MLB News: Baseball world loses the Dodger’s Tommy Lasorda, he was 93

Major League Baseball lost one of its icon MLB managers last night when Tommy Lasorda passed away. Lasorda was manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers for 21 years. Lasorda was recently hospitalized for an undisclosed illness that some believe was the coronavirus. Just three days ago, the Dodgers reported that Lasorda has been released from the hospital and was resting comfortably at his home.

Lasorda had a record of 1,599-1,439 while managing the Dodgers from 1976-96, guiding them to World Series championships in 1981 and ’88. The franchise won four National League pennants and eight division titles under Lasorda. The beloved manager was last seen in public on Oct. 27 in Texas during game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Dodgers won the World Series for the first time since 1988.

The 93-year-old Lasada was an icon with the Dodgers and an ambassador for the team and all of MLB. Everyone, even opponents, loved him. He had a heart attack in June 1996 and retired from managing the Dodgers the following month. In 2000, Lasorda managed the U.S. Olympic baseball team to a gold medal at the Sydney Games. Lasorda was also hospitalized in 2012 in New York after having a heart attack.

The ever-popular Tommy Lasorda was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. He was, before his death, the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame.

MLB News: The Los Angeles Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988

The roof was closed for game six of the MLB World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Arlington, Texas. The Series was on the line for the Rays as the Dodger led the series 3 games to 2. The pitching matchup was Tony Gonsolin against Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays. This was an elimination game for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tony Gonsolin to the mound to win it all for the Dodgers. Gonsolin who was excellent in the regular season, going 2-2 with an ERA of just 2.31. However, he has been ineffective in the postseason and is 0-2 with an inflated 9.38 ERA. In his three games, two starts, he pitched 7 2/3 inning giving up eight runs. This is due to an October 15 game against the Atlanta Braves; he gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings. In the very first inning, he gave up a homer to possible MVP Randy Arozarena, Arozarena’s tenth homer of the postseason.

Blake Snell took the mound in an attempt to force a game seven on Wednesday night. Snell in the postseason is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.33. In the Wild Card round, he won his game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in the ALCS, he split two games with the Houston Astros, and in the second game of this World Series, he won against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up two runs in 4.2 innings. With Snell on the mound, the Rays bullpen will come into play. Snell seldom went more than five innings in most games.

Snell made it to the start of the six-inning keeping the Los Angeles Dodgers scoreless before being replaced by Nick Anderson after giving up a single to Austin Barnes. Anderson gave up a double to Mookie Betts as Barnes went to third on the long double to the left-field wall. Justin Turner at the plate. Anderson threw a wild pitch, and Barnes scored, tieing the game at one apiece. On a fielder’s choice, Betts came home for the Dodger 2-1 lead.

Turner hit a long one that looked out but was caught for the second out of the inning. Loup came in to close out the inning for the Rays. Brusdar Gaterol started the top of the seventh, replacing Victor Gonzalez, for the Dodgers. He got two quick outs but gave up a single and was replaced by Julio Urias. Urias, a starter for the Dodgers, got Yanky Diaz to strike out and maintain the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 lead.

At the bottom of the seventh, Pete Fairbanks took over for Loup and gave up a double to Will Smith. Cody Bellinger skied out for the first out.  Chris Taylor struck out, and Joc Pederson pinch-hitting was walked intentionally to get at Austin Barnes. Barnes flew out to Lowe to end the inning. With the score at 2-1 Dodgers, Randy Arozarena was first up for the Rays at the top of the eighth inning with Julio Urias still on the Dodgers’ mound. Arozarena flies out to Bellinger. Urias got Meadows out, and Brandon Lowe struck out, ending the Rays’ hopes in the eighth.

At the bottom of the eighth, with Fairbanks still on the mound, Mookie Betts homers to centerfield to increase the Dodger lead to 3-1. Corey Seager walked. Hernandez struck out. Fairbanks was replaced by Ryan Yarbrough with one on and one out. Max Muncy hit into a double play, and the inning was over. With the score at 3-1 Dodgers, it was last licks for the Tampa Bay Rays.

At the top of the ninth inning, the Dodgers just had to get 3 outs to win their first World Series since 1988. Julio Urias still in there got Manuel Margot popped out to Mookie Betts for out number one. Mike Brosseau pinch-hitting stuck out for out number two. With the Dodgers one out away, Willie Adames held the Rays hopes with his bat, Adames, but he stuck out for out number three, and the 2020 World Series was over. The Los Angeles Dodgers have their first World Championship since 1988.

It was a great baseball season for the Tampa Bay Rays, but in this coronavirus season that will go down in the baseball history books the Los Angeles Dodgers were victorious. It was the seventh title for the Dodgers, their sixth since moving to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in 1957, and the first for Dave Roberts as manager. The final score was Dodgers 3 and the Tampa Bay Rays 1. The winning pitcher was Victor Gonzalez and the loser, Nick Anderson.

In the award ceremony following the game, the Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred was heavily booed as Clayton Kershaw, who has had a World Series ring evade him, manager Dave Roberts, and all the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated on the field. Corey Seager won the MVP Award for his play in the postseason.

MLB News: The World Series may be decided tonight, Rays could be eliminated

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

Tonight in Arlington, Texas, the MLB World Series could be over. The Tampa Bay Rays may be eliminated and sent home to Florida after going to the World Series for the first time since 2008. The Los Angeles Dodgers could end the series with a win and garner their first World Series win since 1988.

The game tonight will be at 8:08 pm at Globe Life Field home of the Texas Rangers during the regular season. The series will continue in the “bubble,” which has been successful with no player testing positive for the coronavirus. The game will be played under the retractable roof, protecting the limited fans in the stands from the chilly Texas weather. Game-time temperatue will be near 40 degrees. The game will be televised on the Fox Network.

