First pitch: 8:08 p.m. ET
Venue: Globe Life Field (Texas)
Probable pitchers: Blake Snell (4-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Tony Gonsolin (2-2, 2.31 ERA)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Predictions
The prospects of taking a Tony Gonsolin postseason under may not seem promising at first glance. But we’re going to anyway just looking deeper into his role.
Yes, it hasn’t been a helpful showing for Los Angeles this postseason so far from the rookie right-hander, who’s hung up a poor 9.95 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in his two outings, including one start. However, after just pitching in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series three days ago, he’s only being deployed as an opener — which can come in handy.
First of all, Gonsolin’s undesirable numbers could be tied to nerves, being his first-ever playoff action. For instance, he issued a very uncharacteristic three free passes in each outing when he had walked only seven total during the regular season in nine appearances (eight starts).
Now that he has all this experience in big games under his belt, I would expect Gonsolin’s command to be closer to normal, and that only gives him a better shot at hanging in there for a few innings.
For me, that’s key because the rest of the Dodgers bullpen — and two talented starters — will be at their disposal in Game 2. Remember, the World Series won’t be like all the other playoff series this year, as every game isn’t being played consecutively. That can give bettors an edge with a better feel for bullpen usage.
In this case, it seems like a certainty Dustin May will be involved and piggyback off Gonsolin early. I’ve been impressed with the righty otherwise known as Gingergaard and would be happy to entrust him for a handful of innings.
Although he also pitched in Game 7, May is repeatedly on record of saying he has a resilient arm that can work on minimal rest. And if that fails, we still have another potentially dominant starter to roll out, that being left-hander Julio Urias. Following some mix of Gonsolin, May and Urias, manager Dave Roberts can unload any of his bullets with a day off tomorrow.
That strategy, opposite a constant like Blake Snell, is what has me enticed. The recent former American League Cy Young is the main reason why tonight’s matchup is just a mere half-run lower than the series opener, which featured a clash of two legitimate upper echelon starters.
While Snell lasted just four innings and took the loss in Game 6 of the ALCS last Friday, he did only allow a pair of runs, his third time yielding that amount or fewer in four starts this postseason.
Los Angeles also represents a more favorable draw for the fifth-year southpaw compared to his prior two opponents (Houston Astros and New York Yankees). As I’ve highlighted before, the Dodgers are considerably less dangerous opposite left-handed pitching, with a team batting average in that department that is noticeably slimmer than against righties.
That’s actually been a tendency of LA for years now. Snell couldn’t be hungrier entering the first World Series start of his career and as a result, and in this affair, I think he can make the most of it. All of this points to less activity at the dish tonight.
Bet: UNDER 8 (+100)
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*
Regular season: “19-42-4,” -28.91 units
Postseason: 11-6, +2.75 units
Last Result: Rays-Dodgers Under 7.5 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win one unit (postseason 0.5 unit except first one)