How do the Yankees stack up against the AL East in ZIP projections?

yankees, gerrit cole

The New York Yankees thought they were good enough last season. Their performance proved that to be untrue, even though they reached a Wild Card berth that they lost to the Red Sox ending their season. The Yankees, in their inaction before the lockout, may indicate they feel the same this season. If that is true, don’t expect results that stray from last season’s disappointment. Today we look at the ZIPS projections for the Yankees for the 2022 season.

First, it’s essential to understand the terms used. ZIPS is a system of player projections developed by FanGraph’s Dan Szymborski when he was at Baseball Think Factory. According to a Q&A on the Baseball Think Factory website, ZIPS uses growth and decline curves based on player type to find trends. It then factors those trends into the past performance of those players to come up with projections. Dan uses the last four years in his predictions.

zWAR is, according to MLB.com WAR measures a player’s value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position (e.g., a Minor League replacement or a readily available fill-in free agent). Put a z in front of WAR, and the prediction includes all WAR stats. For example, suppose a shortstop and a first baseman offer the same overall production (on offense, defense, and the basepaths). In that case, the shortstop will have a better WAR because his position sees a lower production level from replacement-level players.

Here is where the Yankees stand compared to other AL East foes:

Starting Rotation

The Yankees’ rotation looks pretty good, primarily due to the rotation being led by ace Gerrit Cole; his zWAR is 5.8. He is followed by wins by Jordan Montgomery 2.9, Jameson Taillon 2.1, Luis Severino 2.0, Nestor Cortes Jr. .08, and Domingo German with a zWAR of .06. The entire staff sits at 14.2 zWAR, only behind the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays have not been lucky even after acquiring Hyun Jin Ryu and last season Robbie Ray. They have a strong lineup of young players but have been let down by their starting rotation. Their zWAR of 16 leads the AL East. José Berríos 3.8, free agent Kevin Gausman 4.3, Hyun Jin Ryu 3.6, and Alek Manoah (3.2 zWAR) round out a formidable starting rotation.

The Red Sox starting rotation zWAR sits in the middle of the pack with 12.2 zWAR led by Nathan Eovaldi at 3.8. The Red Sox and Tampa Bay sit neck and neck at 12 zWAR. The lowly Orioles sit last in zWAR at 5.3. They are so bad they moved their left-field fence back, so fewer home runs will be hit off of them.

Bullpen

The New York Yankees are expected to repeat 2021 with a stellar bullpen in the last few years. They will lead all bullpens with zWAR at 6.6. Tampa Bay’s bullpen will shine again, coming in second – 5.3, followed by a tie between the Red Sox and Toronto at 4.6. Not surprisingly, the Orioles scrape the bottom with a 2.7 zWAR.

Infield

The Baltimore Orioles and Yankees’ infield situation looks the most unstable. The Yankees actually don’t know who will be playing where going into the new season. The Tampa Bay Rays lead with their strong infield at 19.2 zWAR. The tandem of Brandon Lowe 4.5 and newly-extended budding superstar Wander Franco at 5.1 zWAR has created a double play monster.

The Blue Jays trail, not far behind at 17 zWAR, buoyed by AL-East-leading Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 5.9 and the Yankee killer Bo Bichette at 4.7 zWAR. Meanwhile, the Red Sox sit middle-of-the-pack at 14.7 zWAR, Xander Bogaerts 3.9, and Rafael Devers 3.5 zWAR lead the Sox.

The Yankees come second to the bottom of the pack with a 13.4 zWAR, with no position producing more than the 2.7 zWAR. . The Orioles are far behind with a 8.3 zWAR. The Yankees surely must upgrade the infield and set some permanent positions for 2022. Giancarlo Stanton is predicted to be the best DH in the East.

Outfield

The Yankees fare far better in the outfield at Yankee Stadium. As messed up as the infield is, the outfield is firmed up and solid. Aaron Judge is projected for a monster 5.7 zWAR season which is best across all AL East outfielders. In addition, ZiPS predicts a bounce-back campaign for Joey Gallo 4.3 zWAR in his first entire season in the Bronx. Even Aaron Hicks is expected to contribute some value at 1.8 zWAR. Altogether, the 11.8 zWAR is head and shoulders above any AL East team.