The Rays pitcher Blake Snell will first take the mound in an attempt to force a game seven on Wednesday night. Snell in the postseason is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.33. In the Wild Card round, he won his game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in the ALCS, he split two games with the Houston Astros, and in the second game of this World Series, he won against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up two runs in 4.2 innings. With Snell on the mound, the Rays bullpen will come into play. Snell seldom goes beyond five innings.  He struck out nine in the game, but he allowed four straight runners to reach in the fifth inning. The Rays have a strong bullpen.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will send Tony Gonsolin to the mound to win it all for the Dodgers. Gonsolin who was excellent in the regular season, going 2-2 with an ERA of just 2.31. However, he has been ineffective in the postseason and is 0-2 with an inflated 9.38 ERA.  In his three games, two starts, he pitched 7 2/3 inning giving up eight runs.  Most of this is due to an October 15 game against the Atlanta Braves; he gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings. In his one game in the World Series, he gave up one home run in the top of the second inning and was replaced. Gonsolin will have to locate his pitches very carefully against a team that is not going to go out of the strike zone.

If the Tampa Bay Rays can win the MLB World Series game six and force a game seven, it will be tomorrow night just after 8 pm; the result of that game will decide who wins the Fall Classic and become the World Series Champions. If that game seven is forced, the pitchers for the game will be a last-minute decision.

MLB World Series Recap: With the Dodger’s win the Rays face elimination Tuesday night

Last night’s MLB World Series game was not a good night for Tampa Bay Ray’s Tyler Glasnow; the first batter he faced, Mookie Betts doubled, and then Corey Seager singled, driving in Betts for the 1-0 leas in the first inning. Seager stole third, Cody Bellinger singled, and it was 2-0. Although Glasnow allowed the Dodger lead in the first, it wasn’t an easy night for either pitcher.

At the top of the 2nd inning, the Dodger’s Joc Pedersen homered into the left-field bullpen for the 3-0 lead. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers and one on, Yandy Diaz had a long double to far-right field. Ray’s star Randy Arozarena singled, driving a run, drawing the Rays to one run behind the Dodgers.

In the 4th, with no outs and men on the corners and the Dodgers 3-2 lead, Kevin Kiermaier at the plate, Manuel Margot, took off for home and was called out for the final out of the inning. At the top of the fifth inning, Max Muncy hit his third home run of the season far into the first deck of left field for the 4-2 Dodger lead after Tyler Glasnow put way eight Rays in a row. At the bottom of the frame, Clayton Kershaw still in there, struck out two Rays and got a fly out to finish off the inning.

The rest of the game remained scoreless for both teams, with the final score of 4-2 Dodgers. In the game, Randy Arozarena’s hit was his 27th hit of the postseason and all-time record in postseason hitting. Kershaw got the win, and Tyler Glasnow the loss.

Today will be a day off for both teams as the home field advantage switches back to the Dodgers. This game six coming on Tuesday night will be an elimination game for the Tampa Bay Rays. The probable pitchers will be Blake Snell for the Rays and Tony Gonsolin for the Dodgers. The game will be just aft 8 pm at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

 

MLB World Series Game Recap: If you missed it, you missed the most amazing World Series game (video)

With the roof open at Globe Life Field, game four of the World Series continued between the MLB Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays, with the Dodgers up a game on the series.  In the very first inning, Justin Turner hit a home run to center for the Los Angeles lead in the game. Rays reliever Yarbrough closed out the inning but not before giving up that home run.

At the top of the third inning, Corey Seager hit another home run for the Dodgers to far center field, the second home run against the Rays opener Yarbrough. The New York Yankee killer Randy Arozarena hit his 9th home run of the postseason letting the Rays get on the board, Dodgers 2 and the Rays 1.

The Tampa Bay Rays getting on the board was just the beginning of a game that would have many emotional swings back and forth. The Dodgers used six pitchers, and the Rays used seven in the game. Neither starter went very far into the game, Julio Urias who had had a 0.56 ERA before the game, went only 4.2 innings, and the Ray’s Ryan Yarbrough only went 3.1 innings.

At the bottom of the fourth inning, Randy Arozarena hit his 9th homer of the postseason for the all-time record number of home runs in baseball postseason history. At the top of the fifth, the Ray’s, Muncy had an RBI single,  That was followed by a mammoth home run by Hunter Renfroe. Enrique Hernandez had an RBI double, and it was 3-2 Dodgers.

The real action didn’t start until the beginning of the sixth inning with the score at Dodgers 3-2. At the top of the frame, when the Dodgers tacked on another run. Dodgers 4-2. But at the bottom of the inning, the Rays picked up three runs, making it 4-5 Rays. At the top of the seventh, Joc Pederson with the bases loaded hits the biggest hit of his career, singling and putting the Dodgers back on top 6-5 in the seventh inning. At the bottom of the seventh, Kevin Kiermaier tied up the game with a homer to center for the 6-6 game.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the lead back in the top of the eighth inning, and it would stay that way until the bottom of the ninth inning. That is when things got crazy. What then transpired made this Game 4 the signature game of the series. With two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, Brett Phillips who wasn’t even on the roster in the ALCS, pinch-hit and laced a single to center field off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, bringing in the tying run, but Dodger centerfielder Chris Taylor kicked the ball. Randy Arozarena, who was on his way to second base, never stopped running after he passed third base he stumbling and fell to the ground, meanwhile Taylor was throwing the ball to home, but Arozarena got up and dashed home sliding into home plate, face first for the Rays, last-second win. The Ray’s manager Kevin Cash had this to say about the amazing end to the game.

“The moment the ball left Phillips’ bat, we knew we had a tie ballgame, and then everything that happened afterward, Randy’s not used to having to run like that,” Cash said. “Normally he’s used to just trotting. So it threw him off for a little bit getting tripped up there between third and home. But Phillips, man, give that guy a lot of credit. I don’t know when the last time he got an at-bat was. Pretty impressive what he just did against one of the game’s best closers.

“Happened so fast, I didn’t know what to do. Gave a bunch of hugs, just in disbelief.”

The final score was 8-7 Tampa Bay. Kenley Jensen took the loss for the Dodgers and John Curtiss the win for the Rays. The Rays scored seven of their runs with two outs.

The Tampa Bay Rays win ties up the series at two games apiece going into Game 5, on Sunday night. The game tonight will be a matchup of the Game 1 starters, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers against the Ray’s Tyler Glasnow. Whoever wins the game will put the other team in an elimination situation on Tuesday night, when the home field advantage switches back to the Dodgers. The game will be on the FOX Network.

