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World Series Game 3 open thread

The Rays’ “stable” of relievers held off the Dodgers’ big bats in Game 2. Can starter Charlie Morton do the same tonight against a surging Walker Buehler?

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays, Game 3 (Series tied, 1-1)

8:08 PM, FOX

If you’re just tuning in, so far the 2020 playoffs have been pretty cool. A shortened season, ghost runners in extra innings, and the expanded playoff format had people worried about a bunch of fluky outcomes and one-sided blowouts. But instead, we got seven-game series in the ALCS and the NLCS, and now a World Series with the game’s two best teams facing off in what will hopefully keep being a seesaw affair.

In Game 1, the Dodgers tagged the RaysTyler Glasnow for 6 runs in 4.1 innings. Rarely for this postseason, it was not not a tater-fest: only CF Cody Bellinger went deep. Instead, it looked more like a mental meltdown by the big 27-year-old righty: 6 walks against 3 hits will do that to you, as the Dodgers clearly won the mind game on Tuesday, with Mookie Betts tormenting Glasnow all night.

Blake Snell played the stopper in Game 2, allowing just a two-run homer in 4 2/3 innings, enough for the “Stable” to hold on for a 6-4 win. The Dodgers’ four runs all came on homers, and the Rays’ attack was only marginally more balanced: Brandon Lowe knocked in three runs on a pair of dingers, while Joey Wendle accounted for the remainder with a two-run double and a sac fly. Homers are the name of the game this postseason.

It’ll be a tough ask for the Rays to get the bats going against a surging Walker Buehler, who’s been easily the Dodgers’ best postseason pitcher since 2019, with a 1.69 ERA in 53 1/3 innings, and whose 29 strikeouts are most this postseason. In his last start on October 17, the righty dismantled the NL’s best offense, shutting out the Braves over six innings.

The Rays counter with the veteran Charlie Morton. The righty had a pedestrian 2020 season (4.74 ERA and 43 hits in 38 innings), but he’s been unhittable in the playoffs, with a 3-0 record to go with a 0.57 ERA and 17 K’s. Length will be critical. The Dodgers have their rotation well set up for the next three games (Buehler, Julio Urías, and Clayton Kershaw), but the Rays’ bullpen looked a little tasked in Game 2, and even after a rest day, Kevin Cash can’t go to them too much tonight with a bullpen game likely scheduled for Game 4. Incidentally, the last time Morton pitched in the World Series was also against the Dodgers, when he helped sew up a Championship for the Astros in Game 7.

Rays lineup:

DH Austin Meadows

2B Brandon Lowe

LF Randy Arozarena

1B Ji-Man Choi

RF Manuel Margot

3B Joey Wendle

SS Willy Adames

CF Kevin Kiermaier

C Mike Zunino

RHP Charlie Morton

Dodgers lineup:

RF Mookie Betts

SS Corey Seager

3B Justin Turner

1B Max Muncy

DH Will Smith

CF Cody Bellinger

2B Chris Taylor

LF Joc Pederson

C Austin Barnes

RHP Walker Buehler