Previewing the World Series: LA Dodgers v. Tampa Bay Rays

The Dodgers are going to the World Series — their third trip in four years. Sunday night’s game seven against the Atlanta Braves was dramatic, with tide-changing home runs, three perfect innings from Julio Urias, and Cody Bellinger dislocating his shoulder. 

“This is such an interesting time for LA sports. … The Lakers just made an historic run through a pandemic bubble to win the NBA title. Now the Dodgers are back in the World Series,” says Jason Sklar, co-host of the podcast “View from the Cheap Seats.”

He continues, “When you think about the Dodgers teams in the past few years, they were playing from so far ahead that they didn't really get tested at the end of the season. Then they kind of made it to the playoffs. Anything short of a World Series title felt like a disappointment. Well now they were down three to one, their backs against the wall. The season was basically over. And they fought back, and now they're on a roll. And they come into the World Series with momentum and it's exciting.”

The Dodgers will face off against the Tampa Bay Rays. Randy Sklar, the other half of the Sklar brothers, says you can’t count out Tampa Bay. “Tampa Bay has the 28th highest payroll. They do it off with analytics. They evaluate talent really well. They've got a lot of young players.”

Randy Sklar says the key to the Dodgers winning this World Series is Mookie Betts, a right fielder who used to play for the Boston Red Sox. 

“He [Betts] won a World Series in 2018 against the Dodgers. He's been there before. He's an MVP-caliber guy. He made home run-saving catches in the last couple of games, most notably yesterday when they [were] needed. He caught it over the wall. He's an unbelievable defensive player.”

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays have Randy Arozarena, who used to play for the St. Louis Cardinals. “He was like a minor league prospect. And in the postseason, he's hit seven home runs in the last two series. … The Rays are unbelievable in finding that diamond in the rough type guy, and they have a whole team full of them. The Dodgers just have a team full of superstars. So it's a bit of David versus Goliath,” says Randy Sklar. 

Jason Sklar says Mookie Betts can bring his team through difficult moments in a long seven-game series. “But I think personally that the Dodgers will take care of the Rays in five games.”

What about Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw? Jason Sklar says he’s arguably one of the best regular season pitchers, but the St. Louis Cardinals have a history of beating him in the postseason. 

“You have a lot of other guys stepping up. It's not all on Clayton Kershaw’s shoulders. But if he can come in and have one good outing in the World Series, I think that will do wonders for him. Of all the players on the Dodgers, he feels like the guy who deserves a World Series ring more than anyone. He's been there the longest. He's been a Dodger his whole career. … This is someone who deserves his moment in the sun,” says Jason Sklar. 

— Written by Amy Ta, produced by Rosalie Atkinson