent back out for the bottom of the ninth inning after striking out Cody

Bellinger to end the eighth. He got another strikeout and a flyout before manager Kevin Cash turned to Castillo. It was his third save of the postseason, matching Pete Fairbanks for the team lead.

The Rays were dominated in a Game 1 loss and have won two postseason series after losing Game 1: the 2020 Division Series vs. NYY and 2008 League Championship Series vs. BOS. The loser of Game 1 of the World Series has come back to win it all 43 of 115 times (37.4 pct.), most recently 2017 (Houston over Dodgers) and 2016 (Cubs over Cleveland). Of the 59 times a World Series has been tied, 1-1, the winner of Game 2 has gone on to win it all on 31 occasions (52.5 percent).

It will be right-hander Charlie Morton on the mound here. He last started Game 7 of the ALCS vs. Houston and didn’t allow a run in 5.2 innings while striking out six. The 36-year-old allowed just two hits and one walk – throwing 48 of his 66 pitches for strikes. Morton has been outstanding this postseason, compiling a 0.57 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 17/4 K/BB ratio across 15 2/3 innings through three starts.

In 12 career postseason appearances, Morton is 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA (57-IP, 18-ER). He is unbeaten in his last nine postseason apps (8 starts), going 7-0 with a 1.45 ERA (43.1-IP, 7-ER) since Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS vs. NYY (with HOU).

Morton is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA (21.1-IP, 10-ER) in four career apps (3 starts) against the Dodgers, including his 2 appearance against them in the 2017 World Series with Houston. He pitched four innings of relief in the Game 7 win, allowing a run on an Andre Ethier RBI single in the 6th inning and recording the win.

Game Trends

  • Dodgers are 44-17 in their last 61 games following an off day.
  • Dodgers are 13-3 in their last 16 interleague games vs. a right-handed starter.
  • Dodgers are 4-0 in their last 4 Friday games.
  • Rays are 5-0 in their last 5 interleague games vs. a right-handed starter.
  • Rays are 6-1 in their last 7 Friday games.
  • Rays are 9-3 in their last 12 games following an off day.
Expert PredictionRays 4, Dodgers 3 
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