Put bluntly, the Rays will need a little more cage work should they face Walker Buehler again. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After dropping game three of the 2020 World Series on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to even the series, once again, tonight. The Dodgers were the highest-scoring team in baseball during the regular season, and they have plated 18 runs, and hit seven homers, in the first three games of the series.

The Rays were depending heavily on Charlie Morton — winner of all five of his previous playoff starts with Tampa Bay — who entered Friday’s contest with a 7-2 postseason record and a 2.88 postseason ERA. However, a quality start was not in the cards for the right-hander, as Morton hurled a 4.1 IP/5 ER/7 Hit/1 BB outing on 91 pitches (58 strikes, 64% strike rate, 24% SwStr%). Four of the five runs Morton surrendered were of the two-out variety. He surrendered a first-inning homer to Justin Turner, a two-RBI single in the third on a full-count pitch, and two runs in the fifth on a safety squeeze bunt and an RBI base hit. Morton departed after a one-out walk in the fifth, thanks to an uncharacteristically shaky outing at a rather inopportune time.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s hitters had a difficult time figuring out Walker Buehler, who allowed just three hits across six innings, while striking out 10 and walking two. The only run the right-hander allowed came during the fifth inning when he gave up a one-out double to Manuel Margot, and a two-out RBI double to Willy Adames. Otherwise, Buehler and the Dodgers’ ‘pen held the big-boppers in the Rays lineup — Randy Arozarena, Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi, Joey Wendle, and Mike Zunino — to 2-17 with 11 punchouts. Buehler has now given just five runs in 25 postseason frames.

To his credit, Arozarena did homer off Kenley Jansen with two outs in the ninth inning — his first homer of the World Series. Arozarena now has eight homers in the postseason, setting a new franchise record, while tying the MLB record for one postseason. RAAAAAAAANDY now has 23 postseason hits — the most for an MLB rookie — allowing him to pass Derek Jeter … but RE2PECT, or whatever. Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), Arozrena’s 52 total bases are the most in any playoff run.

To their credit, the Rays bullpen was pretty darn good across the 4-2/3 innings after Morton’s departure, allowing just one run on a homer off right-hander John Curtiss. Tampa Bay’s pitching staff has fanned at least 10 batters in each game of the series, yet the starters have allowed 13 runs on 12 hits and 11 walks over 13-1/3 innings. In contrast, the bullpen has surrendered four runs in 12-2/3 innings.

The New What Next

Ryan Yarbrough (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will get the start Saturday, pitching opposite of Julio Urias (4-0, 0.56 ERA).

Ryan Yarbrough allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out five over five innings on Tuesday in game three of the ALCS against the Astros. The left-hander picked up the start in a critical game in the series and followed through with a solid outing. He allowed a solo shot in the first inning, although he was effective the rest of the way before he surrendered a leadoff home run in the sixth inning which resulted in his removal. Yarbrough has never faced the Dodgers. Yarbrough has made two other postseason appearances, surrendering two runs in five innings in each outing against New York and Houston. The Dodgers were better against right-hander (.837 OPS) than left-handers (.778 OPS) during the regular season.

Julio Urias finished game seven of the NLCS, and has been fantastic during the playoffs. He has yet to throw more than five innings in an outing, although Urias has allowed just one earned run total in 16 total innings of work. The left-hander has given up just seven hits and three walks while striking out 16. Right-handed hitters were significantly better against Urias than left-handed hitters (.647 OPS vs .491 OPS) in 2020. He relies primarily on a whiffy 94 mph four-seam fastball with little arm-side movement, while also mixing in an 84 mph slider that sweeps across the zone and has some two-plane movement, an 80 mph hard curveball that has sweeping glove-side movement, and a firm 86 mph changeup.

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

Rays 10/24/20 Starting Lineup

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  1. Diaz 1B
  2. Arozarena DH
  3. Brosseau 3B
  4. Margot LF
  5. Lowe 2B
  6. Adames SS
  7. Renfroe RF
  8. Zunino C
  9. Kiermaier CF

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