The Toronto Blue Jays come in second at 6.8 zWAR, with George Springer 3.9 in center, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left, Teoscar Hernández in right, and Randal Grichuk as the fourth outfielder. Tampa Bay is next at 6.6 zWAR, with Baltimore surprisingly not far behind at 6.2 zWAR. This time, Boston is projected to have the worst outfield in the East, a distant 3.5 zWAR, with Alex Verdugo 1.9 zWAR the only outfielder under contract with even a full projected win zWAR.

Overall

The New York Yankees actually look in pretty good shape for the upcoming season. Their 44.6 cumulative zWAR leads the AL East, narrowly ahead of Toronto (44.4 zWAR). The Rays 43.1 and the Red Sox 35, with the Baltimore Orioles again at the bottom with a zWar of just 22.5. The entire Yankee season will depend on the lineup hitting, which they didn’t do last season, and acquiring key players after the lockout is over to fill needed holes. There will be much to be decided regarding the Yankees before spring training. 

MLB News: The latest update on the 2021 postseason results

The New York Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox in their wild card match this past Tuesday night, ending their dream of a 28th World Champion for at least this season, but there is still a lot of baseball action for baseball fans as the postseason chugs along.

American League divisional series:

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox got to the AL divisional series by beating the New York Yankees in the wild card game. Both the Red  Sox and the Yankees had up and down seasons leading them to have the same 92-70 record. However, with the Sox having a better season record over the Yanks, they got the home-field advantage. On Tuesday night, the Red Sox ended the Yankees season with a 6-2 win.

The Tampa Bay Rays, for other than a short time, have led the AL East all season and dominated all of its AL East opponents finishing the season eight games ahead of both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Nine ahead of the Blue Jays and 48 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles that lost 110 games this season.

In the first game of the divisional series, the Tampa Bay Rays blew out the Red Sox 5-0. Shane McClanahan was dominant, holding the Red Sox scoreless. The Rays hit two home runs in the win. Veteran Nelson Cruz homered in the third inning, and the incredible Randy Arozarena made history with his home run. He became the fifth player to hit a homer in 19 consecutive postseason games. He also is the first to hit a homer and steal home in the same postseason game.

Game two played last night; the Red Sox bested the Rays by piling on the runs. At the end of the night, it was the Red Sox 14 and the Rays 6. The Sox knocked starting pitcher newbie Shane Baz out of the game. But that was better than the Sox ace Chris Sale; he was out of the game at the end of the first inning, giving up five earned runs. Tanner Houck for the Sox got the win with five innings of one-run ball. For the Sox, it was home run heaven. Bogaerts, Verdugo, Hernandez, Martinez, and Devers all hit long balls in the game.

The series is now tied at one game apiece in the five-game contest. Game three will be on Sunday at 4:07 pm EDT.

Houston Astros  vs. Chicago White Sox

On Sunday, the Houston Astros can claim their ticket to the Championship Series with a win over the White Sox as they have won the first two games against their northern foe.

In game one, Lance McCullers Jr. bested the White Sox Lance Lynn. The Astros got a few small ball runs, and then Michael Brantly got a two-run dinger helping the cause. Yordan Alverez sealed the deal with a solo shot for the Astro’s sixth run in the 6-1 win.

Thursday night’s game two was more of a contest as the White Sox scored 4 runs to the Astros 9. The White Sox struck first in the first inning, but the Astros got it back in the second. Tim Anderson of the Sox tied a baseball record getting 12 hits in his first five postseason games. However, the tide turned for the Sox when the Astros Yuli Guirrel got a two-run homer. Two-run homers followed that by both Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker.

AL Championship series:

The winner of the Tampa Bay Red Sox series will face the winner of the Houston Astros Chicago White Sox series on Friday, October 15th.

National League divisional series:

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

When the Dodgers won the wild card from the St. Louis Cardinals, they created history by playing in the divisional series against the San Francisco Giants for the first time since they were the New York Giants in 1889. That year the Giants won the World Series by one game over the Boston Beaneaters.

Yesterday was game one against these two western rivals. The Giants scored two runs off the Dodger’s starting pitcher Walker Buehler and the game was over; the Dodgers didn’t know it at the time, but they remained scoreless off of the Giants pitching, the Giants shut them out 4-0. Game two will be tonight at 9:07 pm EDT at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers

As in previous years, the Atlanta Braves have been one of the most successful baseball teams.  The Braves led the NL East by 6.5 games ahead of Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies. The New York Yankees’ claim to fame is that they won 3 of 4 against the Braves and both games at the Braves home park.

