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World Series Game 1 open thread

When the playoffs started, there were all kinds of fun former Oriole World Series possibilities. We ended up with none of them.

League Championship - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven
Clayton Kershaw is pretty good. And he’s pitching tonight.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Once it became clear that MLB’s 2020 season would be shortened, if it was played at all, the hypothetical question started up almost immediately: Would this year’s World Series winner, assuming one was crowned, have won a “real” title? Three months later, either the Dodgers or the Rays are about to find out how real a 2020 championship is.

I think that it is going to be plenty real. If the Orioles had somehow found their way into this series, I would never deny that it all counted. As it ended up, the Dodgers and Rays are the two teams who had the best regular season records in their respective leagues, so there’s even more to support the idea that this World Series is between the two teams who played the best in 2020’s shortened regular season.

Game 1 is scheduled to get going at 8:11 Eastern time on Fox tonight. Each team is four wins away from getting the trophy. For the Dodgers, a win would be their first since 1988, and put a nice exclamation point on their recent run of success. For the Rays, this would be their first ever World Series title. All I can say is that I hope the team that plays the best is the one that wins.

It is sure going to be an interesting contrast. The Dodgers made the big splash of the offseason by trading for Mookie Betts and then signing him to a massive contract extension. He has lived up to the star billing so far, including in this postseason. The Dodgers would surely not be in this World Series without him. They have some other star power as well. The Rays assortment of players is less well known. Perhaps the next week and a half will be where they build their legends.

The series is being played in Texas. The Dodgers, who were 43-17 in the regular season, will be the home team in games 1 and 2, and if necessary, 6 and 7. They will probably have more fans in the limited allowed crowd just because there are more Dodgers fans than Rays fans.

Game 1 lineups:

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. Yandy Diaz - 1B
  2. Brandon Lowe - 2B
  3. Randy Arozarena - DH
  4. Hunter Renfroe - RF
  5. Manuel Margot - LF
  6. Joey Wendle - 3B
  7. Willy Adames - SS
  8. Kevin Kiermaier - CF
  9. Mike Zunino - C

Arozarena has seven home runs so far this postseason and just finished OPSing 1.152 over the seven game ALCS after OPSing 1.371 in the five game ALDS and 1.556 in the two game wild card series. The dude is on fire.

The Rays starting pitcher is Tyler Glasnow.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Mookie Betts - RF
  2. Corey Seager - SS
  3. Justin Turner - 3B
  4. Max Muncy - 1B
  5. Will Smith - DH
  6. Cody Bellinger - CF
  7. Chris Taylor - 2B
  8. Joc Pederson - LF
  9. Austin Barnes - C

LA turns to Clayton Kershaw to get the ball for the first game of this series. Fair or not, the narrative that he does poorly in the postseason follows him around. He has a career 2.43 ERA in the regular season and 4.31 in the postseason. It’s a big difference, though obviously, being Orioles fans, a 4.31 ERA from a starting pitcher sounds pretty good, actually. It’s just maybe not enough to do the thing in the World Series.