A season of frustration nearing its end

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To say this has been a frustrating baseball season is an understatement.

This shortened “unique” regular season consisting of opponents just in your division for both the American and National League made it tough. No fans in the stands made it tougher.

Cancellations, postponements and doubleheaders that were only seven innings added to the difficulties of handicapping ballgames.

I think we would all agree that many managers and teams took full advantage of the health situation and did not name starting pitchers until later than usual. In some cases, not until just minutes before game time. This obviously affected when the lines came out and our needing to quickly respond to them. Maybe the oddsmakers even took advantage at times and overvalued teams.

Let’s not even go into late pitching changes where lines drastically moved. As a professional handicapper, bettor, and columnist, this all certainly frustrated me. So, if you felt the same way at times, I just wanted you to know you were not alone. 

We aren’t going to have to deal with many of these items in the Fall Classic. Things should be a bit easier. With the entire series being played at Globe Life Field in Arlington Texas, The Los Angeles Dodgers are the home team and hosts the first two games, while Tampa Bay then becomes the home team in the next three games.

There will be 10,555 tickets sold for seats and an additional 950 tickets sold for suites. This all in a venue that can house just over 40,000 onlookers.

On paper, Los Angeles is the stronger combatant, both on the mound and at the plate, The Dodgers have the better numbers. Game 1 is always a huge part of how we look at the ensuing games of a series. Writing this column Tuesday morning makes me unable to do that. We do know starters are listed as Tyler Glasnow and Clayton Kershaw. Tampa Bay has listed Game 2’s starter as Blake Snell. And Los Angeles has slated Walker Buehler as the Game 3 starter.

We talked about LA being better on paper. However, games are played on the diamond. With all respect to the Dodgers, they have been to the World Series each of the last two seasons and each time, were sent away hat in hand. The AL has dominated them. We all know someone who has attended numerous weddings as a bridesmaid, but never as a bride. The pressure is all on the Dodgers.

Of course, the Rays are going to feel some pressure too. But very few in the baseball world are giving Tampa Bay a second thought. To me, this makes them very dangerous. You will be able to get great odds on the Rays as the underdogs in the Series, as well as in most of the individual game matchups.

 Not only do I think the AL representative offers us value, I think they win it all and send the NL rep back home again empty-handed, once again a bridesmaid. I’m siding with Tampa Bay in the World Series in six or seven games.


Rays vs. Dodgers: We expect Snell and Dustin May to start here. May has been more consistent of the two. Momentum going into this series is important. Los Angeles is a very good team at making necessary adjustments.

Regardless of what happens in Game 1 or who starts in this matchup, I like the Dodgers here as manager Dave Roberts and his staff have been excellent at making those adjustments all season long. Los Angeles is 9-4 the last 13 vs. the AL East. DODGERS


Dodgers vs. Rays: Game 3 comes after the only scheduled off day in the first five meetings. This will surely benefit the Rays, which played a few more games over the postseason. The starters appear to be Charlie Morton and Walker Buehler.

The Rays have won Morton’s last five starts as the veteran right-hander has not allowed more than three earned runs over his past 11 appearances. Buehler has been just as impressive, but has had limited outings over his last six starts. To win here, you need your starters to go a little further in the game than what Buehler has been doing.

Tampa Bay is 4-0 the last four interleague games, 4-1 the last five interleague games as a ‘dog, and 12-4 the last 16 overall as an underdog. I’m staying with Tampa Bay here, even if these starters don’t go. RAYS


Dodgers vs. Rays: We can only speculate as to who starts this Game 4 matchup. It all depends on what happens in the first three contests.

Both teams have solid pitchers after their first three in the rotation. By this time, both managers and both teams have seen enough of one another to know just what to expect. I anticipate the Series will be separated by just one game at this point. Thus, I expect both teams to start the next pitcher in the lineup.

This is what has made handicapping baseball such a frustrating experience. You can’t really plan ahead because you don’t know who’s pitching. And even if you do know,  how far will they go?

Over the last few weeks, Tampa Bay has utilized an extra starter to their rotation, making their hurlers a bit more rested. But the Los Angeles rotation has had excellent output from their next-in-line staff. I like the Dodgers here. DODGERS

Last week: 2-1

Season: 17-17

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