The Rays’ backs are against the wall.
After another wild Game 5 in which the Dodgers took a 3-2 series lead by way of a 4-2 victory, tonight’s Game 6 could be the clincher for a Dodgers team that is once again one win away from the World Series for the second time in four years.
That said, this Rays team is most certainly not going to go quietly as resilience and fight despite long-shot odds have been the theme for the low-budget Rays in this year’s Fall Classic.
Add it up and we should be in for another dandy tonight as it’s the Rays vs. Dodgers in Game 6 of the World Series from Globe Life Field in Arlington!
Rays vs. Dodgers Game 6 Betting Odds
- Rays (+117)
- Dodgers (-127)
- Rays +1.5 (-171)
- Dodgers -1.5 (+151)
- Over 8 (-115)
- Under 8 (-105)
Rays vs. Dodgers World Series Game 6 Breakdown
The Rays have the right guy on the mound to try and force a Game 7 tonight as Blake Snell gets the ball for manager Kevin Cash.
It was laborious, but Snell got through 4.2 innings while allowing just two earned runs to this Dodgers team in Game 2 of the Fall Classic. Snell did walk four in that outing but his nine strikeouts helped wipe out those base runners. He actually allowed just two hits in that one as well while both runs came via a two-run homer from Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor.
After working to a 3.24 ERA in the regular season, Snell owns a 3.33 mark in these playoffs. However, the 5.18 BB/9 clip he’s yielded has his FIP sitting at 5.29 and his xFIP at 4.36, although his 4.30 SIERA is still a solid mark.
All that said, walks are a good way to get burned by this Dodgers offense. He avoided such trouble in Game 2, but it’s hard to imagine his 92% strand rate lasting much longer despite his ability to escape base runners in the past, thanks in large part to his strikeout stuff. Snell owns a 10.36 K/9 in these playoffs after an 11.34 mark in the regular season.
Snell isn’t likely to get deep into this one as he’s gone 5.2 innings or less in his five postseason starts and 4.2 or less in each of his last two, so expect to see more of that Tampa Bay bullpen in this one tonight.
The Dodgers will send right-hander Tony Gonsolin to the bump for this one tonight looking for a better effort than he’s been able to give them so far in these playoffs.
In two starts and three appearances spanning 7.2 innings in these playoffs, Gonsolin has posted a 9.39 ERA/8.67 FIP while allowing walks at a horrendous 8.22 BB/9 clip and home runs at a 3.52 HR/9 rate with three homers allowed in that time.
Gonsolin’s last start came opposite Snell in Game 2 and he lasted just four outs while allowing an earned run on a Brandon Lowe homer while allowing a walk as well as part of his 29 pitches. I would expect a similarly short leash for Gonsolin in this one tonight.
He’s allowed a home run in each of this three appearance to this point while the command issues are at least surprising considering his stout 1.35 BB/9 across 46.2 regular-season innings in which he worked to a 2.31 ERA/2.29 FIP. HIs lack of ground-ball-incuding stuff has bitten him in these playoffs after he allowed a tiny 0.39 HR/9 rate in the regular season despite a tiny 34.2% ground-ball rate.
Barring a huge turnaround in performance and results, it’s difficult seeing Gonsolin going more than a few innings before Dave Roberts rolls out that deep bullpen in this one.
For the second time in this series, the Rays were unable to capitalize off a lefty in Clayton Kershaw after they handled left-handers far better than they did righties throughout the shortened regular season.
They ranked six with a .343 wOBA and fourth with a .217 ISO on the season against left-handed pitching, but slipped to a share of 15th with a .319 wOBA against righties and 14th with a .176 ISO against them as well.
That said, the Rays have been able to get to some right-handed Dodgers relievers in this series. They’ve homered a coupe of times off righty Pedro Baez and memorably walked off against Kenley Jansen in Game 4.
They were also able to get to Dustin May in Game 2 of this series, so the Rays’ bats have certainly stepped up versus righties in this series while they were also able to get to left-hander Julio Urias in Game 4 as well.