The following video is the full bottom of the ninth inning.

 

 

MLB World Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays try to even up the series tonight

Tonight in the MLB World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays will try to even up the series at two games apiece in the best of seven Fall Classic. The Rays won the first game, but the Los Angeles Dodgers roared back to win the last two games. The Rays beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS, and the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres in the NLCS to get to the World Series.

The game tonight will be in the bubble at the home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Field, and will have a reduced number of fans in the stands. The Rays will have a home-field advantage in tonight’s game. Last night Walker Buehler dominated the Rays in six innings, striking out 10 Rays and only allowing one earned runs. The usually very good Charlie Morton gave up five earned runs in just 4.1 innings. Muncy, Mookie Betts, and Justin Turner went at least 2-4 and drove in four of the Dodgers runs.

Tonight the game will be at 8:09 pm; the game will be telecast on the FOX Network. Tonight’s game will be with the roof open as there is no chance of rain in the Arlington, Texas area. There will be a slight fall feel to the game as the game-time temperature will be in the upper ’50s.

The Tampa Bay Rays will handle tonight’s game as a bullpen game. That features an opening that will pitch and inning or two and then turn it over to the bullpen. The Rays have announced that LHP Ryan Yarbrough will open the game. He is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in the postseason. This will be his four-game of the postseason. He got the win in the ALCS’s 3rd game against the Astros, giving up two runs in five innings. Yarbrough is rested, so as long as he is pitching well, Rays manager Kevin Cash will leave him in.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will start with Julio Urias, who has been totally dominant in the Dodgers postseason. In the NLCS, he started game four and closed game seven. In the postseason so far, he is 4-0 with an impossible ERA of .056. In the Wild Card, he won his game against the Brewers, and in the ALDS, he won against the Padres. Between both games, he gave up no earned runs. In the NLCS, he beat the Atlanta Braves in both appearances giving up just one run between them.

The edge tonight definitely goes to the Dodger’s if Urias pitches anything as he has in his other postseason games. Tomorrow night for game five, the Dodgers will go back to their ace Clayton Kershaw in what could be an elimination game for the Rays if they don’t win tonight. Rays manager Kevin Cash will pull every trick out of his managerial book to try to win tonight’s game.

MLB News: The Los Angeles Dodgers/Tampa Bay Rays World Series gets underway tonight

With the New York Yankees out of MLB and licking their wounds along with the Houston Astros, many fans are still interested in the Fall Classic. Those interested want to see close games with a series that goes the full seven games, with outstanding pitching and long ball heroes. I can’t promise you any of these things, but for sure, it will be an exciting series with two teams that are very energized.

The Tampa Bay Rays haven’t been to the World Series since 2008, and the Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988. The game tonight will be almost freaky as the cameras pan around, and you see and hear the cheers, and moans of real fans in the stands, albeit limited.

Tonight’s game and all the World Series games will be at the brand new Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers, in Arlington, Texas. The game time will be 8:09 pm, and the game-time temperature will be about  80 degrees and will stay in the upper ’70s throughout the game. The skies will be clear, and a perfect night for baseball in the open Globe Life Field. The game will be broadcast on the Fox Network.

First out on the mound will be pitching ace Clayton Kershaw as the first two games, the Dodgers will be the home team. Kershaw on the year was 6-2 with an ERA of 2.16. In the postseason, he was 2-1 with an ERA of 3.32. Kershaw is a seasoned veteran in the World Series with four starts in his career and one relief appearance. Kershaw relies mainly on a slider and a low ’90s four-seam fastball with some backspin. The 32-year-old, 6′ 4″ 225 pounder has re-invented his pitching in the last two years by adding a changeup to his repertoire.

The Tampa Bay Rays will start their strike-throwing Tyler Glasnow, who has pretty much cemented his place as the Rays ace over Blake Snell. Glasnow won his Wild Card Game against the Blue Jays, beat the New York Yankees on October 6, but lost his short rest to the Yankees on the 9th even though he didn’t have an earned run. In his last outing against the Houston Astros, he lost, giving up four runs in six innings.

Glasnow’s shortcoming is that he is basically a two-pitch pitcher; he throws a high ’90s four-seamer and a mid-’80s curveball.  He rarely throws a change-up. Despite being a two-pitch pitcher, he had 91 strikeouts in the regular season and had the fourth-most strikeouts in all of the baseball’s postseason with 25K’s.

I give the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kershaw the edge in Game 1.

 

MLB News: Braves ousted by LA, it’s a Dodger Rays World Series

For the New York Yankees, the season is over, and are looking at how to improve the team for the 2021 season. But MLB is still operating, just a day after the Tampa Bay Rays were victorious over the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodger won a game seven over the Atlanta Braves 4-3, advancing them to the World Series.  For the first time ever the Tampa Bay Rays will meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The World Series will have a limited number of fans rooting for their team in the stands.

The Dodgers won the NLDS over the San Diego Padres to advance to the NLCS to take on the Atlanta Braves. With the Dodgers win yesterday, they will face the Tampa Bay Rays, that beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS. The Yankees previous to facing the Rays, had swept the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card round. For the Rays, it will be the first time since 2008 that they advanced. For Los Angeles, they have not won a World Series since 1988.

The game yesterday, featured two starting pitchers, both under the age of 24. It was the first time two pitchers that young started an NLCS game seven. Ian Anderson was 22 and Dustin May just 23. Los Angeles was down three games to one in the series and came back to tie the series, and force a dramatic game seven. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts starred in the game. Betts made a wild climb the wall catch to save a run, and Cody Bellinger scored the winning run with his homer in the seventh inning.

Bellinger met Hernandez at home plate and took off for the dugout. In celebration of the go-ahead run, upon returning to the dugout after the 400-foot blast, he gave teammate Kiké Hernandez a forearm bash, after which Bellinger could be seen wincing in pain. He dislocated his shoulder USA Today reports Bellinger quickly went back to the training room to pop the shoulder in place.

