Tampa Bay Rays are struggling to fire after giving up the lead
In the series so far, the team who has scored first has gone on to win the game. The Dodgers feed off momentum and will be difficult to hold should they get on the board early in game four.
If Tampa Bay do fall behind, they need to reply quickly. In games one and three of the ALCS, they fell behind to the Houston Astros and still won. A comeback is certainly not beyond the Rays, but belief is a significant factor.
Kevin Cash needs to play a big part in keeping his men focussed. The Rays are incredibly good at keeping to their game plan and must do so to ignore the Dodgers’ imposing play. Once they are ahead, the Dodgers look to bully and pressurize. For example, Mookie Betts’ propensity to steal bases creates noise to distract. The Rays cannot allow that to continue.
Must win game 4
It is a big call, but I feel that the Rays must-win game four to stay in the hunt. It is always possible to come back from 3-1 down, as the Dodgers did in the NLCS, but it is unlikely against this Dodgers team.
Having had two quiet games, Tampa Bay cannot afford to allow another off night. As discussed previously, the Dodgers love to lead from the front and dominate. That is easy with the likes of Betts, Seagar, and Bellinger looking to exploit weakness.
The Tampa Bay Rays must replicate their game two strategy by getting the Dodgers to resort to their bullpen as early as possible. If they keep doing the simple things well, then good things can happen. The World Series will not be lost in game four, but its destination could be a lot clearer.