The Los Angles Dodgers are 27 outs away from their first World Series title since 1988.
The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in Game 5 on Sunday night to take a 3-2 series lead. As a result, two games at most remain in the 2020 MLB season.
The Rays will get a day off to reset and focus on prolonging the Fall Classic before action resumes Tuesday.
Remaining World Series Schedule
Game 6: Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 8:08 p.m. ET (Fox)
Game 7*: Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 8:09 p.m. ET (Fox)
Tampa Bay has a clear advantage in terms of Game 6 starters. Blake Snell gets the nod for the Rays, while Tony Gonsolin will take the bump for the Dodgers. Snell is a Cy Young winner, while Gonsolin has made 20 career MLB appearances in the regular season. The latter has also surrendered eight earned runs over 7.2 playoff innings.
Starting Walker Buehler on short rest was the alternative for Los Angeles, and manager Dave Roberts revealed it wasn't an option.
The Rays will look to replicate the recipe that led them to a 6-4 victory when Gonsolin last started. Brandon Lowe homered in the first inning, and Tampa Bay's lead swelled to five runs when Lowe homered again in the fifth.
Basing predictions solely off the starting pitching matchup isn't all that sensible because the Dodgers might have a quick hook for Gonsolin under the best of circumstances. They got 5.2 innings from Clayton Kershaw in Game 5, and the day off will allow their relievers to get some valuable rest.
One problem for the Rays is that the talent gap might be catching up to them.
Tampa Bay won the second-most games and got this far. Just because many of the Rays players aren't household names doesn't make them any less effective on the field.
Sooner or later over a playoff series, however, the depth a team has by running the second-highest payroll might become a decisive factor. Los Angeles also has a far bigger margin for error. If Justin Turner goes 0-for-4 from the No. 3 spot, Max Muncy is right behind him to go 2-for-3 with a solo home run.
Were it not for a pair of defensive hiccups at the end of Game 4, the Dodgers might already have the World Series in the bag.
L.A. doesn't need Gonsolin to be brilliant; it just needs him to go a few innings while limiting the damage from Tampa Bay's offense. The offense hasn't scored fewer than four runs in any of the first five games.
Last fall, announcing Roberts' return as manager hinted that there were some questions about his job security. On Tuesday, he and the Dodgers will be celebrating the franchise's seventh championship.