2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger sent a 2-2 pitch into the Texas night on Sunday, breaking a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 7th with the Atlanta Braves. That would hold as the winning run in the seventh game between the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers trailed 3-1 before reeling off three consecutive wins: the 11th team in history to do so. It gave the Dodgers their third World Series berth in four years.
The Rays, on the other hand, survived nearly blowing a 3-0 lead to the Houston Astros. Only the 2004 Boston Red Sox have ever come back from a 3-0 hole. The Rays leaned on former Astros starter Charlie Morton in Game 7. Morton recorded his fourth win in a winner-take-all game: the most all-time.
For the Rays, this marks the second time in franchise history they’ve had a World Series berth. They will look to grab their first trophy, while the Dodgers are looking for their seventh and first since 1988.
This series will be a stark contrast in team-building philosophies. The Dodgers have a team payroll of nearly $108 million, second in the league. The Rays have just over $28 million. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and star outfielder Mookie Betts combine to make nearly that much. The Rays build from within and utilize the free agent scrap heap, so to speak. The Dodgers tend to spend big in order to achieve their goals. The payrolls may be vastly different, but these are certainly the best two teams baseball had to offer this year. It’s going to be quite the series.