By ISM Staff


Ok, guys, the hardest thing to do in any sport is make a repeat trip to a championship game.  So, with that being said and I’m talkin’ to all of you, I don’t expect a Dodgers – Rays Part II come October and here’s why.

First, neither team is going to “sneak up” on anyone this year.  They’re the hunted and not the hunters.

The Rays have never won a World Series and their one, and only, other trip to the Big Dance was in 2008. Not a good bet to go in 2020 to say the least.

The Dodgers are a different story. They have won six Commissioner’s Trophies but the last one was in 1988.  Since then there’s been a drought for LA when it comes to just getting to the World Series.  After almost 30 years, the team did make Fall Classic appearances in 2017 and 2018 but came up short.

As you can see, very few people expected either club to be playing in the World Series especially during the pandemic where no teams had a home game.  Both teams overcame pretty long odds to get to the World Series in, of all places, Globe Life Park in Arlington.

The second is that the competition has stepped up especially for the Dodgers.  The Bums, as Brooklyn would refer to them when they were in New York, are not even in first place in the National League West.  They trail the San Francisco Giants by 2.5 games with 20 games remaining.  That would put the Dodgers in a one win playoff scenario just to get to the best of five Division Series.

Mass Man and South Beach, we know how that can play out.  It would behoove the Dodgers to win their division just to be guaranteed a spot in the National League Final Four.

The Rays path is a little easier.  Tampa bay has a 9 game lead on Boston and 10 games on the floundering Yankees.  Plus, they have the best record by six games in the AL and that would guarantee home field for the entire playoffs.

Finally, you cannot predict injuries.  The Rays pitching staff has been decimated by injuries.  Big Apple Guy and Miami Vice Guy and Nor’eastern Buddy, 38 different players have taken the mound for Tampa Bay this year.  That’s right, 38 different pitchers and the team has still found a way to win 88 games and on pace to win 100.

The Dodgers are hoping to get ace Clayton Kershaw in September but how much he’ll be able to pitch is anyone’s guess.  That leaves the Los Angeles staff extremely iffy to say the least.

So, gentlemen, I don’t see a repeat of the 2020 World Series.  The Rays a maybe but the Dodgers a big no.  What’s you call?

Well, are you guys going to poo-poo this one just based on it seeming improbable?  The Rays are the best team in baseball.  There is a period at the end of that sentence.  Their approach at the plate, the strong defense, the knack for the hit at the right time makes their lineup impossible for other teams to successfully navigate.  As of right now, the Tampa Bay Rays have a +179 run differential.  These Rays get on base and move the line.

As for their pitching, the Rays always have a strong pitching plan to attack the opposing lineup and a stable of strike-throwing pitchers.  Plus, fellas, have you seen this group play together?  They get it that they are the under-the-radar contender this season, and are reveling in it.

The Trolley Dodgers of Los Angeles are also the favorite to make it to the Series in the National League.  Their potent lineup and deep starting pitching (despite missing Kershaw and Bauer) have several Cy Young candidates in the rotation with Bueller, Scherzer, and even Urias. These guys will be playing deep into October.

So, dudes, don’t think this is not happening again.  However, I think this is the season the Rays win it all.  The route to the World Series is tougher in the National League giving the Rays a slight advantage when they get to beat the Dodgers in the 2021 World Series!

Adam Sznapstajler

I’m going to have to disagree with you here Low Ball. With Kershaw coming back and the addition of Scherzer the Dodgers have exactly what they need to neutralize the Giants and return to the Winter Classic, pitching. That, plus playoff experience, might awaken sleeping bats like Cody Bellinger.

It’s going to be tough but I think a safe bet these past years is to bet LA in the NL.

On the other point, I’m gonna have to side with Mass Man here.  Without the two top of the line starters they had last season the Rays will have trouble making it out of the AL. A matchup against a great offense like Houston will be a tough one. However, I think if their bats stay consistent when the postseason starts then there is a chance.

Overall, I’m going to go with another rematch for the World Series, Dodgers vs the Cheatstros.

Low Ball, I’m with you on this. Pitching is what matters most in the playoffs and if you don’t have a great rotation when the playoffs roll around, you’re going to be in big trouble.

With that being said, I have full confidence in the Dodgers repeating as National League Champs despite not being first in their division. Even without Kershaw, L.A. still has Max Scherzer, who helped lead the Nationals to a World Series title just 2 years ago, and he has been dealing this year, to say the least. Not only do they have Mad Max, but they also have Walker Buehler who has been their ace on the mound all year. Although the Giants hold a 2.5 game lead over the Dodgers, I believe Los Angeles has too much star-power and playoff experience to lose a 7-game series to the Giants.

As for the Rays, on the other hand, they’re a completely different story. During last year’s impressive run to the World Series, Tampa Bay had Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell leading the way on the mound. This year, the Rays have neither of them. Snell took his talents to the opposite coast to pitch for the Padres, while Glasnow is out for the season after Tommy John surgery. Despite dominating the AL East, and having the best record in the American League, I don’t think the Rays can survive in the playoffs with their starting rotation.

If you’re asking me, Brooklyn and South Beach, I’m all in on the Dodgers making yet another run at a World Series title and repeating as champs. I just don’t think the team they’ll be facing will be the Rays.