2020 World Series Preview: Rays vs. Dodgers


MGN/Kevin Smith

The Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Tampa Bay Rays in this year’s Fall Classic at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Both teams are looking to break a championship drought of more than 20 years.

Blake Kingsbury, Photojournalist

One of the most highly anticipated sports events of the year has finally arrived: the World Series. Many thought that due to the Coronavirus, there might not have even been a season this year, but MLB has been able to fight their way through major hurdles and complete a shortened 60-game season safely.

The two teams that will face off against each other in this year’s battle for the championship are the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both of these teams finished off the regular season with the best record in their own leagues (the Rays were the best in the American League, and the Dodgers were atop the standings in the National League), so it’s not a surprise to many that this is the matchup which came to fruition.

The Rays, who have never won the World Series before in their existence as a franchise, enter the fight for the title fresh off of a victory in the ALCS over the Houston Astros in seven games. This was not an easy victory for the Rays in the slightest, even though it looked like it would be in the very beginning of the series. Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead against Houston, only needing to win one out of their next four possible games to advance, but then proceeded to lose the next three games. This would force a do-or-die Game 7 to decide who would be champions of the American League. Ultimately, the Rays would prevail in the deciding game, winning by a score of 4-2. 

Tampa Bay looks to defeat the Dodgers with their star pitching, which includes former Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell, young star Tyler Glasnow, and veteran pitcher Charlie Morton. Led by manager Kevin Cash, they will rely on All-Star outfielder Austin Meadows and the ALCS MVP, Randy Arozarena, to provide them runs on the offensive end. Arozarena is hitting for a batting average of .382 this postseason, to go along with a remarkable seven home runs in just 14 games, and is a player that Los Angeles is sure to be nervous about.

On the National League side, the Dodgers are no stranger to the playoffs or the World Series. This is Los Angeles’s eighth straight year in the postseason, and their third appearance in the championship in just the last four years.  The Dodgers have played during the regular season and the playoffs, however they have just fallen short of the title multiple times over the years, and they hope that this year is finally their turn to bring home the championship trophy to L.A. for the first time since 1988. 

Coming off of an enthusiastic three games to one comeback against the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers are definitely the favorites in this series. Managed by Dave Roberts, the team is loaded with stars all across the field: former MVPs in the outfield with Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, slugger Justin Turner at third base, NLCS MVP Corey Seager at shortstop, and future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw, a long-time Dodger hoping to finally put his past playoff struggles behind him, and win his first championship. 

Oh, and if this year’s MLB season hasn’t been strange enough, the newest edition of the Fall Classic will be the first to be played at a neutral site instead of at the two team’s home fields, to maximize coronavirus safety. All games will be played at the brand new spacious stadium named Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, with a limited capacity of around 11,000 fans.

Will the Rays win their first championship in franchise history, or will the Dodgers finally end their championship drought and see their years of postseason disappointment wash away? When asked about who he thinks will win the trophy, Jacob Lemos (12) replied, “I think this season is finally the year the Dodgers win it all. Their offense is just too much for the Rays to handle.” It’s sure to be a World Series like never before, and it most certainly will be one to remember.