Kershaw, Dodgers Handle Rays in World Series Opener

clayton_kershaw
(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Tuesday night showed why Clayton Kershaw is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and why he will have a plaque in Cooperstown one day. It also showed every bit of reason why the Dodgers signed Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. In an almost-perfect evening, the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series.

Kershaw’s final line was six innings pitched, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out eight. He ran into traffic early after allowing a leadoff hit and a walk in the first inning. After the first, though, he only allowed one hit—a home run in the fifth inning to Rays’ center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.

Cody Bellinger got the scoring started for Los Angeles in the fourth inning with a two-run home run off Rays’ starter Tyler Glasnow. Bellinger looked more than fine on that swing after hurting his shoulder in Game 7 of the NLCS celebrating his game-winning homer.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Dodgers scored four runs. Betts led off with a walk and then cemented himself as America’s hero stealing second base and providing fans with free Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell. Betts then stole third in a double steal, with Corey Seager stealing second right behind him. It was the first time since 1912 that a team had stolen three bases in one inning. Betts then scored off a Max Muncy fielder’s choice in which he raced home and slid safely under the tag. Consequently, Will Smith and Chris Taylor ripped RBI singles, with pinch-hitter Kike Hernadez adding another to make it 6-1 at that point.

The Mookie Betts show continued in the bottom of the sixth when he hit his first home run of the postseason off Rays’ left-handed reliever Josh Fleming. Justin Turner then just missed a home run in the next AB, hitting the ball right off the top of the wall in center field for a double. Muncy then followed with an RBI double of his own to make it 8-1.

Right-hander Dylan Floro relieved Kershaw in the seventh and ran into trouble. Floro ended up being tagged for two runs. Left-hander Victor Gonzalez then relieved Floro, allowing two hits, but got out of the inning off an iconic double play. Gonzalez caught a scorching liner off the bat of Rays’ catcher Mike Zunino and threw to second base for the double play.

Pedro Baez pitched a perfect eighth inning, while Joe Kelly threw a scoreless ninth, with Bellinger yet again making a defensive gem in center field, robbing Austin Meadows of a possible home run.

After Kershaw got out of the first inning without giving up a run, he cruised the whole way through the sixth, which was big for the Dodgers. Timely, situational hitting, followed by the hustling plays of Betts, showed why this Dodger team has been the favorite to win it all since the early days of the regular season.

After tonight, however, the job isn’t finished, as they still have three more wins to go.

The Dodgers will face the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell in Game 2. The left-handed pitcher has posted a 3.20 ERA over four starts this postseason.

Dodger manager Dave Roberts announced late Tuesday night that Tony Gonsolin will start Game 2, having previously noting that it will be a bullpen type of game. Dustin May and Julio Urias will also be available in relief.

First pitch for Wednesday’s Game 2 is slated for 5:08 p.m. Pacific time.

6 thoughts on “Kershaw, Dodgers Handle Rays in World Series Opener

  1. The first time a team has stolen 3 bases in an inning since 1912 and it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers. This has really been an odd year. I love the aggressiveness we’re showing on the base paths. I hope it continues.

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  2. Good game, and Kersh earned some redemption. But as stated, the job is not done yet. The ball Belli caught looked like it was close to going out, but when they showed it from the camera behind the fence it would have only hit the wall, not cleared it. Best part of the night for me was when Kersh recorded his 200th playoff K and passed Motormouth Smoltz on the all time list. Good to see Mookie power one out. Seager has cooled off the last 2 games, but did draw 2 walks and Muncy’s bat looks like it has some life now.

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  3. Great game. It was a typical “exhaustion exercice” of the opponent pitching staff: Patience, fouling off balls, not chasing that much… Only blemish was Floro’s outing (but apparently he had to rush his entrance and suffered from a “dropped” catch from Belli)
    1 win in the books, 3 to go.
    However, remember the very easy G1 win against WAS last year…
    And @Bearone48, Seager had 3 BB (very patient for a first-pitch hitter 😉 ). Let’s go Dodgers !
    Can’t wait until tomorrow to watch the game (I’m from Belgium so the start time is 1am)

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    1. Hey Vincent. Great to see a comment from so far away. I spent a day in Brussels about 40 years ago. Most expensive lunch I ever ate and it wasn’t even a fancy restaurant. I hope the cost of living has come down since then.

      Dennis/Andy, I think you can officially change the name of the blog to Think Blue Worldwide Planning Committee now.

      I think tonight’s game will determine how the rest of the series plays out. If we can beat Snell with our bullpen guys, the series is basically over. If the Rays win tonight, it could still be a fight to the finish.

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      1. Hello Jeff, the place where you ate lunch was probably a “tourist” restaurant, we know how to avoid those (as “locals do in any country 😉 )
        Although I live faaaaaaaaar from LA, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to attend two games at Dodger Stadium (once in the early 90s and one in April last year). I’ve been a Dodger fan since ’88 (to be honest,it was the first year I was able to see any game on TV in Europe, even if they only showed WS games, edited to fit 1h. So after Gibson’s HR I became a Dodger fan for life). Thanks to MLB.TV I can watch more games now 😉

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  4. Someone needs to teach Dustin May a changeup if they want him to stay a starting pitcher. There’s no question he throws a very hard sinker but it’s not at all untouchable and his slider is barely average, it’s a show me pitch to back hitters off his 100mph sinker. Think if he could master a hard 88-90 changeup that has sone diving action to throw to left handed hitters. It could make all the difference in the world. I also think he might get a little more movement if he throws that sinker 96-97 instead of 99-100. As it stands he’s eventually going to be a late inning bullpen guy unless he can find a strikeout pitch.

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