The Braves are playing the Milwaukee Brewers in the divisional series. Game one was yesterday when the Brewers squeaked out a one-run lead in the 2-1 contest. Corbin Burns bested the Braves Charlie Morton. Rowdy Tellez’s two-run homer in the seventh inning sealed the deal for the Brewers. Game two is today at 5:07 pm EDT.

NL Championship series:

The San Francisco Los Angeles series winner will face the Atlanta Milwaukee series winner in the NL Championship Series on Saturday, October 16.

2021 World Series:

The AL and NL Championship Series winners will face each other in the best of seven series starting on Tuesday, October 26th.

Mets Winning Streak Comes to an End in 3-2 Walk-off Loss to Rays

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets bullpen was the main reason for their success in the last seven wins, but the Tampa Bay Rays found a way to crack the code. Their rallies in the eighth and ninth inning culminated in a Brett Phillips walk-off single to give the Rays a 3-2 win and end the Mets winning streak.

David Peterson bounced back in a major way from his 1.2 inning outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Peterson made it through 7.1 innings, holding the Rays to two runs on four hits while striking out nine. His two-seam fastball has movement and velocity we have not seen this season, and it helped set up his secondary pitches. Peterson retired 17 in a row at one point but ran out of steam in the eighth inning.

Mike Zunino led off with a homer, Kevin Padlo followed with a double, and Peterson left the game after striking out Brett Phillips. Trevor May followed and did not look like his dominant self as he allowed a Manuel Margot double to tie the game at two. Margot lifted his career average against the Mets to .388 by finding another way to torture Mets pitching. May kept the game tied by striking out Austin Meadows to end the inning.

Miguel Castro hoped to get the Mets to extra innings, but the Rays rally continued in the ninth. Brandon Lowe’s walk and Willy Adames seeing-eye single set up a first and third, no-out situation. Castro pitching around Zunino to load the bases for Aaron Loup to enter the game. Loup recorded a big strikeout of Joey Wendle for the second out, but Phillips attacked the first pitch cutter to single and stole the game from the Mets.

On To The Next One

By no means did the Mets bullpen get hit around, but they were not at their elite level from a majority of the season. It was a night where they needed to be perfect, and they just happened to be average. Even the elite pitchers have off nights, and there was nothing concerning coming from any of the relievers who pitched.

Tyler Glasnow lived up to his numbers by putting together another dominant start. Glasnow’s start was a three-part story with a beginning, middle, and end. He began by returning the first 14 in order and looking like he was on his way to a perfect game. In the middle, he gave up four hits in a row, including Jonathan Villar‘s two-run home run. Glasnow ended by allowing just one hit in the final three innings he pitched. He finished the night with eight stellar innings, five hits, and two allowed with 10 strikeouts.

The Mets attempt to bounce back with a bullpen game tomorrow against Rays starter Shane McClanahan. It will be an earlier 1:10 p.m. ET start from Tropicana Field.

Mets Game Preview: (5/14/21) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (20-19)

yankees, New York Mets, Luis Rojas

After a very successful homestand, the New York Mets take their show on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have two more wins than the Mets but find themselves in fourth place in the AL East while the 18 win Mets are in first place in the NL East. The first pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

The New York Mets turned the calendar to May and hit the ground running. They are 9-2 and in the middle of a seven-game winning streak which has finally seen their terrific pitching get support from their offense. Francisco Lindor is the straw that stirs the drink and has lived up to the hype during the winning streak. Lindor has played in six of the seven wins and is 8-for-20 (.400), with one home run, five walks, and just one strikeout.

Pitching is the key for the Rays, and their 3.62 ERA shows its strength. Outside of Tyler Glasnow, their best arms reside in their bullpen. Andrew Kittredge (1.65 ERA), former Met Hunter Strickland (1.69 ERA), and Diego Castillo (seven saves) lead the way for their dynamic bullpen. The offense has been a bit of a struggle as plenty of talented hitters are performing below expectations. Joey Wendle leads the team with a .270 batting average and is second with a .435 slugging.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson gets the start and hopes to regain his control after a rough outing against the Diamondbacks. He lasted just 1.2 innings, hitting a batter and leaving a lot of threes on his line. Peterson allowed three hits, runs, walks, and struck out a trio D’Backs. Over 26 innings this season, he has a 5.54 ERA and 32 strikeouts.

The strikeouts master, Tyler Glasnow, takes the mound for the Rays and is an early AL Cy Young award candidate. Glasnow’s 75 strikeouts (3rd), .146 batting average against (4th), 49.1 innings pitched (9th) all rank amongst MLB’s best. Half of Glasnow’s starts have resulted in him finishing with double-digit strikeouts numbers.

