By David Blais
Asst. Sports Editor
TAMPA BAY, F.L.,-- With the MLB regular season ending this week, the playoff picture is being set with these final few season games. Teams have played and worked hard this season in the midst of a pandemic bringing along changes (like a shortened 60 game season) and challenges (no fans in the crowd shifting momentum) making it one of the most unusual times in sports history. However, the show must go on and a World Series Champion must be crowned. The team that will win the 2020 World Series will be the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Tampa Bay Rays are going to finish with the second best record in the whole MLB, the best record in the American League, and win the Eastern Division Title with a 38-20 record. Not to mention, they also did better than World Series odds on favorites New York Yankees who are in the same division. The Rays have been a problem for teams all year on the offensive and defensive ends of the field. A main reason is their deeply talented bullpen. MLB.com ranked Tampa Bay at number 4 when ranking the best bullpens heading into the 2020 season. Their pitching staff is led by pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who has gone 5-1 this season, with a 4.08 ERA and 91 strikeouts. Glasnow also has plenty of support with this bullpen, with Ryan Yarbrough and Blake Snell, making it one of the toughest teams to face off against during a series. The Rays have a talented shortstop in Willy Adames playing 52 games this season and only allowing 9 errors. The team is currently ranked 6th amongst all defensive stats within the league only allowing 7.88 hits per game, 2.86 walks per game, and 9.29 strikeouts per game. The only team in the league that has better stats for all three of those categories as a whole is the Cleveland Indians, but by only a small margin. On the offensive side of things, Tampa Bay is currently ranked 9th offensively in the MLB but produces efficient enough numbers to win ball games. The team averages 4.81 runs per game and 7.81 hits per game. The offensive leader of the team is second baseman Brandon Lowe, who leads the team in homeruns with 14 this season, hits with 51, and RBIs with 36. Lowe is clearly the offensive powerhouse the Rays need in order to score, but there are two other players as well to look out for on this team that may cause problems for defenses in this postseason, Willy Adames and Joey Wendle. Both of these men have 47 hits this season and both have more than 20 runs each making the team more than capable of getting on base. Having multiple players who are capable of getting on base during a game is huge for this team since they are not a flashy big hitting team. They win by getting on base, and getting runners in which are slower but proves to be very productive.
The Rays are my odd on favorite to win the World Series for a multitude of reasons. The biggest reason however is their talented bullpen that will cause problems for even the best of offenses in the postseason. Even though they have talented fielders who will be able to make plays, they Rays would not be as successful if it was not for their bullpen. They are not the best team offensively, but they do get the job done to win games. The Rays play very methodically making them a fun team to watch if you enjoy the game of baseball. Tampa Bay is the team you should be paying close attention to during this postseason most likely going all the way and winning it all.