Anderson for the Braves went three innings, giving up two earned runs. May only pitched the first inning for the Dodgers, giving up a run. The game featured only 13 hits between the two teams, and only one player got two hits, that was Mookie Betts of the Dodgers. The NLCS MVP was the Dodgers Corey, who hit .310 in the series with five home runs and eleven RBI’s. The Game  7 winner was Julio Urias who pitched the last three innings for the the Dodgers, the losing pitcher was Chris Martin.

The first game of the World Series will be on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. Game time will be 8:09 pm EDT. The series will be broadcast on the Fox Network nationwide.  Both of these teams are highly energized after their Championship wins. The Dodgers in game seven, left ten men on base. They will have their hands full with the Rays who are known for manufacturing runs. It should be a very exciting World Series.

New York Yankees: A deep comparison between the Dodgers & Yankees

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge

On Tuesday evening the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off one of the largest trades in MLB history. Los Angeles got the prized possession of the offseason, in Mookie Betts. Here’s an outline of the trade:

MIN- Receive Kenta Maeda | LAD- Receive Mookie Betts & David Price | BOS- Receive Alex Verdugo & Brusdar Graterol (MLB #83 Prospect)

LAD then proceeded to trade Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels, in exchange for Luis Rengifo. That trade was more of a necessity, as Joc was out of place in the LU with the arrival of Betts. Now, the Dodgers have since catapulted to a lot of people’s pick to win the World Series, but the comparison between LA and the New York Yankees is one of the most even sets in the entire league. Essentially, its as if there are now two superpowers — one being the Dodgers for the NL, and the other being the Yankees for the AL.

In this article I am going to compare both respective teams side-by-side, and take a deeper look at what makes one better than the other.

First, let’s take a look at the starting LU’s (as projected by MLB) for 2020, along with their 2019 stats (* = 2018, info via Fangraphs):

NAME OPS wRC+ NAME OPS WRC+
Mookie Betts .915 135 DJ LeMahieu .893 136
Max Muncy .889 134 Aaron Judge .921 141
Justin Turner .881 132 Gleyber Torres .871 125
Cody Bellinger 1.035 162 Giancarlo Stanton* .852 129
AJ Pollock .795 108 Miguel Andujar* .855 130
Corey Seager .817 113 Gary Sanchez .841 116
Will Smith .907 132 Luke Voit .842 126
Gavin Lux N/A N/A Gio Urshela .889 132
N/A (Pitcher) N/A N/A Brett Gardner .829 115

Now, when looking at the lineups side-by-side, there are very few things dividing the two. For the Yankees, the top-to-bottom WRC+ and OPS does edge out that of the Dodgers, but that’s also inputting 2018 stats for Stanton and Andujar — as they missed essentially all of 2019. Whereas, for Pollock, he appeared in 86 Games and saw 308 PA’s, which is enough to use his stats for 2019.

The Dodgers’ Offense

The Dodgers’ top of their order is arguably the best in baseball, as a 1-4 of Betts, Muncy, Turner and Bellinger, is about as good as they come. Talking on Bellinger for a moment, the reigning NL MVP blew away everyone last season. In 2019, Bellinger tallied 47 HR’s to go with an OPS of 1.035 and a wRC+ of 162. The Dodgers LU as a whole last season combined for the second-highest WAR (34.8), fourth highest team WRC+ (111), and scored the fifth most runs in baseball (886). They did all that without Pollock for a majority of the year, without a consistent TRUE corner outfielder (Verdugo saw a lot of his time in CF, and Pederson saw majority of the time in LF — but is now gone), and also without their prized prospect — Gavin Lux — even on the roster.

Muncy just signed a three year deal, worth $26,000,000.

With that, adding Betts to that lineup now gives them the best LU in the National League, without failure. Betts, as mentioned in-depth in a previous article, is one of the few definite game-changers in the sport today. Many people have their gripes over his contract demands, as he’s asking upwards of $400,000,000+, but honestly its worth it for a player of his caliber and potential. He and Bellinger alone can very easily combine for 15 WAR, assuming everything goes as planned, and even at the low, they’re a 10 win combination. To have two players that are essentially more valuable than almost a dozen teams in the league shows that the Dodgers mean business this year, and are tired of playing second fiddle.

Now, the backend of that LU is the one question mark for 2020, when it comes to the offense. Well, that and the overall health of their players as well, as is the case with every team. The Dodgers’ back half of the LU features Corey Seager, and two ‘wildcards’ in Will Smith and Gavin Lux. I’m not going to sit here and say Lux is going to be bad, as he’s one of the top prospects in baseball and everyone knows what he’s capable of doing. The only reason there’s a question mark around him is that he’s not had an extended run in the majors. Aside from a 23 game stint in ’19, Lux is essentially going to be brand-new to the league. Being 22, and possessing all the talent in the world naturally comes with all the eyes watching. With that, Lux absolutely OBLITERATED pitchers in AAA, as he posted an OPS of 1.197 with a BB/K Ratio of 0.79. There’s no denying his talent and abilities, as he’s been regarded as highly as Gleyber Torres was.

As for Smith, he’s always been a competent hitter at the minor league level, and showed that more this last year. Across just 54 games and 196 PA’s he was able to hit 15 HR’s and pair that with a WRC+ of 132. Another youngster flourishing in the Dodgers system, Smith looks to put together an incredible season across the full year. With Corey Seager, the once viewed “top shortstop” in all of baseball is starting to find himself again after an injury plagued 2018. In both ’16 and ’17, Seager eclipsed the 6.0 fWAR mark, and combined it with WRC+’s of 136 and 127. In 2019, however, Seager only reached 3.3 fWAR and saw his WRC+ sit at 113. Keeping him healthy and bringing back that sweet-swing and defensive prowess he showed is vital to the Dodgers’ season success. The encouraging thing about Corey, though, is that he is still only 25 years old and has 4 years of MLB experience under his belt.

The Yankees’ Offense

As for the Yankees, the biggest thing everyone is looking forward to seeing this upcoming season is everyone on the field together. Last year, the Yankees set the record for most players that visited the IL, with 30. Of those thirty players to the IL, numerous stars in the eyes’ of the league saw their seasons cut drastically short. Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar specifically, look to bring the ferocious heat to this LU that was lacking across the entire 2019 season. Having two guys that can combine for 70+ HR’s and 200+ Runs re-join the lineup, is something that a lot of analysts are seemingly not taking into account. For the Dodgers to get this shiny new acquisition in Betts, the Yankees should be treated as if they’re getting two new acquisitions for 2020 — in Stanton and Andujar.

