Coming off a win in Game 2 of the 2020 World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays will try to get one step closer to their first World Series title.
They take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 tonight at 8:08 p.m., but if they’re going to win, they’ll need an offensive performance resembling that of their last outing. The Rays scored six runs in Game 2 after being held to just three in a loss in Game 1.
But reaching home plate won’t be easy for either squad. Both will have talented pitchers on the mound, and runs may be hard to come by. It’ll take a productive offensive night from either team to break the 1-1 tie in the series.
Potential World Series pitchers’ duel
Both teams will sport experienced guys on the mound in Game 3. For the Dodgers, it will be fourth-year right-hander Walker Buehler, who will be making the 11th postseason start of his career. His ERA in postseason matchups is 2.44, and the 26-year-old is coming off an electric game in his last start.
He pitched six shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the NLCS, helping the Dodgers come back to win that series in seven games.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said the team will have its hands full against Buehler, who posses a blazing fastball.
But Tampa Bay is a good hitting team, and it likes to keep opposing pitchers guessing. Buehler said he expects the team to change up its lineup, calling the Rays a “manufacturing” team instead of a slugging team.
It won’t be so easy for the Dodgers batters when they step up to the plate, either. On the mound for Tampa Bay will be veteran Charlie Morton. Despite being 36, Morton still brings some juice and has been very formidable this postseason.
He’s 3-0 with an ERA of just 0.57. Since joining Tampa Bay last season, he is undefeated in postseason starts, as he went 2-0 last season.
Cash said the two-time all-star is a calming presence for the club, and given his pedigree, it trusts him in the postseason.
With two elite pitchers on the mound, whoever can break the scoring drought early will be in an excellent position to take Game 3.
What’s at stake?
With the series all knotted up at one game apiece, the winner of tonight’s game will have the edge moving forward in the series. For the Rays, that could mean the club’s first-ever championship and an avenging of its loss to the Phillies in its first World Series appearance in 2008.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, are searching for their sixth World Series title, though they haven’t won one since 1988. NL Pennant-winning seasons in 2017 and 2018 failed to yield rings, but Los Angeles will hope the third time’s the charm. Playing in the World Series for the third time in four years, it will look to take Game 3 and take another step toward its first title in more than three decades.