#102 – 2020 World Series Preview (4/5/2019 – October 2020)

The Phillies. The Rays. The Liberty Bell and the Phanatic. Mohawks and cowbells. A chance for the Rays to revenge their 2008 loss, a chance for Philadelphia sports talk radio callers to claim further ownership of Tampa Bay. Last years World Series paired two teams with 33 championships between them while this year pairs two teams with 2 combined victories (both on one side), so whichever team wins will have a very happy fanbase for the foreseeable future. This is actually the perfect World Series for 2020 if we are going off of regular season results and putting aside the stupid PED scandal. The Rays were the most consistent team in the AL for 162 games. The Phillies were the most consistent team in the NL for 162 games. Now they will both have a chance to clash in the biggest games of the year to determine bragging rights.

Despite playing in one of the toughest divisions, Tampa Bay managed to win 108 games. The key to their success this year was in their shutdown bullpen, their OBP, and their baserunning. The combination of these factors has more than made up for their below average power. They have been on absolute cruise control so far in this postseason, losing only one game and sweeping Austin Riley and the White Sox in the ALCS. Their rotation is fresh and rested, unlike the Phillies. This team, led by Marcus Stroman, Dylan Bundy, Jake Lamb, Rhys Hoskins, and Trea Turner, has played above their projections all year long and made it look simple. Any time one player went through a slump, the rest of the team picked them up and they didn’t miss a beat. Could this be the year the Rays win their first World Series? “In the span of a few months, I’ve seen the mood go from “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” to “Hey, this might happen” to “I think we are going to do it” related to this team and it’s chances. There is a real, tangible belief in that clubhouse that this team is the best team in baseball this year,” said GM @Scott Caruso (Rays). Tampa Bay certainly believes.

With the Dodgers, Mets, and Cubs all taking steps back to varying degrees this year, the Phillies have emerged as the team to beat in the senior circuit. Led by Aaron Nola, Edwin Diaz, Franmil Reyes, Cody Bellinger, and Manny Machado, Philly led the NL in home runs and were #2 in most significant pitching and defensive categories behind the Dodgers. These factors have balanced out their slight deficiencies in OBP and baserunning. While the regular season was a cakewalk for the most part, they have gotten through the postseason so far by the skin of their teeth. Both the NLDS and NLCS went to final elimination games, with the NLCS in particular being one of the more memorable series in recent history. Ex-Dodger Cody Bellinger, who has been carrying the offense on his back this postseason slashing an eye-popping .405/.500/1.095 in 52 PA, put the final nail in the coffin in the bottom of the 10th with a 2 run homer in game 7. Said Phillies GM @(Phillies) Joe, “If Cody Bellinger has to carry the offense in the World Series like in the LCS there are going to be a lot of Phils looking for jobs this offseason.”

Rotation: Edge Phillies
Bullpen: Slight Edge Phillies
AVG: Edge Rays
OBP: Edge Rays
ISO: Edge Phillies
Defense: Edge Phillies
Baserunning: Edge Rays
R&R: Edge Rays

Prediction: Rays in 6

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