Now we get to the game with the two post-season aces. And the pivotal Game 3 of the World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers looked as if they were going to pound the Tampa Bay Rays into submission in Game 1.
Tampa Bay evened things up with a 6-4 victory on Wednesday, in which BetAnySports patrons could see that the Dodgers were playing catch-up all the way.
Blake Snell, the winner of the AL Cy Young award in 2018, was somewhat overpowering against the Dodgers, striking out nine batters before leaving with two outs in the fifth inning. Aside from that, it was pretty much the Brandon Lowe show, with two homers.
The Dodgers got three round-trippers, including one from the red-hot Corey Seager, but they failed time and again with runners on base. They also found out about the downside of bullpenning - that if you use a lot of pitchers, one of them is bound to be off his game. In this case, it was Dustin May, got four men out but gave up four hits and three runs.
For Game 3, it's a battle of right-handers, as Walker Buehler goes for the Dodgers against Charlie Morton of the Rays.
In the World Series betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Dodgers are the favorites:
Los Angeles Dodgers -145 (Buehler - R)
Tampa Bay Rays +135 (Morton - R)
Over 7.5 Runs +100
Under 7.5 Runs -120
Rays +1.5 Runs -135
Dodgers -1.5 Runs +115
An offensive metric called Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) greatly favors the Dodgers here, in the respect that when it comes to facing right-handers, they have the best figure in all of Major League Baseball.
And they have a pretty good guy on the mound to go against a team that loves breaking stuff and off-speed pitches a lot more than fastballs. And Buehler's fastball is blazing. In the NLCS he worked eleven innings, allowing just one run with 13 strikeouts. However, Buehler did walk five people, which indicates that a patient club - which Tampa Bay is - could have some success.
Morton was better at keeping the ball in the park this season, allowing a little less than a homer every nine innings. But he was hit harder and compiled a so-so WHIP ratio of almost 1.40. There were injury issues for him, but he has come alive in the post-season. In the ALCS, for example, he went 10-2/3 innings without giving up an earned run. He is the only Rays player who had appeared in a World Series game prior to this season. And he will mix his pitches up a lot more than Buehler will.
It can be argued that the Dodgers have not gone with their best out of the bullpen, as neither Brusdar Graterol nor Kenley Jansen have gotten the call from Dave Roberts in the first two games. It's kind of difficult to say which of these clubs has the better bullpen, because such a measurement is a moment-to-moment thing. But the day off does a certain reset, and Tampa Bay looks like the team with more depth out there, although the difference for Game 3 may be negligible.
Except maybe for the fact that the Dodgers, again, hit fastballs better. And that is what you get out of most bullpen stoppers - an inning or so of heat.
We could take the bullpen out of this and simply make it Buehler vs. Morton, in which case we are at a slightly higher price on Los Angeles. The Dodgers have been a 72% proposition against righties over their last sampling of 50. This pitcher might not be a bad matchup against the Rays, and the Dodgers should have occasional success with hard contact against right-handers out of the Rays bullpen. So we're going to go with the favorite here.
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