On one side, the Dodgers are looking more invincible than ever, flexing their enormous financial muscles. On the other side, The expansion sister Tampa Bay Rays are proving that a small market team can win regularly, so long as they make smart decisions and stay the course, rather than sometimes pretending to be a big spender.
Cody Bellinger started the fireworks for the Dodgers, launching a towering two-run shot in the fourth inning. Mookie Betts added his significant skills to bolster the offense. Oh, and Clayton Kershaw didn’t choke. It was a long night for Tampa Bay.
There is no denying that, during the playoffs, Clayton Kershaw has not been the dominant Hall of Fame lefty he has been during the regular season. What is often overlooked is that the lefty has just as many gems in the postseason as he does chokes.
Some anti-Dodger fans were cautiously optimistic about Tampa Bay’s chances with Kershaw pitching game one of the World Series. Alas, Kershaw remembered to bring his slider with him, even if it did show up an inning late. Eight strikeouts in six innings propelled Kershaw to 201 postseason strikeouts in his career, only four behind Justin Verlander.
Shifting both helped and hurt the Atlanta Braves against the Dodgers in the NLCS. Shifting against right-handed hitters is a much riskier proposition than shifting against lefties. Will either the shift-happy Dodgers or Rays pay a price for their approach?
Rob Manfred gave his typical pre-World Series interview. In this one, he continues to raise a question among fans, why does he hat baseball so much? Manfred continues to support the runner on second rule for extra innings and expanded playoffs. The DH being permanent way not happen until after the CBA, as it needs to be negotiated. For that matter, so does retaining the playoff format.
Steve Cohen’s former associations with S.A.C. Capital Investors could potentially prevent him from taking ownership of the MEts if de Blasio decides he does not like the former hedge fund manager.