The 2020 Major League Baseball season has been a long and winding road, but the World Series is finally upon us, beginning Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
It's the third World Series appearance in four years for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are looking to finally get over the hump and win their first title since 1988. The Tampa Bay Rays are making their second appearance in franchise history and are one of six MLB teams to never won a World Series title.
Here's how the USA TODAY Sports baseball team sees the Fall Classic playing out:
Bob Nightengale: Dodgers in 6 – From the first day of spring training, through the COVID-19 shutdown, to summer camp, through the 60-game regular season, through the wild-card, Division and League Championship Series, the Dodgers have had the deepest and most talented team in baseball. Nothing has changed. The Dodgers may have a fatigued bullpen, but they have too many weapons to lose here. And it’s only fitting that three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw win a World Series just outside his hometown of Dallas.
Gabe Lacques: Dodgers in 5 – The Rays are so well put together, which is why they’re here and why they will battle the Dodgers every night. But there is solid and there is elite, and right now, a very special collection of Dodgers is performing at their highest collective level, and they will have just enough almost every night to prevail.
Steve Gardner: Dodgers in 7 – The Dodgers have been the best team all season, but the Rays and their cast of interchangeable parts will provide the toughest challenge yet. Clayton Kershaw will once again be the focus of attention with two starts – and a possible relief appearance – giving him a chance to play the hero and win that elusive World Series ring. Of course, he’ll need plenty of help from Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Co. And the Dodger bullpen has to hold down the late innings. The Rays worked around their high-strikeout tendencies on offense in the AL playoffs, but if Randy Arozarena cools down even slightly they just won’t have enough firepower to hang with the Dodgers’ juggernaut.
A view of Globe Life Field, site of the 2020 World Series. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
Jesse Yomtov: Dodgers in 6 – These are certainly the two best teams in baseball. That said, it's the Rays' struggling offense that tips the World Series in the Dodgers' favor. The Rays are just 12-for-69 with runners in scoring position in the postseason and while they managed to grind out enough close wins to get here, it's going to be tough to hang with the Dodgers' bats who seem to be peaking at the right time.
Scott Boeck: Rays in 6 — The narrative implies it's time for the powerful Dodgers to finally win the elusive World Series title after 32 years, but the Rays pitching staff will overcome the potent L.A. offense. Yes, the Dodgers have Mookie Betts and Corey Seager, but Rays manager Kevin Cash will have something up his sleeve to counter them.
Chris Bumbaca: Dodgers in 7 – Dave Roberts’ “This is our year!” comments were probably better left unsaid, so as not to enrage the baseball gods, but there are some serious Team of Destiny vibes from the National League champions. The Dodgers have the better lineup. The Rays’ pitching will keep them alive in the series. And an epic Game 7 will cap off a most-odd 2020 season and result in Los Angeles and Clayton Kershaw finally reaching the mountaintop.
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