2020 World Series Predictions with Expert Analysis
What an epic MLB season it has been. From a never before seen 60-game sprint to the postseason, to having both the ALCS and NLCS reach Game 7 despite each series reaching the 3-0 and 3-1 mark, respectively.
If I would have told you prior to the season that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be in the World Series, you wouldn’t have batted an eye. They were the favorites (along with the Yankees) coming into this season and made quick work of everyone up until the NLCS, where they actually trailed the Braves 3-1 in the series before capturing the series in seven games. As for the Rays, many thought this team would finish outside of the postseason given the fact they didn’t have any household names in their starting lineup and the fact that outside of Blake Snell, the starting rotation had more questions than answers. Yet, here they are. In the Fall Classic with a shot at tasting glory.
As of writing this, the Dodgers are the current betting favorites, checking in at -200 to win their franchises seventh World Series title and first since 1988. If you believe the Rays are a team of destiny, you can grab them at +170 to capture their first title in franchise history.
Path to the World Series
The Tampa Bay Rays powered through the regular season and finished with a record of 40-20, which was good enough to earn them top spot in the AL. They easily ran past the Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card series, outscoring the Jays 11-3. From there, the Rays lost the opening game of the Division Series against the Yankees but rebounded to Game 2 and Game 3 by scoring seven and eight runs, respectively. They dropped Game 4, and most people thought they were finished as the powerhouse Yankees were given a Game 5 lifeline, but a timely Mike Brosseau home run in the bottom of the eight proved decisive in a 2-1 win. In the ALCS, many pundits gave Tampa a slim chance of beating the Houston Astros, but the team’s pitchers had other ideas. The Rays jumped out to a 3-0 series lead courtesy of just five total runs given up. The Astros fought their way back into the series to force a Game 7, but the Rays jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back.
The Dodgers ran away with the National League, which was expected as they boast a star-studded lineup and a rotation that features several big-time pitchers. They finished the regular season with a record of 43-17, which was eight games better than the second-place Braves. The Dodgers easily took care of business in the NL Wild Card round, beating the Brewers 2-0 and outscoring them 7-2. What followed was a 3-0 series win against the upstart Padres. The NLCS was where they would finally face some adversity. And after trailing the series 2-0 and 3-1, the Dodgers used their offense to get back into the series, winning 7-3 and 3-1 to force a deciding Game 7. Similar to how the series started, the Dodgers found themselves in a 2-0 hole early in Game 7 but managed to eke out a 4-3 win and reach the Fall Classic.
2020 World Series Schedule:
Because of the pandemic, the entire season has been condensed, with very few off days, and the World Series is no exception. The teams will take to the mound on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. EST and play every single day for as many games as the series goes. The World Series uses a 2-3-2 format, meaning the Dodgers will be designated as the home team in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 and as a result bat in the bottom half of the inning.
Who is Going to Win?
Before we answer that question, we must find a way to break down the teams and project how we see the series playing out.
Pitching: You’re going to hear me talk about the difference in rosters a lot in this section. The Dodgers, who have one of the highest payrolls in all of baseball, have the resources needed to sign big-name players and have them produce when the games are on the line. The Dodgers’ starting pitching staff is good. It features guys like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Julio Urias. Kershaw is the undoubted ace of the staff. And having been here before, he will know what it’s going to take to avoid heartbreak at the end of the series. The problem with the Dodgers’ pitching is the bullpen, and that’s where we see the Rays having a massive advantage. The Dodgers bullpen has been hit around pretty good this postseason. And with starters on a shorter leash at this time of the year, if the Rays can get into the bullpen early and perhaps blow the Dodgers away one game (make them use three or four guys), they could find themselves in the driver’s seat in this series. However, for that to happen, the Rays starting pitching must hold up their end of the bargain. Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow have been almost unhittable this postseason. And if they can continue to pitch well and find a way to outduel the Dodgers’ “brand name” starters, the Rays can turn over any lead to their bullpen and be confident with the outcome.
Hitting: Once again, the Rays and Dodgers are at opposite ends of the “brand name” spectrum, but the Rays hitters have proven, through three rounds, that they can in fact hang with the big boys and beat them at their own game – hitting home runs. The Rays have a lineup that is void of big-name or high-priced players, but there are no easy outs in the Rays lineup. The Rays also have a breakout star this postseason and he goes by the name of Randy Arozarena. The rookie is hitting .382 with seven home runs and 10 RBI, which includes a two-run moonshot in Game 7 of the ALCS. If the Rays are to have success this series, he’ll need support from guys like Manuel Margot, Ji-Man Choi, Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames, with the latter two needing to break out of mini slumps.
As for the Dodgers, they are stacked up and down the lineup with guys like Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Justin Turner. Through their seven-game series with the Braves, the top end of the lineup came up in clutch times, with every single player taking their turn coming up with the big hit. If I had to choose a lineup, I’d go with the Dodgers based on the fact that they can win by hitting the long-ball and they have speed on the bases to manufacture runs with the small ball.
Intangibles: If you believe in teams of destiny, the Rays are the team for you. They’ve defied all odds and are here via excellent depth throughout the lineup and not folding in pressure situations such as Game 5 vs the Yankees (win or go home) and Game 7 against the Astros (after blowing a 3-0 lead). They are playing with confidence. And with their bullpen, that could be the winning combination. However, this will be the Dodgers’ third trip to the World Series in four seasons, and sooner or later they are bound to win one. They have a very veteran-laden squad with guys who’ve been on the losing end in both years. They know what it takes to avoid defeat. And they believe they rightfully deserve to be crowned champions. They were the preseason favorites, and we believe they will get the job done in six games.
Pick: Dodgers -200.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc’s Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members’ picks free.
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2020 World Series Predictions with Expert Analysis
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 10/1/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/29/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/26/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Friday 9/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 9/24/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/22/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/19/2020 and Opening Line Report