Dodgers: Walker Buehler’s masterclass vs Rays proves Tampa is out-matched

The Dodgers hold a 2-1 lead in the World Series after winning Game 3 on Friday night.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are two wins away from taking home their first World Series since 1988. Teams that have won Game 3 of the Fall Classic to take a 2-1 series lead have went on to win the series nearly 70% of the time. This is far from finished, but the odds are in LA’s favor.

What’s even better? The rotation is set up perfectly to put the Rays in an even bigger hole. Julio Urias will pitch on Saturday and Clayton Kershaw will pitch on Sunday. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch upon what happened tonight.

Walker Buehler mowed down the Rays in this one and the offense chased Charlie Morton out of the game in the fourth inning. The convincing 6-2 win proved what many fans felt heading into the series: the Dodgers really out-match the Rays no matter which way you look at it.

The Rays have zero aces. The Dodgers have two. The Rays have a stagnant offense. The Dodgers have a relentless one. The Rays have good power hitters. The Dodgers have more, and they’re better. The Rays play great defense. So do the Dodgers. Some might say the Rays have the bullpen advantage, but LA’s relievers owned a 2.74 ERA during the regular season compared to Tampa’s 3.37. Even the Rays’ best quality is dwarfed by this Dodgers team.

Across three games so far, the Dodgers have scored 18 runs on 25 hits and 14 walks to the Rays’ 11 runs on 20 hits and nine walks. LA is pouring on the pressure with two outs — they’ve scored nine runs. The Rays have been succeeding in that area too, putting up seven RBI, but they still can’t seem to match the Dodgers in any significant category.

On top of that, this Rays’ rotation was ostensibly built for a postseason run. Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton would handle the heavy lifting, followed by the vaunted bullpen behind them. But the Dodgers managed to KO the latter two arms and eventually got to Snell despite his four brilliant innings to start Game 2. The lefty was knocked out after 4.2 innings. The Rays were far from getting one quality start from those guys. LA already has two from Kershaw and Buehler.

And if Buehler has to pitch Game 7, the Rays are in for it.

Are we underestimating the Rays? Absolutely not. But we can’t ignore what we’re watching. The Dodgers are proving in every manner possible that they’re the more complete team with two effortless wins while the Rays had to sweat out their one.

It feels like Tampa’s only chance is to knock Urias out of the game early tomorrow, but guess what? He’s allowed just one earned run in 16 innings pitched this postseason. Yup, that’s the No. 4 starter.

Good luck, Rays.