Watch Now: Bloomington-Normal Area Baseball Coaches, Players Speak Out on World Series | Baseball

The Los Angeles Dodgers used a Cody Bellinger home run to win Game 7 and rally three games to one and stun the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.

The Tampa Bay Rays got their ship right in time to win Game 7 and thwart Houston’s attempt to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series.

This gives us the teams with the two best regular season records in Major League Baseball during the World Series, which begins Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.

The Pantagraph polled 11 coaches and baseball players to get their thoughts on how this World Series went, and the results point to a hotly contested event.

Seven of our panelists chose the Dodgers, while four chose the Rays.

Steve Clapp, Bloomington High School Coach

Who will win: Dodgers in 7

MVP: Mookie Betts, Walker Buehler, co-MVP

Why: “What a great series on paper, two very good teams. The Dodgers were the best team in baseball with 43 wins. I think their third trip in four years is finally culminating in a championship. Very balanced offensive attack with big arms on the hump.

Chris Hawkins, Normal West Coach

Who will win: Dodgers in 6

Why: “My dad convinced me to be a Dodger fan when I was a kid because he was too, going back to when they were in Brooklyn. I remember he said he cried when he heard they were moving to LA. Former high school teammate (Lexington) Mike Brown played in their organization. Former (West) Wildcat Brock Stewart played for them. Former (Lexington) Minuteman Dan Freed spotted them. I became a Cub fan because I could never get the daily Dodger results because the newspaper was always a day behind due to the West Coast and no internet. The Cubs were on WGN.

“The Dodgers have a great manager in Dave Roberts. Mookie was there and did it. The Dodgers looked death in the face being down 3-1… they are playing fearlessly. Playing without fear is a convenience in competitive sports. Come on Dodger Blue and the summer boys!

Steve Holm, Illinois State Coach

Why: “Arozarena had a hot bat in the playoffs – four homers in the ALCS and seven in the playoffs, setting a rookie record for most homers in a single playoff series.”

Billy Horn, former director of Normal CornBelters

Why: “Tampa is playing strong fundamentals, outstanding defense and their pitching staff are amazing. I have pitch and defense, heart and courage for a huge payroll. “

Derek Johnson, Cincinnati Reds pitching coach, college graduate

Who will win: Dodgers in 6

Why: “I think their pitch beats the Rays bats. Mookie Betts is about to get hot.”

Illinois Wesleyan Coach Dennis Martel

Why: “LA might be a better batting team, but Tampa just has a very impressive weapons stable. Arozarena swings the hot bat. He exploded onto the big stage this fall. And think of the Cardinals, who have struggled to hit this year, traded him in. They may regret that decision.

Steve Paxson, college high school coach

Who will win: Dodgers in 6

Why: “I really feel like it’s going to be tough to beat the Dodgers. I just feel like races are hard to come by against the Dodgers and their pen. Plus, they’ve been there three of the last four years, so they (know) a little something about how to win a title.

John Rave, former Central Catholic, ISU player, current Kansas City minor league

Who will win: Dodgers in 5

Why: “During those playoffs there were some phenomenal baseball players and it was a joy to watch. I learn something new with every game just by watching these guys compete at the highest level. The Dodgers have a plethora of MVP caliber players. I’m excited to see these two teams getting down to it, but I think the Dodgers just have too much firepower for the Rays to keep up.

Chris Razo, Heartland College Coach

Who will win: Dodgers in 6

Why: “Their enclosure and Mookie will make the difference. I don’t think people realize how much of an impact Mookie has on the game in so many ways. He is the second best baseball player and the world will know it after this series!

Ryan Short, Normal Community Coach

Why: “(I) Blake Snell who won the MVP award for throwing quality starts in Game 2 and Game 6. The Dodgers have the deepest lineup, but I think the Rays have both the best starters in Glasnow, Snell and Morton and the most reliable box I predict the best pitchers will beat the best hitters.

Brock Stewart, former Dodgers pitcher, former Normal West, Illinois State player

Who will win: Dodgers in 7

Why: “Seager stays locked up. Shoot for my buddies. I’ll always be a Dodgers fan. I couldn’t ask for a better game to watch. I think it will be back and forth. The Dodgers’ playoff experience helps take the benefit and they’re doing it this time around. “

Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt


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