Staffs a juggling act

For the third time in four years, the Los Angeles Dodgers are representing the National League in the World Series. This time, they’d like to walk away with the trophy.

In 2017, LA was factually cheated out of one by the Houston Astros, while the following campaign saw them fall to one of the best Boston Red Sox teams in franchise history in a tough six-game set.

It won’t get much easier in this particular matchup. Just like the Dodgers accomplished, the Tampa Bay Rays notched the best record in their league, thus garnering the organization’s first No. 1 seed ever, and the aftermath has been an impressive display on both sides of the ball to land them in this year’s Fall Classic.

Both teams figure to clash in similar fashion, as each side boasts strong starting pitching with arguably-even-stronger bullpens following in tow. Los Angeles has a superior lineup but Tampa skipper Kevin Cash is showing an ability to mix-and-match the right matchups.

So, it comes down to this, with the upcoming week (and hopefully the proceeding one, too) set to host the final baseball meetings of 2020. Let’s try to get a look at totals early in the World Series.

Wednesday

Blake Snell vs. Dustin May: May just started Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, but since it was an outing that saw him go only one inning, he can likely be entrusted to get the ball in Game 2 of the Fall Classic.

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The lack of duration in his most recent start was more by design, so I don’t think that can be held against the rookie when projecting his outlook for any appearance on the biggest stage. Besides, May enjoyed a very impressive sophomore campaign this season and that success has carried into the playoffs. Before his Game 7 nod, May allowed only two runs (one earned) in four games (two starts).

Like his counterpart, Snell is getting his second taste of playoff baseball — and the results have been good this second time around as well. The former AL Cy Young Award Winner has made four starts and yielded two runs or fewer in three of them. He still hasn’t lasted six-plus innings yet but that should change. UNDER

Friday

Walker Buehler vs. Charlie Morton: The series will remain in Arlington, of course, but this Game 3 will mark when the Rays get their turn as the home team.

They’re likely going with Morton, who once again was inserted into a Game 7, as he did in the ALCS, and once again delivered in the most clutch spot in sports to propel Tampa Bay past Houston. The 13-year veteran is enjoying a fabulous postseason, one that has seen opponents collectively only manage a single earned run in three starts, spanning 15.1 innings.

Buehler, however, is Morton’s postseason match, excelling in playoff assignments as much as any starter since first debuting a few years ago. Buehler came up big his last time out in Game 6 of the NLCS — with LA down 3-2 in the series and facing elimination — by firing six shutout innings. In his still-young career, the 26-year-old has already made 10 postseason starts and manufactured a splendid 2.44 ERA. UNDER

Last week: 1-1

Season: 7-6