From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
Major League Baseball has done quite a remarkable job, salvaging a regular season in a global pandemic and now producing an exciting, drama-filled World Series between the Dodgers and Rays at a neutral site that would have been blasphemy seasons ago.
Heading into tonight’s Game 6, the boys from Los Angeles are on the edge to clinch the championship, which would be their first in 32 seasons. They will have two chances to win one game.
Thirty of the previous 46 teams to win Game 5 for a 3-2 series lead have captured the title, but only six of the past 14 have been recently successful. The Astros wasted a 3-2 edge last year, losing to the Nationals in seven games.
If the Dodgers go with a bullpen game tonight and the Rays’ Blake Snell repeats his Game 2 performance, that could set up a dramatic Game 7 Wednesday.
The sport sacrificed tradition for convenience, like doing grocery shopping at a 7-Eleven for quickness despite a hit to the pocketbook.
Despite the gimmicks and distractions, the top regular-season teams in each league are playing for the championship for only the fourth time since the postseason was expanded to eight teams and the ALDS and NLDS were introduced in 1995.
The other times were the Atlanta Braves defeating the Cleveland Indians in 1995, the New York Yankees beating the Braves in 1999, and the Boston Red Sox defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.
Though the Braves came close to knocking off the Dodgers in this year’s NLCS, blowing a 3-1 series edge, the chalk came out on top, with No. 1A meeting 1B.
Though five games, the Dodgers and Rays have traded blows, capped with a bevy of home runs, timely hitting, numerous bullpen managing by the respective skippers and some unfortunate misplays in the field and on the base paths.
The long ball has been a top-heavy ingredient in the 2020 postseason. Home runs have driven in 237 runs of 462 runs through Game 5 or 51.3%, which is up from 46.6% in 2019 and it’s the highest rate since playoffs expanded in 1969.
Tampa Bay, which recorded a World Series first Saturday with homers in four consecutive innings, has belted 33 homers, for 52 of its 78 runs overall (66.7%). The Dodgers, meanwhile, have scored 42 of 98 runs (42.9%) on homers.
n From Dwight Perry’s recent column in The Seattle Times: Comedy writer Brad Dickson, after it took 3 hours, 40 minutes to play Game 2 of the World Series — “Hard to believe young people raised on video games aren’t flocking to the sport.”
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at email@example.com