Getting Stanton back is a huge piece, and one that should be talked about more. Stanton was the 2017 NL MVP after smashing 59 HR’s, and in ’18 posted a very solid year with NYY. Andujar was ROY runner-up back in ’18, and is one of the most talented hitters in the American League. There have been murmurs about the Yanks pursuing either Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant in attempt to continue to shift the balance of power in their favor and respond to the Dodgers signing of Betts. I’m not personally a big fan of trading away Dujar and a top prospect like say, Deivi Garcia, for Bryant. From an offensive perspective, Dujar is very similar to Bryant — 132 WRC+ in ’18, to Bryant’s 127 in ’18 and 135 in ’19. Plus, I believe that Garcia has all the makings to be someone special in the future. As for Nolan, while he’s one of baseball’s premier players, I see no reason to go get him, especially with his contract.

With that, Bryant would make this team objectively better on both sides of the ball. While his defensive numbers have been down these past two seasons, there’s no question that he would fit right in at third base, and maybe even alternate days with Gio Urshela. However, seeing as to how that’s an entire hypothetical, the Yankees are still set at third. Urshela posted a fantastic year in ’19, leading to him being the frontrunner for the starting job at the hot corner. The bottom of the Yankees’ LU, that includes Urshela, is a very solid group of guys to have. In that group it’d feature Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, and one of Brett Gardner or Mike Tauchman.

Out of those guys, there’s definite reason to believe all of them keep on their torrid paces. For Voit, his injury to his core completely derailed his 2019 season after the London Series. With that, he’s a consistent mid-800 OPS type of first baseman with great power and discipline as well. Gary is the biggest question mark in this lineup, as I believe he still has more to offer than he’s shown. I am a big believer in Gary “figuring it out” and him at his best would be another .900 OPS 35 HR player to start off the bottom half of the LU. Gardner and Tauchman will likely see split time for a majority of the start of this season, until the return of Aaron Hicks. Both guys can easily combine for 5 WAR across the entire year, and both play plus defense and see a lot of pitches as well.

As for the top of the LU, the Yankees counter the Dodgers’ Two-Headed Snake of Bellinger and Betts with the Three-Headed Hydra of Judge, Stanton and Gleyber. That’s not even including DJ LeMahieu — the ALL MLB Second baseman from 2019. LeMahieu OPS’d a career high of .893 after signing a two year deal with NYY. Now, at the end of this season, there’s going to be a massive decision to make as to just how valuable DJ is. Judge, when healthy and on the field, is on the same level as Mookie Betts. The only problem is that Judge hasn’t been able to stay on the field because of numerous freak injuries that are derailing his progress.

Judge, back in ’17 when he was robbed of the MVP award by the now-revealed-cheater Jose Altuve, posted an absolutely incredible season. In 2017, in his first full season with the Yankees, Judge OPS’d 1.049, to go with 52 HR’s and a WRC+ of a staggering 174. Since that season, in which he appeared in 155 games, he’s not reached the 130 games played mark. For Judge the issue has never been his work ethic or his attitude, as is the case with numerous other stars, but instead its simply staying fit and healthy. For Judge, I can only imagine how annoying it must be to be asked “So how are you going to stay healthy” because ultimately for him, nothing changes in his individual preparation and grind. Judge’s injuries aren’t entirely “on him” as I feel like they are just pure misfortunate and bad luck. Having a wrist fracture from checking his swing, various hip and leg injuries, and of course the fragmentation in his shoulder. None of those scream “injury prone”, as much as I think its part of being a 6’8 power-hitter who gives it his all every day.

Now, both offenses are absolutely riveting when it comes to potential and ability. Even the likes of talented lineups like Cincinnati, Washington, Atlanta and others, fall off from the tier that holds the Yankees and Dodgers at the top. It seems as if both offenses have no glaring holes and that the bench options for both teams, while up in the air, are also going to be competent and competitive whenever they’re placed in the field as well. As for the pitching, that’s a different story and where the fine line dividing these two powerhouses, starts to get a bit thicker.

Onto the starting rotations, and as shown by the table below, there is definitely more uncertainty around LAD’s upcoming rotation. (* = 2018, info via Fangraphs):

NAME ERA / FIP IP NAME ERA / FIP IP
Walker Buehler 3.26 / 3.01 182.1 Gerrit Cole 2.50 / 2.64 212.1
Clayton Kershaw 3.03 / 3.86 178.1 Luis Severino* 3.39 / 2.95 191.1
David Price 4.28 / 3.62 107.1 James Paxton 3.82 / 3.86 150.2
Dustin May 3.63 / 2.90 34.2 Masahiro Tanaka 4.45 / 4.27 182.0
Alex Wood 5.80 / 6.38 35.2 JA Happ 4.91 / 5.22 161.0
Jimmy Nelson (2017) 3.49 / 3.05 175.1 Domingo German 4.03 / 4.72 143.0
Julio Urias 2.49 / 3.43 79.2 Jordan Montgomery (2017) 3.88 / 4.07 155.1

For the 2020 rotation, both teams have their knowns and unknowns. The Dodgers have their front three essentially set with the acquisition of David Price — who slots in the rotation based more on his name than his abilities. Adding him to the combo of Walker Buehler and future unanimous HoFer, Clayton Kershaw, gives the Dodgers a longtime starter with years of experience and know-how. As for the Yankees, the one-two punch of newbie Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino, give them a lethal front two.

The Yankees’ Rotation

For starters, being without BOTH James Paxton and Domingo German for the first half of the season is going to be hard on the Yankees. Both were very solid in 2019 and both brought stability and consistency to the rotation as well. I view Paxton as one of the best left-handed starters in the league and expected a better year for him come 2020, but seeing that he is set to miss 3-4 months to surgically remove a cyst. As for German, he is missing 63 games as part of serving a suspension for violating the MLB’s domestic abuse policy.

