Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Game 2 Pick
Tampa Bay Rays (49-26) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (53-20)
When: 8:08 p.m., Wednesday, October 21
Where: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
Starting Pitchers: Blake Snell (2-2, 3.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 9.95 ERA, 1.74 WHIP)
Moneyline: TB +130/LAD -150 (BAS - Bet on baseball, football and basketball games at reduced odds there! WAY better deal than any signup bonus you’ll receive!)
Runline: Rays +1.5/Dodgers -1.5
It’s odd to call the second game a must-win situation, but that’s exactly what Tampa Bay faces in this contest. With Tyler Glasnow having lost the first game, Tampa Bay really cannot afford to fall into an 0-2 hole with Snell on the mound. That’s especially true given what the upcoming pitching matchups hold. Walker Buehler awaits in the third game, which means there’s an excellent chance that Tampa Bay falls into an 0-3 hole if the Rays can’t get a win here.
Plus, slipping into an 0-2 hole would take away the best thing the Rays have in their corner: the lack of pressure compared to their opponents. Snagging a game off the Dodgers in the first two contests of this series would bring up questions in the Los Angeles clubhouse and make the Dodgers think about past failures. But if Los Angeles takes a chokehold on this series with Buehler coming, the Rays lose that advantage entirely. If Tampa Bay wants to have any hope in this series, it’s got to win this game.
Tuesday night was expected to produce a fair amount of strikeouts, and it didn’t disappoint, as the teams combined for 21 strikeouts. Snell hasn’t really been striking hitters out during this postseason other than fanning nine in the playoff opener against Toronto, but he struck out over 200 batters just two years ago, and he can absolutely be a strikeout pitcher on the right evening.
Tony Gonsolin has actually pitched worse when he’s racked up strikeouts, as he gave up 11 runs in his past three appearances where he racked up six strikeouts or more and just three when he failed to hit that number. But striking out has been the Rays’ biggest Achilles’ heel all season long, and if Gonsolin can rack up K’s, the Dodgers would have a real edge. Tampa Bay’s hitters haven’t yet seen much success against the Dodgers, and another strikeout-filled performance would really hurt the Rays’ confidence, especially if it’s not Kershaw or Buehler doing it.
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Saving the Bullpen
Even though Glasnow took the loss in the opener, his performance was significant for the Rays because it saved the bullpen. Tampa Bay ended up throwing 174 pitches on Tuesday night, but 112 of those came from Glasnow, allowing the Rays to get through the game without burning anyone besides Josh Fleming. Tampa Bay’s biggest strength is its dominant bullpen, and the Rays could have easily made a bad situation worse if they had torched through six or seven relievers in an effort to try to save a lost cause in the opener.
But they didn’t really need to beat Kershaw in Game 1, and by choosing not to push after the game got out of hand, the Rays left themselves with a reasonable shot to win the second game. Fleming likely won’t be available, but Tampa Bay should still have enough pitching to get through this game. Ironically, it’s the Dodgers who put their bullpen at risk, using four different pitchers to get the job done after Clayton Kershaw came out.
- The Dodgers are 10-3 in their past 13 playoff games.
- The Dodgers are 2-5 in their past six World Series games.
- The under is 8-2 in the Rays’ past nine games.
- The under is 5-3 in the Dodgers’ past seven World Series games.
- The over has hit in five straight meetings between the teams.
The wind will again be blowing south-southeast at eight miles an hour, which didn’t affect much of anything on Tuesday night. Temperatures will hover around the low 70s again.
The Dodgers are not well set up to win a bullpen game, and they seem to be playing into Tampa Bay’s hands with this strategy in this game. Los Angeles used more pitchers than Tampa Bay, and the Rays should be able to count on Blake Snell to get the game into a good position when they hand it over to their own bullpen.
Just like Tampa Bay didn’t need to win game 1, Los Angeles doesn’t need to win the second game. The Dodgers could land a knockout punch with a win in this game, but I think they’ll be perfectly happy to hand the series to Buehler tied at one apiece. I’ll take Tampa Bay as a live dog to ride its bullpen and even the series. Bet your World Series picks for FREE by taking advantage of a huge 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie!
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