|TB (158) @ pinnacle|
My 10* Game 1 Series Opener is on the TB Rays at 8:09 ET.
Both LCS went the full seven games, although each followed a different path. The Rays owned the AL's best regular season record (40-20) and looked every bit the part of the AL's No, 1 seed when they opened a 3-0 lead over the Houston Astros in the ALCS. However, the Astros, who were able to make the expanded 2020 postseason field by finishing second in the AL West despite a 29-31 record, did NOT go easily. Houston had won 100-plus games in each of the previous three seasons and the core of that lineup was still around. Houston won Games 4 and 5 by identical scores of 4-3, before forcing a Game 7 with a 7-4 win in Game 6. Houston entered Game 7 looking to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to comeback from an 0-3 'hole' and win a seven-game series. However, the Rays took Game 7 by the score of 4-2 on the strength of Charlie Morton's pitching (5.2 scoreless innings), Randy Arozarena's two-run HR and a solo HR and sac fly from Mike Zunino. Arozarena was named ALCS MVPa and getting back to Morton, he improved to 3-0 in Game 7 appearances, having beaten the Yankees as a starter in the 2017 ALCS and the Dodgers in relief in the 2017 World Series. In 14.2 career Game 7 innings, he's given up just one run and six hits.
The Dodgers owned MLB's best 60-game record this season (43-17) plus posted a plus-136 run differential that was 52 runs better than any other MLB team. It was 76 runs better than their NLCS opponent (Atlanta) but the Braves took a 3-1 series lead. LA fought back to win Game 5 (7-3) and Game 6 (3-1) setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 against Atlanta rookie Ian Anderson. Anderson made his MLB on August 26 and in six regular season starts, posted a 1.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .172 BAA. He took the mound Sunday night having not allowed a SINGLE run in 15.2 postseason innings, with the Braves winning all three of his starts. As for LA, manager Dave Roberts didn't name a starter until late afternoon. It turned out to be Dustin May, who allowed one run in one inning. Gonsolin followed and allowed two runs in two innings but then Treinen, Graterol and Urias combined for six scoreless and HITLESS innings. Trailing 3-2 in the 6th, pinch-hitter Enrique Hernandez tied it with a solo HR and then Cody Bellinger hit a go-ahead HR in the seventh inning, which turned out to be the game-winner. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was named NLCS MVP with five HRs and 11 RBI in the seven games.
So in the end, the team with the best record in the AL and the team with the best record in the NL, will meet in the 2020 World Series. Just the way it should be, right? That makes sense but I should note that it's only the FOURTH time in the wild-card era (since 1995)that the teams with the best record in each league will meet in the World Series. The Game 1 starters will be Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow and LA's Clayton Kershaw.
The 6-foot-8 Glasnow opened the 2019 season 5–0 with a 1.75 ERA, earning him American League Pitcher of the Month honors for April. However, after straining his arm against the Yankees on May 10, Glasnow went to the 10 Day IL. He went to the 60 day IL on May 26, before returning in September to make four starts. He did not get past the fifth inning in any of them, finishing the 2019 season with a 6–1 record and a 1.78 ERA in 60.2 innings (0.89 WHIP and .186 BAA) over 12 starts (Rays were 10-2). However, he made two starts in the playoffs against the Astros, losing both while posting a 7.71 ERA. Glasnow opened 0-0 (team was 1-2) over his first three starts of 2020 (5.56 ERA) but he allowed just two ERs or less in SIX of his last eight regular season starts (allowed three and four ERs in the other two), as the Rays won ALL eight of those starts. The Rays then won his first three starts of the 2020 postseason, extending that run of winning starts to 11 in a row. That streak ended in Game 4 of the ALCS when the Astros refused to get swept by winning 4-3. Glasnow allowed four ERs in six innings and takes the mound tonight 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in four postseason starts (Rays are 3-1). He has struck out 25 in 19.1 innings but has served up six HRs.
Kershaw needs little introduction. He's won three CY Young awards (2011, 2013 and 2014) and Kershaw went 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts in the 2020 regular season (Dodgers were 8-2 in those starts). He opened the current postseason winning his first two starts, allowing three ERs over 14 innings (1.93 ERA) with a 19-1 KW ratio. However, his past playoff woes were on full display in his most recent outing, Game 4 of the NLCS. That contest was tied 1-1 after five innings but after the Braves shut the Dodgers down in the 6th, they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth-inning, chasing Kershaw and breaking the game wide-open. Kershaw never got an out in the 6th, leaving after allowing four runs in five innings. The 10-2 loss put the Dodgers in an 0-3 'hole' but as we all know, LA rallied with THREE straight wins.
Kershaw's postseason history is a 'broken record.' He is just 11-12 with a 4.31 ERA in 35 career postseason appearances (28 starts) and in his two World Series appearances (2017 and 2018) he is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five appearances (four starts). The Dodgers are 1-3 in those four starts, as Kershaw has allowed 21 hits and 16 ERs over 22.2 innings for a 6.35 ERA.
I just couldn't be comfortable backing Kershaw and Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has been masterful in 'working' his pitching staff. A Tampa Bay starter has only lasted six innings in just TWO of the Rays' 14 games. That said, Glasnow's two six-inning outings accounted for BOTH of them. I CAN'T resist taking this HUGE price with Glasnow against Kershaw.