With that, the rotation still looks strong, and there’s numerous young guys that can challenge for that now open fifth spot. I expect the starting rotation to be: Cole, Severino, Tanka, Happ & Montgomery. Those 5 guys are all definitely above average starters, and the upside is tremendous. For Cole and Severino, that is arguably the best front two across the entire league, aside from the Nationals. To have two guys that have arguably the highest ceiling in baseball, leading the rotation, is going to be crucial for NYY. Cole and Severino both don’t need to be justified, as I feel as if both are top of the line starters and amongst the best in baseball.

Tanaka is the one wildcard in the rotation, as his issues with consistency and putting the “best version of himself” out there. Tanaka can go out and toss an eight inning shutout victory and then go out the next time around and would go 4 innings, surrendering a handful of runs. If he is able to remain consistent and on his A-game, then he’s a 180.0 inning workhorse with a sub 4 ERA and sub 4 FIP as well. Not to mention he is absolutely incredible in the postseason, which is where the lights get the brightest. Across

Losing Paxton hurts, especially at such a late stage in the offseason. However, there’s no massive need for panic as there are great internal options to replace him. The Yankees pitching prospects in the farm system include the likes of Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Albert Abreu & even Luis Gil, as potential guys fighting for a spot. Add to that Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga, who will both be likely used out of the pen, but could see time as openers or spot starters as well. The rotation has depth and it also has consistency. Even if Tanaka is unable to rekindle that electrifying splitter that helped play into him being so lethal the first three years in the league, he is still a solid pitcher that brings stability. Same goes for JA Happ, who had the worst year of his career this last season. The best way to view the Happ situation is that it can’t possibly get worse, no?

The Dodgers’ Rotation

The Dodgers’ front two is, as mentioned, on par with the Yankees — if not higher. It is as debatable as it can get, as both Buehler and Kershaw are fantastic pitchers in their own right. While Kershaw is on the decline, after an absolutely historic stretch of a decade’s worth of stellar showings, the opposite can be said for Buehler. At only 25, the Dodgers have another ace on their hands and they’re going to do whatever they can to keep him fresh for October. What that means is there will likely be an inning cap on him, as he tossed 182.1 innings this last season. LA are notoriously stingy over their pitchers’ innings total, unless their name is Clayton Kershaw — who from 2010-2015 threw a minimum of 198.1 innings.

With that, once you move on to the rest of the rotation, there’s some uncertainty as it goes along. Similar in a sense to the Yankees, where their fourth and even fifth spot are a toss-up right now, LA do have some solid players that can fill in. I expect the Dodgers back-end of their rotation to honestly be a “by committee” system, where there are numerous guys who can be plugged in. Having Price in the middle of the rotation would’ve been absolutely lethal 3 years ago, but with age and injury, Price is no longer what he used to be. With LAD paying such close attention to their starters, and the amount they are allowed to throw, Price honestly may not even see 140 innings this year, even if he is healthy and able. David Price is honestly on par with Ross Stripling over the last two years, in terms of value and production. Stripling of course, has been traded to the Angels.

The Dodgers have already expressed their desire to have Urias back in the rotation full-time, despite his dominant stint in the bullpen at the end of last year. With that, Dustin May will also likely see one of the spots in the rotation set aside for him, but if he or Urias is to start the year in the pen, Alex Wood is the most likely to slot in. Wood is the classic “spot starter-but long reliever” pitcher, and I feel as if he will bounce between both this next year. That role has since opened up due to the departure of Stripling, who, over the last two seasons in that role, thrived.

Wood is an interesting player, and one that the Dodgers are hoping they can get the best out of. When they brought Wood back, and also brought in Jimmy Nelson, both guys are going to be battling for a rotation spot, or even a place in the pen. Wood and Nelson are very similar in that they both have a one-or-two “knockout” pitch repertoire and could be very good in the pen. Nelson has the stuff and making to be a good starter, and his breakout season in ’17 was no fluke. However, after being out all 2018 with Tommy John, he struggled to get back on his feet in Milwaukee this last year. There’s a chance he could be given the final spot based on merit and experience, but I imagine he’d start off either in the pen or in AAA, even.

The next comparison for both teams’ are their respective bullpens. This is where there’s the main difference between the two clubs, as the Yankees pen is arguably the best in baseball — even with the loss of Betances. Below is a comparison of the respective possible 7 arms in each team’s pen (info via Fangraphs):

NAME ERA / FIP IP NAME ERA / FIP IP
Kenley Jansen 3.71 / 3.48 63.0 Aroldis Chapman 2.21 / 2.28 57.0
Blake Treinen 4.91 / 5.14 58.2 Tommy Kahnle 3.67 / 3.33 61.1
Pedro Baez 3.10 / 3.52 69.2 Zack Britton 1.91 / 3.74 61.1
Joe Kelly 4.56 / 3.78 51.1 Adam Ottavino 1.90 / 3.44 66.1
Caleb Ferguson 4.91 / 4.78 44.2 Chad Green 4.35 / 3.03 49.2
Dylan Floro 4.24 / 3.56 46.2 Jonathan Loaisiga 3.20 / 4.38 19.2
Urias / Wood / May / Nelson N/A N/A Luis Cessa 4.11 / 4.87 81.0

When it comes to the bullpen, the Yankees have objectively the better all around pen. However, what the Dodgers have are a handful of bounce back candidates, and the combination of Treinen, Baez and Jansen could form a deadly trio. With that, those three aren’t as good as the trio of Ottavino, Britton and Chapman — who would be the Yankees’ big three.

The Dodgers’ Bullpen

LAD went after Blake Treinen shortly after the A’s decided not to bring him back. Treinen is the most important piece in this Dodgers bullpen, as if he is able to replicate his 2018 season, that is an incredibly valuable arm for cheap (1 yr/10 mil). Treinen in ’18 posted one of the best seasons ever by a closing pitcher, as across 80.1 innings he was able to post an ERA & FIP of 0.78 & 1.82. Add to that a K/9 of 11.20 to go with a HR/9 of 0.22. However, with that his 2019 was the complete opposite. His ERA/FIP ballooned to 4.91 and 5.14, and thus he saw his chances and closer role disappear. Across only 58.2 innings, compared to the season prior of 80.1, he amassed a K/9 of 9.05 and saw his HR/9 rise from .22 to 1.38 — plus his BB/9 went from 2.35 in ’18, up to 5.68 in ’19. Treinen is an obvious candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, but he alone doesn’t save this pen.