Matchups To Lookout For

Tyler Glasnow vs. Jonathan Villar: 2-for-12 (.167), Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Tyler Glasnow vs. Kevin Pillar: 1-for-9 (.111), 4 Strikeouts

Yankees: Good news and bad news in tough win over Tampa Bay

yankees, gary sanchez

Against the rival Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees rose to the occasion and stole the first game of a three-game series this week.

The heated history between the Yankees and Rays has bubbled over significantly in recent years, and that intensity didn’t dissipate from the win on Tuesday. Thankfully, New York managed to walk away with a slim win by a score of 3-1, thanks to outstanding pitching once again.

Jordan Montgomery lasted 6.0 innings, allowing two hits and just one run, striking out nine batters. He had a phenomenal performance and set up the bullpen nicely, with Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman giving up one hit combined over three innings.

It was a difficult contest, as the Yankee offense was led by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, who both hit solo homeruns.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

The positive news, starting first baseman Luke Voit made his anticipated return to the team, enjoying three at-bats and striking out once. He did earn some solid contact on the ball and a few good swings, so the Yankees likely feel good about his return. Gaining one of their top hitters back must feel good, as he slid right into the fifth spot in the batting order, handling his duties adequately.

However, the Yankees only managed to record three runs, striking out six times, including three from Gleyber Torres. They made good contact and didn’t rack up the Ks as we’ve seen in the recent past — they just simply couldn’t get the ball in play consistently. The top four in the batting order recorded five total hits zero strikeouts.

The one injury to keep an eye on is centerfielder Aaron Hicks, who was dropped from the lineup due to a foul ball hitting him in the shin on Sunday, producing a bruise. Due to that soreness, the Yankees gave Hicks the night off, inserting Clint Frazier at CF to help supplement his loss. Hicks is having a tough start to the season offensively but is mostly a reliable defensive player.

“No long-term concern,” Boone said of Hicks. “The ball he fouled off his shin the other day when he went to start his pregame stuff, just pretty sore. Decided to hold him out (Tuesday). Hoping that he’s in there (Wednesday) but it’ll be kind of a day to day thing. He got an X-ray just to be safe. I think it’s just about getting a little bit of swelling out of there. He’s pretty sore (Tuesday).”

The Rays falling back creates a new headache for the New York Yankees

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Last night, the New York Yankees biggest threat in the AL East took a major step back. The Tampa Bay Rays traded away former Cy Young award winner, Blake Snell, to the San Diego Padres for a package of prospects.

Combining that with the loss of Charlie Morton earlier in the offseason, and you can expect the Rays to take a big step back next year. While they won’t be a bad team, they won’t be the biggest threat to the Yankees.

Instead, you will have to look north of the border to find the Yankees biggest threat. The Toronto Blue Jays are going to be a major player in the AL East in 2021. There are some analysts already picking them to win the division.

However, the Rays taking a step back could create a different headache for the Yankees than some would expect. While the Rays getting worse is seen as a good thing, it also opens the window even more for the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays now can look at the Yankees as their soul competition in the AL East. What’s one way you can really hurt your only competition? Signing away their MVP candidate who has shined for them over the past two years.

The Yankees AL East bidding war?

It was reported last week that the Toronto Blue Jays are a serious threat to take DJ LeMahieu away from the Yankees. New York and LeMahieu have been at a standstill for the past couple of weeks after making initial progress. 

The talks have halted over a potential fifth year. The Yankees do not want to give LeMahieu a guaranteed fifth year factoring in his age while DJLM’s camp is insisting on the bombers making the fifth year guaranteed.

Since the two sides are not blinking, other teams have been getting more serious about their pursuit of LeMahieu. Obviously one of those being the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are very serious about signing LeMahieu.

They are also the kind of team that would more than likely give him the guaranteed fifth year to secure him. Everything we’ve heard up until this point suggests the Yankees and LeMahieu want a reunion. However, will one blink to make it happen?

If not, the Blue Jays could be staring at a golden opportunity in the East. The Rays have fallen back and the Yankees MVP candidate is there for the taking. This is definitely a situation to keep your eye on as we move forward.

Could the Yankees make a blockbuster trade for Blake Snell?