Of course, the x-factor in this Rays offense has been the continued brilliance of Randy Arozarena at the plate while Manuel Margot as been a pest both at the plate and on the basepaths. The Rays will need more consistency from Brandon Lowe while Austin Meadows will need to get going out of the leadoff spot for the Rays to pull off the come-from-behind win in this series with a likely date with right-hander Walker Buehler in a potential Game 7 tomorrow night.
The Dodgers and the Rays were opposites in the regular season in terms of their success against a pitcher’s handedness.
They were a top-10 offense against both, but the numbers were significantly superior versus right-handed pitcher as they ranked second with a .355 wOBA and first with a .240 ISO off righties.
Against lefties, they slipped to eighth with a .335 wOBA and sixth with a .192 ISO. Of course, they’re still excellent numbers, but still well under their work against righties.
They were certainly unable to come up with any clutch hits in Game 2 against the lefty Snell despite drawing four walks. Taylor’s homer did the lone damage while the Dodgers managed just one other hit in 4.2 innings against the southpaw.
His splits aren’t too egregious when it comes to lefties/righties, but we can expect the Dodgers to stack right-handed bats in this one with the lone lefties expected to be Corey Seager, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger. That means the lefty-mashing AJ Pollock over the righty-mashing Joc Pederson while Kike Hernandez and Austin Barnes should get into the starting lineup tonight – both of whom swing from the right side.
Still, current Dodgers hitters have combined to hit just .205 with a .694 OPS in their careers against Snell, including the postseason.
Like is almost always the case in the playoffs and especially the World Series, bullpens will be a major factor in the outcome of this one.
For both sides, all bullpen arms will be available for this after Monday’s off day, so both Cash and Roberts will have plenty of arms to follow what will be short leashes for Snell and Gonsolin, respectively.
Both bullpens were also among the very best in the league this season, the Rays’ third-ranked 3.37 bullpen ERA combined with throwing the third-most innings in baseball had them tied atop the league with the Minnesota Twins with a 3.6 fWAR from their bullpen in 2020.
They also ranked second with a 2.90 BB/9 and 0.87 HR/9 in the regular season next to…
Indeed, the Dodgers were the only bullpen that posted a BB/9 and HR/9 superior to the Rays as their 2.57 BB/9 and 0.82 HR/9 were the best in baseball.
It’s a bullpen that hasn’t been without its struggles at time in this World Series, but are coming off a clean Game 5 in which they backed Clayton Kershaw with 3.1 innings of scoreless ball. Game 4, however, was a different story as right-handers Blake Treinen and Pedro Baez both surrendered a pair of earned runs before Kenley Jansen allowed another two runs – one earned – on that final walk-off hit by Brett Philipps that will go down in World Series lore after the events that followed that base hit up the middle.
That said, the Rays have been held to three runs or fewer in three of the five World Series games thanks in part to the work from this deep Dodgers bullpen. Whether or not Jansen remains Roberts’ closer for this one tonight remains to be seen, but I’m willing to bet that we see a steady dose of this Dodgers bullpen with a short leash on Gonsolin once again.
Rays vs. Dodgers World Series Game 6 Pick
I originally had this series going six games in favor of the Dodgers, but I am going to sway from that educated guess and have this one go seven games with the help of Snell and the Rays’ bullpen tonight.
Gonsolin isn’t the 2.31 ERA pitcher he was in the regular season, nor is he the 9.39 ERA pitcher from these playoffs. That said, the Rays have three left-handed bats in their top five, complimented by the white-hot Randy Arozarena and difference-making Manuel Margot. It’s going to be difficult on Gonsolin right out of the gate and his lack of postseason experience has been on full display in these playoffs through three appearances.
The Dodgers have still been able to get to lefties despite sporting superior numbers versus righties, but they were largely unable to get to Snell in Game 2 and he’s the right guy for this start in a do-or-die scenario this evening.
To be honest, there shouldn’t be a ton of confidence in the likes of Treinen and Baez at the moment and Jansen has certainly been a wild card himself. Right now, I’m taking the back end of that Rays bullpen over the back end of the Dodgers’ group.
Add it up and I’ll take the Rays to pull off the upset – for tonight, at least – and send this one to a Game 7 on the moneyline.