Even if Treinen is out of this world good once again, the questions around Kelly, Floro, Ferguson, and who they’re going to decide to toss in there as the last guy, are still evident. While for both Kelly and Floro, they were better than the stats showed, for Kelly specifically, LAD expected far more from him last year — on the heels of a great postseason, and decent year for Boston. Floro and Ferguson are hoping to build on their first full seasons with the team, but even so both project to just be decent.

The biggest name in the pen, Kenley Jansen, is also coming off the worst year in his career, aside from maybe the year before. Jansen’s last two seasons have been a general decline from his once borderline-untouchable days. Jansen saw his peripherals improve from the disappointment of a ’18 season, but even then his 5.00 K/BB ratio was a far cry compared to his stretch in ’15-’17 — in which his lowest K/BB ratio was 9.45. If Jansen is able to showcase some of that elite ability from a few years ago, the backend of the pen will be in better hands.

Baez was their most reliable and consistent arm out of the pen a year ago, and has now put together back-to-back seasons of quality relief pitching. In ’18, across 56.1 IP, he posted a 9.97 K/9 and saw his LOB% at 79.2%. While in ’19 he accumulated more value, and was used far more often, his advanced stats say he took a dip. His ERA/FIP and HR/9 all went up, and his K/9 and LOB% both dropped. Baez should be solid again this year, and if I were to be honest, is the safest arm in their pen.

The Yankees’ Bullpen

The Pinstripe Pen of Doom is second to none, when it comes to the best group of guys assembled. With guys like Chad Green and Luis Cessa being the “worst” of the bunch, it shows how deep and talented this potential 8 man set is. Green, specifically, is the Yankees’ Blake Treinen. From ’17-’18, Green, across a total of 144.2 innings pitched, through to the tune of an ERA around 2.2, and combined it with a K/9 of roughly 12.2. In 2019, however, he struggled mightily at the beginning of the year and ended up being sent down to AAA. When he was recalled, he found himself and the life on his fastball, and was once again a dominant force out of the pen.

The backend of the Yankees’ pen, consisting of Chapman, Ottavino, and Britton, is second to none. Having three guys that are all experts in limiting the runs — ERA 2.50 for all of them — is the most important thing out of a bullpen arm. While Britton doesn’t possess as nasty of stuff compared to his two counterparts, what he does do very well is limit the runs and baserunners. His LOB% 86.8% this last year goes to show that he excels at limiting the damage, and he paired it with a HR/9 of 0.44.

Ottavino and Chapman combine to form the best ‘holder and closer’ punch in all of baseball. Ottavino’s slicing slider and efficient fastball, and Chapman’s filthy fastball that seems almost unhittable at times join to form a practical wall versus hitters. Chapman gets a lot of hate due to his misfortune in the postseason, but as a whole there are few relief pitchers with his skillset and value. There was a time when it was Miller, Chapman and Kenley as the top three arms out of the pen in the entire league. Now, Aroldis stands alone there as the last remaining ELITE arm. Kenley can get back to that tier, but his trajectory indicates the opposite.

As for Ottavino, New York’s first #0, he has lived up to the expectations. Ottavino limited the longball and struck out batters at a high rate. His 11.94 K/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 87.8% LOB% contributed to him only allowing 17 runs across 66.1 innings. He excelled versus righties especially, as RHH OPS’d .558 versus him, only hitting 2 HR across 45.0 innings. The fact is that Ottavino is one of the best in baseball, and I expect a huge year out of him and rest of the Yankee pen.

The one key guy that I’m interested in seeing the Dodgers’ version of, is Luis Cessa. Cessa is a fantastic long-reliever, as he was consistent and predictable as well. He tossed 81.0 innings and was about as bang average as a guy could be. However, not every guy needs to be flashy and exciting or elite, but Cessa provided stability and was the go-to guy when the big guns needed a day off. I think a combo of he and possibly Loaisiga will be more than solid. I think Loaisiga may be in the running for the fifth spot in the rotation, assuming Cashman and co want to ease Montgomery back into it — thus swapping the two’s roles.

The Defensive Numbers for LAD & NYY

The final thing I figured I’d compare is the defensive units sent out by both teams. Now, defense as a whole isn’t entirely that valued in today’s MLB, but I always find it good to have competent players spread across the field, or at least scattered.

With that, the Dodgers’ defensive LU for 2020 appears to be; C- Will Smith / 1B- Max Muncy / 2B- Gavin Lux / SS- Corey Seager / 3B- Justin Turner / LF- Cody Bellinger / CF- AJ Pollock / RF- Mookie Betts.

The Yankees look to be, barring any trades or potential injuries: C- Gary Sanchez / 1B- Luke Voit / 2B- DJ LeMahieu / SS- Gleyber Torres / 3B- Gio Urshela / LF- Giancarlo Stanton / CF- Brett Gardner / RF- Aaron Judge

Here is a table comparing both teams’ defensive numbers from 2019 (* = 2018, info via Fangraphs):

NAME (POS) DRS UZR/150 NAME (POS) DRS UZR/150
Will Smith (C) 3.0 N/A Gary Sanchez (C) -2.0 N/A
Max Muncy (1B) 3.0 9.1 Luke Voit (1B) -6.0 -11.9
Gavin Lux (2B) N/A N/A DJ LeMahieu (2B) 5.0 13.2
Corey Seager (SS) 9.0 -2.8 Gleyber Torres (SS) 1.0 -4.7
Justin Turner (3B) -7.0 -12.9 Gio Urshela (3B) -4.0 -3.4
Cody Bellinger (LF) 22.0 13.7 Giancarlo Stanton (LF)* 5.0 17.7
AJ Pollock (CF) -9.0 -20.2 Brett Gardner (CF) 5.0 3.9
Mookie Betts (RF) 15.0 15.6 Aaron Judge (RF) 19.0 24.2

For defense, I decided to take everyone’s natural position’s stats — aside from the OF. For the OF, I took their cumulative OF stats across all three positions, as for guys like Bellinger, he only had 2.0 innings at LF last season. Now,  the defensive numbers for both teams ae pretty sporadically mixed. In that sense, I mean that each team has a handful of exceptional defenders, but then each team also has a handful of well below average defenders.

