When the Los Angeles Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series, it set the stage for an epic World Series clash with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Dodgers and Rays, by record, were the two best teams in baseball this year. They were the only clubs to win at least 40 games during the regular season and posted the highest run differentials in their respective leagues as well.
After six World Series games, it was easy to see why the Dodgers and Rays have advanced as far as they’ve gotten. Their rosters are among the deepest in baseball, littered with talent and excellent pitching across the board.
For as many similarities as they share, retired broadcaster Vin Scully believes the Dodgers held a clear advantage in terms of talent, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
“Watching the Dodgers all year, the Dodgers are a far better team, a far more formidable team. I don’t think the people in Tampa will argue. Sometimes the weak beats the strong, but these fellows don’t impose a formidable threat. I would be totally and completely shocked if they lost.”
Scully, who called Dodgers games for more than six decades, certainly knows a thing or two about talented rosters. He witnessed all six of the organization’s World Series championships, but believes the 2020 team is the most-balanced in franchise history.
That was the consensus entering the 2020 season, largely due to the addition of Mookie Betts. When the Dodgers acquired him in February, it added a third former MVP winner to the roster.
The club also returned a plethora of homegrown talent and All-Stars, cruising to an MLB-best 43-17 record during the regular season. L.A. is now one win away from capturing their first World Series title since 1988.
Friedman: Dodgers facing Rays in World Series a ‘surreal feeling’
Since being named Dodgers president of baseball operations at the end of the 2014 season, Andrew Friedman has guided the organization to six consecutive NL West division titles and three World Series appearances.
Prior to heading west, he ran the Rays from 2006-14. To face his former team in the World Series has brought on a mix of emotions.
“I’ve been trying to process it,” Friedman said of the Dodgers and Rays meeting in the Fall Classic. “Obviously, watched the end of their game Saturday and saw they were advancing on. At that point it was just pure happiness for them. We still had a lot of work to do, so all of my energy and attention was on Game 7.
“It kind of hit me [Tuesday] waking up and processing all the text messages and questions about it, it’s definitely surreal. Some of my best friends in life are there. We joked when I left the team that we were going to meet up in the World Series one day. For it to actually happen is surreal.”
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