The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers have each emerged from a tense and hotly contested LCS, and now the sole focus is on those last two teams standing. It's a compelling matchup of the two best teams in baseball during the regular season -- something that hasn't happened too often in the wild-card era -- and that's layered by the fact that Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman was once GM of the Rays.
Mostly, though, it's about this clash of titans and the names like Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Randy Arozarena, Cody Bellinger, Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow and Walker Buehler that make it just that. So to set the scene for the high-stakes baseball, the CBS Sports stable of baseball writers is here to lay out some predictions for the 2020 World Series. Here, then, goes absolutely nothing.
Dodgers in six: It truly just feels like this is their year. I mean, how can it not after that NLCS comeback? L.A. took home its eighth consecutive postseason berth and it's now moving on to its third World Series berth in four years. You can sense that every player on the team understands the pressure they're under to finally break through for a title. They've seriously stepped it up. Both L.A. and Tampa boast the complete package with stacked lineups and a deep, talented pitching staff. The Rays bullpen could certainly give the Dodgers a challenge, but I expect their lineup to come through. The Dodgers were the best team in baseball during the regular season (MLB's best record at 43-17 and best run differential at +136) and I expect them to cement their title as the best team in baseball in 2020 when they beat the Rays in six games. Soon, it'll be time to party like it's 1988.
Dodgers in six: The Dodgers were the best team in baseball during the regular season, to the extent that their run differential was more than twice as large as the Rays'. That doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot at this stage, but I think they're the deeper club and the club with more top-end talent. Obviously anything can happen in a four-to-seven-game series; if you're picking against the team you believe to be better, you have to have a good reason to do it. I can't come up with one, so let's say this is the Dodgers' year.
Rays in seven: I'll pick the Dodgers to stop losing the World Series when they stop losing the World Series. In all seriousness, the middle of their pitching staff worries me, and the Rays will be able to give them a taste of their own medicine with platoons and pinch-hitters and whatnot. Going to be a fun and close series. I think the Rays prevail.
Dodgers in seven: This is obviously a compelling series between the two best teams in their respective leagues. The difference for me is the Dodgers' superiority on offense, and I think that makes the difference. The Dodgers will win the World Series for the first time since 1988 and Mookie Betts will be World Series MVP.
Dodgers in five: They've had their scare. The Braves' offense is far more scary than the Rays and the pitching staff survived that series. There are days off in there so they won't be quite as up against the wall to piece together pitching and I think the offense will do a decent bit more damage against the Rays than the Astros did. I'm not expecting a blowout in multiple games or anything, but I just don't think the Rays -- again, due to the offense -- will be able to put much of a scare. This is it. As Roberts said when accepting the NL championship trophy, this is finally the Dodgers' year.
Dodgers in seven: The Dodgers were my preseason pick, so why change it up now? At this point in the season, we're splitting hairs when comparing these two clubs. I love Tampa Bay's story. They might be the most fun team in baseball. But, after years of falling short, the Dodgers are your 2020 World Series champions.