After holding on for nerve-wracking Game 7 wins, the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the World Series.
Based on records alone, this was the expected matchup. The franchises stood atop the American and National Leagues, respectively. However, it's only the fourth time in the last 25 years that the AL and NL's best records will meet in the Fall Classic.
Fresh off a 3-1 series comeback against the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers enter the World Series as the presumptive favorite. Tampa, though, is hoping to swipe that status with a Game 1 win.
The best-of-seven matchup will be played exclusively at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
2020 World Series Game 1 Info
When: Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 8:09 p.m. ET
Live stream: Fox Sports Go
Game 1 Preview
Los Angeles is wasting no time putting Clayton Kershaw in the spotlight.
Since he started last Thursday against the Braves, five days is normal rest anyway. But there's no denying the potential storylines it creates for the 32-year-old, who is theoretically in line for two starts and a relief appearance in Game 7, if necessary.
Can he finally escape the struggles on the sport's biggest stage? In four career World Series starts, Kershaw has surrendered 16 runs in 22.2 innings for an unsightly 6.35 ERA.
Not great for a future Hall of Famer.
But as the Dodgers work to snap a 32-year championship drought, Kershaw can quiet the critics of his past failures. He'll attempt to navigate a tough lineup highlighted by Randy Arozarena, who's clubbed seven homers in the playoffs.
Arozarena leads Tampa in most categories this postseason, though Manuel Margot has a team-best 11 runs batted in.
While the storyline of Kershaw's performance is the most popular, perhaps the more meaningful one is the opposite matchup. Although the Rays are calling on Tyler Glasnow for Game 1, they'll lean heavily on a deep bullpen as well.
Six players—Nick Anderson, Peter Fairbanks, Diego Castillo, John Curtiss, Ryan Thompson and Aaron Loup—each have five-plus appearances in relief this postseason.
And opposite this L.A. lineup, timely outs are critical.
Atlanta learned the hard way that every two-out baserunner allowed is basically a rally-starter for the Dodgers. Those two-out runs carried Los Angeles—which, as a whole, is incredibly patient and forces long counts—to a 3-1 series comeback.
In particular, Corey Seager enters the World Series on an absolute tear. So far this postseason, the shortstop has smacked six homers and four doubles while driving in 15 runs.
If this power-filled lineup is producing, there's practically no stopping the Dodgers. But Glasnow and the Rays are built to make this a long series, too.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.