For LAD, the players that were actively hurting them defensively in 2019 were; Pollock, Turner, and Corey Seager — by UZR/150 (UZR/150 is one of the best stats when it comes to numbers truly reflecting everything that goes into a defender’s range and runs saved). Whereas, for the Yankees, the players that were in the red defensively were; Urshela, Voit, Gleyber, and Sanchez. For Gary, the most important thing is for him to get back to throwing runners out & having that quick pop-up so he can use that cannon of an arm. Gary’s been trending downward defensively for a few years now, so hopefully his arm can find its way back to elite levels.

I will say, I was quite surprised to see how solid Max Muncy is defensively. When watching Muncy play defense, the handful of times I’ve done so, it doesn’t seem as if he’s smooth with his fielding. I wouldn’t have guessed that he would’ve had both a positive DRS and UZR/150. With that, in ’18, Stanton also was one of the best defensive left fielders in all of baseball. He has always had that defensive pedigree to his name, especially during his RF days. Hearing that he’s going to be spending a fair amount of time as DH is interesting to me, but I’m sure it is to keep him healthy and fresh, and to avoid possible injuries — a la 2019.

Having a good defensive unit is important to the success of the team, but it is not critical. I will say that the Dodgers do indeed have a very solid defensive unit. In 2019, they led the league in DRS with a team total of 136.0. For reference, the second best team were the D-Backs at 117.0. The Yankees ranked 22nd with -13 DRS. While LA has the CLEAR advantage in that specific category, when looking at others as well, they’re on a more level playing field. In terms of the MLB rankings for Team UZR/150, the Dodgers ranked 13th at 0.8, and the Yankees were right behind at 0.5.

The Prediction

If you made it to this point, when looking at the teams side-by-side, it is truly a juggernaut of a showdown. The Dodgers have done their due diligence and have assembled a super-team of many sorts. On the offensive side of things, bringing in Mookie Betts to join the reigning NL MVP will likely propel them above the rest of the NL competition. With that, the NL should have a handful of competitive teams barking at the Dodgers’ heels, with one of which being the reigning Champions.

As for the Yankees, they should be able to handedly win their division, and will likely face some opposition in the likes of Houston, the Angels, and Tampa amongst others. Their roster is as good as its ever been, and to be able to throw a competent 1-5 out there, whilst knowing the bullpen is capable of closing out games, means that they’ve got everything they could really need. The loss of Paxton definitely hurts, but the Yankees are in a much better spot this year to absorb the hit. Having Cressey and a revamped strength and conditioning staff should help for the entirety of the team, but unfortunately for Paxton he starts the year off on the IL.

Look for 2020 to be one of the most exciting years of baseball that can come to mind. With so many teams bringing in fresh faces and building their teams to compete, nothing about next year is certain. While as a Yankees fan I may have some bias in saying they’re the best top-to-bottom team in the league, I truly believe it. The stats say that the team is ever improving, and having big weapons like Stanton and Andujar offensively, and Cole and Severino join the rotation for 2020, bodes very well for New York.

As for both team’s bench and likely backup players, I think I would have to give the slight advantage to NYY. If I had to guess what both benches would look like, I think the Dodgers will have something of the following; Kike Hernandez, Austin Barnes, Chris Taylor, and Matt Beaty. For New York, their bench will likely feature; Tyler Wade, Mike Tauchman, Kyle Higashioka, and Mike Ford. While the Dodgers have the experience, and I think Chris Taylor is an excellent utility guy, I view the upside for Wade and Ford as very high, and I think Tauchman is a quality outfielder as well. I expect Tauchman to take a fair amount of AB’s away from both Stanton and Gardner, and Miggy, if Andujar is in that mix as well.

I do believe that the World Series will be LAD vs NYY, and that all year the two will be going toe-to-toe. With that, anything can happen in baseball, which is why it’s the greatest sport in the world. Each team has an incredibly solid and well-put together roster, and with young guys like Gavin Lux and Will Smith for the Dodgers, and Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar for the Yankees — the future if very bright as well.

Are the New York Yankees on Collision Course with Dodgers for Title?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The biggest news to directly, and indirectly, affect the New York Yankees came last night in the form of the monster salary dump by the Boston Red Sox. Still searching for Cora’s replacement, with pitchers and catchers reporting next week, the Red Sox dealt former MVP winner Mookie Betts, AND former Cy Young winner David Price, to the Los Angles Dodgers.

How This Directly Effects the Yankees

Well, for a pretty obvious reason. The New York Yankees no longer have to contend with Mookie Betts or Price. Gary Sanchez has absolutely raked against Price his entire career. And with Price formerly a Ray, and Blue Jay, before coming to Boston, the team has been able to scout him pretty well. Yes, Price will put up a good start here and there vs. the Yanks, but the Yankees will still miss the guy who gave up Jeter’s 3,000 hits. And Mookie? Well, who’d want that guy facing off against your teams 3 times a game, 20-30 games a season?

How This Indirecty Effects the Yankees

The Dodgers have been the perennial favorites to win not only the NL West but the NL pennant as well. And they’ve continually come up just short. They had to do something to account for Ryu’s departure to Toronto, and to pick up a bat-like Betts to boot? That’s just a gift. Especially when the Sox are just getting prospects from the Dodgers AND Twins.

No matter what Kershaw’s bugaboo in the postseason is, this puts up a 1, 2, 3, in the Dodgers rotation of Kershaw, Price, and Buhler, with Price winning his first championship against the Dodgers just 2 years ago. Should the Dodgers once again make it to October, he will be the rock that anchors the team. They are the favorites now to go head to head with the boys from the Bronx. With a rematch of the 1981 World Series potentially in store for 2020, who wouldn’t get excited?