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman always manage to surprise fans with big moves, but this off-season could be different for a team that often leads the MLB in salary expenditures. With Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole, and potentially DJ LeMahieu on massive contracts, the Yankees won’t have as much financial flexibility as they have in the past. These long-term deals have severely limited their ability to spend on other positions, notably starting pitching.

However, acquiring a player who won’t cost much in a trade would be a good move for the Bombers, who are looking to win a World Series now and not wait until Aaron Judge hits free agency. A trade for a productive player with a low-cost per-year would be a perfect scenario, but the Yankees don’t wanna give away some of their more promising young talents.

Nonetheless, rising players are sometimes utilized as sacrifices to bolster a team that has World Series aspirations, and the Yankees can afford to do that right now if they want to compete in 2021.

Who would be a good fit for the New York Yankees?

One fantastic player is Blake Snell, who had a dominant 2020 season with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have already indicated they are willing to trade Snell for the right price, and the Yankees have plenty of talent to spare if they want to go that route. Snell isn’t just a premium starter, but he is one of the best in the MLB, posting a 3.24 ERA this past season in over 50 innings pitched. He earned a career-high 49.2% ground ball rate (perfect for Yankee Stadium) and 11.34 strikeouts per nine. As for his pitches (he’s a lefty, another BONUS!), he utilized his slider more than ever before, seeing a decrease in his curveball and consistency with his changeup and fastball.

It seems as if Snell has found more success utilizing his slider, about 10% more in 2020 compared to 2019. This translated to better numbers across-the-board, and his pitch velocity has hovered at a consistent range.

The Yankees would have to give up some quality players and exchange for Blake, though. If I were Cashman, I would gauge interest in potentially including Deivi Garcia, Miguel Andujar, and another prospect for Snell, who would immediately make the Yankees’ starting rotation one of the best in baseball. García showed some solid stuff in 2020, but he is still a few years away from being considered a top-flight pitcher if he ever reaches that level. The Yankees can acquire an ace right now, who is only earning $10 million per season, fitting perfectly into their cash flow situation.

The Rays might be unwilling to deal with the Yankees based on their competitive nature in the AL East, but if they are willing to part ways with Snell for some quality prospects and starting level talent, the Yankees shouldn’t hesitate to make an offer.

New York Yankees Analysis: Why is everything with the Yankees so damn important?

Why, because the New York Yankees are the New York Yankees. The Yankees are the most valuable, wealthiest baseball franchise in the world. The Yankees, because of that, are under more scrutiny than any other team. The Yankees are in New York City, USAToday says that New York is the best sports city globally, Forbes says it’s Boston, but that is irrelevant; if you’re from the tri-state area, you know its New York. For these and other reasons, all eyes are on a team that is supposed to win a World Championship every year, but they don’t.

Maybe a better question is why the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, a team from a much smaller market, a team with one-quarter of the payroll, wins the ALCS, but the Yankees haven’t been able to in years?

To put it plainly, the New York Yankees are not the DesMoines MudDogs (no offense, Iowa); they are the Yankees, a team that is supposed to be victorious every year. If the MudDogs or any other team comes in third or fourth in their division, they likely feel their season was successful. Not the Yankees, if they don’t reach the World Series and win it, they are failures.

Based on that, all eyes are on the Yankees in the offseason to see what they will do to improve the team. Some of it seems ludicrous, the Yankees have one of the most powerful lineups in baseball, yet we try to improve it. The Yankees are known to have one of the best bullpens in the game, but yet with Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman headlining the group, we need to fix it; it’s not good enough.

All of this aside, the Yankees do have some serious problems to solve. Mainly they have no starting pitching. Yes, they made the biggest splash last year when they went to California and spent $324 million on Gerrit Cole, but now they find themselves with only Gerrit Cole. The Yankees have to rebuild their pitching rotation completely. But with the Yankees, you never know what they and their general manager Brian Cashman will do. But all of these things are so damn important because the Yankees must win next season, or it will be the end of the world.

Maybe we should look at the Dallas Cowboys, the wealthiest sports franchise at $5.5 billion (the Yankees are at $5 billion). They haven’t won an NFL Championship since 1996, even longer since the Yankees have won. I wish I could answer why the Yankees can’t seem to put it all together and win their 28th World Championship, If I could Brian Cashman would be out and I would be in.

Nevertheless all of the sports world will be watching the New York Yankees this offseason to see whose tires they will kick or what blockbuster deal they will be pulling off, or if they again patch up the team and hope for the big win. In my experience when you do the same thing and expect a different result, you’re playing the fools game.

 

 

 

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.