By: MLB Staff
The Rays were able to tie this series up at one game a piece after their 6-3 win on Tuesday night. The series resumes tonight as it’s now a best of five and the Rays have “home field advantage.” We’re going to break down this matchup between Walker Buehler and Charlie Morton and identify the stats and trends to get your betting weekend started with a few winners!
Money Line: LAD -148, TB +137
Run Line: LAD -1.5 (+108), TB +1.5 (-128)
Total: 7.5 (O -116, U -104)
First Pitch: 7:08 CST, Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX
Current Series Price: LAD -190, TB +165
Trent’s Analysis & Best Bet
Walker Buehler has made four starts in the 2020 postseason and boasts a 1.89 ERA to go along with 29 strikeouts. This is his second ever World Series start. His first World Series start is actually my favorite baseball game of all time. It was game three of the 2018 championship against the Red Sox and that game went on for 18 innings ending in a 3-2 Dodger win. It’s the only game that I’ve ever seen three different pitchers throw gems with Buehler going 7.0 IP of scoreless ball, Rick Porcello going 4.2 IP with one earned run (not exactly a gem, but solid), and Nathan Eovaldi throwing 6.0 innings in relief allowing just one earned run. It was a fantastic game that featured strategy throughout its entirety mixed with a couple of homeruns too – it had everything you could ever want in a baseball game.
Anyways, as for tonight the Rays will counter with Charlie Morton and he’s having quite the postseason himself. Morton has thrown 15.2 IP and allowed just one earned run which came against the Yankees back on October 7th. That equates to a 0.57 ERA and he’s limited opponents to a 0.96 WHIP while punching out 17 hitters.
Charlie Morton has been throwing exceptionally this postseason and he’s looking to build off of 10.2 scoreless innings over his last two outings. I’m going to take the under on the team total for Los Angeles which is 4.5 (-135) for a unit. He’s on full rest and coming off an outing against the Astros in which he threw 5.2 innings on only 66 pitches. He’s well rested and the strongest bullpen in the game is ready to rumble after having yesterday off. Look for Morton to go at least five innings tonight (I think more) and Kevin Cash will turn it over to his stable of bullpen arms. The Dodgers live off the longball and they’re running into Morton, who has yet to give up a big fly in the postseason. Los Angeles has limited ability to manufacture runs via small ball and with Morton only giving up two free passes over his last 10.2 IP, I don’t think we’re going to see too many walks tonight as well. Bottom line, you have to ride the hot hand which is Charlie Morton. He has tons of playoff experience and he’s been dealing in the 2020 playoffs. Let’s get it tonight, good luck!
-Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
Jack’s Analysis & Best Bet
Brandon Lowe single-handedly changed perhaps the momentum of the World Series. After a convincing 8-3 win on Tuesday night, the Rays came into Game 2 with their backs against the wall. How would they respond? Well, looking back at Game 1, the Rays were able to generate two runs late in the contest. I know momentum is not really a thing per se, but I feel as though it had a carry-over-effect into Game 2. The Rays were able to strike early, scoring five runs in the first five innings of the ballgame. It was pivotal for Tampa Bay to even the series, because trouble lurks for the Rays on Friday night: Walker Buehler. Buehler has been lights out for Los Angeles this postseason, with his 1.89 ERA being a clear indication of his success in October. The one shortcoming for Buehler is his inability to go late in games. His start in Game 6 last Saturday against Atlanta was the first time he pitched beyond the fifth inning this postseason. He collects a high amount of strikeouts when he pitches, along with a good amount of walks, so that leads to high pitch counts early in games. Buehler will be coming off a shutout in his last start against Atlanta. In his two previous starts this season pitching after a shutout performance, Buehler has a 5.39 ERA. I am not saying by any means that the Rays will carve up Buehler tonight, but I do think it is unlikely that we will see him pitch 5-6 innings of no run baseball.
Charlie Morton will oppose Buehler tonight, and he has had just a bit of success pitching this postseason. In 15.2 innings pitched, he has allowed one run. His ERA is standing at a videogame like 0.57 in October. Two starts against Houston and one against the Yankees, 0.57 ERA. Woah. Charlie Morton is a good pitcher, do not get me wrong, but it will be impossible for the 36-year-old right-hander to keep up with these type of pitching pedigree. I mean after all, this is the same Charlie Morton that had a 4.74 ERA during the regular season this year. If the Rays can get 4-5 solid innings from Morton tonight and turn things over to their bullpen, they should be in good shape to win the ballgame. If Morton falls behind early, look out Tampa.
It is ironic that all the hype in the World Series was about how they were going to be low-scoring type of games…we have seen none of that so far! The Rays and Dodgers have combined for 31 hits and 21 runs thus far! We know that Tampa Bay generates virtually all their runs via the homerun ball, and the Dodgers have been following suit as well by cranking out five homeruns already in the series. Vegas set the run total low, given how well both starters have pitched so far this postseason. I for one though do not believe we will be in for anything different than we have already seen in this World Series. I am going to play the O7.5 runs (-116) as my best bet in Game 3.
-Jack O’Keefe (@jpokeefe1s)
Austin’s Analysis & Best Bet
After splitting the first two games, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are sending out their best pitchers to take a pivotal game three. Walker Buehler has been fantastic in this postseason posting a 1.89 ERA with 29 strikeouts. As mentioned before, Buehler has experience pitching in the World Series throwing seven scoreless against the Red Sox in 2018. I’m excited to see how this matchup of the Tampa lineup vs Buehler plays out because not a single Rays player has faced him. Charlie Morton has been one of the best postseason pitchers in the past few years and has been fantastic so far in this one. He is scheduled to make his third World Series appearance tonight. Morton made his two previous World Series appearances in the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers when he was with the Astros. In that series, he threw 10.1 IP and allowed only two earned runs while also getting the final out in game seven. Many of the Los Angeles hitters haven’t faced Morton, but the ones who have seen him have struggled. As a fan of a good pitchers duel I’m going to be glued to the tv for this one.
As I mentioned before, both lineups haven’t really seen the starters and after the day off both teams will use their top bullpen arms. In game one Los Angeles scored eight runs as the offense was led by Mookie Betts and Max Muncy. Betts has been good against righties this season batting .323 against right handed pitching this season and will be a key factor for the offense facing Morton. Tampa Bay has been led by Randy Arozarena this postseason with Brandon Lowe coming up clutch in game two. Arozarena statistically is much worse against righties like Buehler batting .227 against right handed pitching.
My best bet is very aggressive, but I think Walker Buehler will throw a gem in this game and strikeout more than 7.5 (+113). He is a high strikeout rate pitcher with a 10.3 K/9 ratio and the Rays strikeout alot. In the regular season they led the majors with 608 punchouts and have kept this trend up in the postseason. He has two starts this postseason of throwing eight strikeouts and if he is on, Dave Roberts won’t pull him unless his pitch count gets too high. This seems risky, but with the matchup and a solid value at (+113) I’m willing to take this.
-Austin Moehn (@austin_moehn22)