Game 3 of the World Series is slated for Friday night at 8:08pm ET on FOX.
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Los Angeles Dodgers (Walker Buehler) at Tampa Bay Rays (Charlie Morton)
The Tampa Bay Rays successfully tied up the World Series at 1-1 on Tuesday night with a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For the third game in a row, Las Vegas sees the Dodgers as a favorite, this time at -160 against Rays starter Charlie Morton. At the current total of 7.5, the Dodgers have an implied team total of 4.2 versus an implied total of 3.4 for the Rays.
While it’s no surprise to see the Dodgers favored, this game is closer than the line indicates. Morton has been extremely impressive throughout the postseason, pitching to a 1.98 FIP while averaging 9.8 K/9 over 15 1/3 innings. He’s also a perfect 3-0 over that span. He’s yet to throw more than 5 2/3 innings in any of his postseason starts, but he’s come up big for the Rays when they’ve needed him.
His $10,000 price tag on FanDuel is actually $400 less than opposing starter Walker Buehler, and Morton has been the better pitcher so far this postseason.
While Buehler’s 1.89 ERA in the postseason is impressive, the advanced metrics suggest that he’s been a bit lucky. His 3.24 FIP is nearly 1.5 runs higher than his ERA, indicating that some negative regression may be coming his way. He was a frequent victim to the long ball during the regular season, allowing 1.72 HR/9, something he’s been able to control so far during the postseason, allowing just 0.95 HR/9 thus far.
Buehler does have more strikeout upside than Morton, however. He averaged 13.7 K/9 during the regular season and has averaged 11.9 K/9 throughout the postseason. The Rays struck out 26.3% of the time against right-handed pitching in 2020, the third highest mark in all of baseball. He’s the top-rated option in the Bales Model, but he comes with a bit more risk than initially jumps off the page.
For the Rays, Austin Meadows ranks as the highest-rated position player in the Bales Model for Game 3. He’s projected to lead off and has had success against right-handed pitching during the regular season, compiling a .331 wOBA and .216 ISO over 97 plate appearances.
Randy Arozarena has slowed down his torrid pace over the past three games, going just 1-for-9 so far in the World Series. Overall, his postseason numbers are still outstanding. Over 69 plate appearances, he has a .469 wOBA to go along with seven home runs and 14 RBI. He may go slightly overlooked tonight as some fall victim to recency bias, making him an attractive option in tournaments.
Manuel Margot, however, has been hot at the plate throughout the postseason. His .402 wOBA and five home runs make him an appealing option and a relative bargain compared to some of the other big bats on the slate. He is just $8,400 on FanDuel and projected to hit fifth for the Rays.
Mike Zunino is always a strong tournament option with the power that he brings to the table. Priced at only $6,800, Zunino has four home runs this postseason over 46 plate appearances. He’s an all-or-nothing type of play as evidenced by his .182 batting average so far during the postseason, but these are the type of options that win tournaments on Showdown slates.
On the Dodgers’ side, Mookie Betts unsurprisingly ranks highly again tonight. Betts has compiled a .386 wOBA in this year’s postseason, including seven hits and three stolen bases in his last 19 at-bats. He dominated right-handed pitching during the regular season, posting a .438 wOBA, .354 ISO and 181 wRC+ in such matchups. He’s a strong option in all formats, but his $11,000 price tag — higher than both pitchers — is prohibitive if you’re looking to pay up for both starting pitchers.
Justin Turner also ranks highly in the Bales Model on the Dodgers side. Turner’s better split during the regular season was against right-handed pitching, against which he hit to the tune of a .340 batting average and .397 wOBA over 117 plate appearances.
Will Smith is a strong pay-down option at $8,200 if he gets the start behind the plate for Los Angeles. He was outstanding against righties during the regular season, posting a .427 wOBA and .350 ISO against them. He’s projected to hit fifth for the Dodgers if called upon and could provide sneaky pop for his price.
Pictured above: Charlie Morton
Photo credit: Matt Thomas/MLB Photos via Getty Images