Congratulations all around. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, 6-4, not to mention the previously scheduled off-day, the 2020 World Series will resume play on Friday, when the Tampa Bay Rays take the field as the home team.

Brandon Lowe was a big part of the Rays win in the second game of the set, hitting two home runs while driving in three runs. Lowe became the first player in World Series history with two opposite-field homers in a single game, and the fifth player to do it in a postseason contest. He is quietly and incrementally snapping out of his malaise, as the Rays versatile IN/OF is now 5-for-his-last-21 (.238 BA), with three home runs, five runs scored, and four RBI across his last five games. And while that .238 BA might not be eye-popping, consider that he entered play yesterday with a .107 postseason batting average and that three of his last five hits are of the XBH variety.

The Rays also scored four two-out runs on Wednesday, after having scored none on Tuesday.Note: I will update this piece as any pre-game notes are made available.

Tampa Bay likely will have all its key arms available out of the bullpen. Of note though, if the Rays fall behind, Kevin Cash could be more conservative with using which reliever and when, especially since Saturday is projected to be an opener(s) and bulk guy kind of game. If they are in the game though, expect Cash to lean heavily on Nick Anderson, Pete Fairbanks, and Diego Castillo,

The New What Next

Charlie Morton (3-0, 0.57 ERA) will get the start on Friday, pitching opposite of Walker Buehler (1-0, 1.89 ERA).

Charlie Morton pushed in his best outing of the season, allowing just two hits across 5-2/3 efficient innings, while striking out six and walking one on 66 pitches (48 strikes, 73% strike rate, 15% SwStr%). Over the first five frames, Morton allowed just one base hit — to Michael Brantley — while striking out five on 49 pitches. Yet, Houston made things interesting in the sixth with the Rays ahead by three. Martín Maldonado walked on four pitches with one out. George Springer followed by grounding into a 5-4 fielder’s choice for the second out. After Jose Altuve worked the count full, and with Springer was on the move, Altuve beat out a chopper to third to put runners on the corners with two outs. Given that Morton’s OPS increased to 1.006 the third time through the order, Rays skipper Kevin Cash called upon Nick Anderson in the high leverage situation. Anderson got Brantley to ground out to second on the second pitch of the at-bat, ending the threat.

Walker Buehler struck out six batters while allowing seven hits and zero walks across six scoreless frames in his last start against Atlanta. Buehler was staked to a three-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, which proved to be all the Dodgers would need in their 3-1 win. The right-hander loaded the bases on three consecutive singles to open the top of the second, but he escaped the jam with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout. He was rarely in much trouble the rest of the way. Buehler opened the regular season with a 5.21 ERA in his first four starts but cruised to a 1.53 ERA in his final four appearances and has a 1.89 ERA in four playoff starts. Buehler relies primarily on a whiffy 97 mph four-seam fastball with some added backspin, while also mixing in a firm 82 mph curveball with exceptional bite and slight glove-side movement, a whiffy 93 mph cutter, an 87 mph Slider that sweeps across the zone and boasts two-plane movement, and a 97 mph sinker with little sinking action. Key Matchup: Manuel Margot (1-4, HR)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

Rays 10/23/20 Starting Lineup

  1. Meadows DH
  2. Lowe 2B
  3. Arozarena LF
  4. Choi 1B
  5. Margot RF
  6. Wendle 3B
  7. Adames SS
  8. Kiermaier CF
  9. Zunino C


— The Dodgers have been particularly careful with Randy Arozarena: He has walked three times. With the Rays finally starting to pick up the offense a bit, Arozarena may finally see some pitches to hit.

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