The Los Angeles Dodgers are one game away from winning the World Series.
We’ve only been able to see that one other time with this core group of players, but this time feels a little different. This time they are in charge of their own destiny, seemingly in control of their current series with the Tampa Bay Rays, up three game to two.
After Game 4, a game which will never be mentioned again, the Dodgers bounced back in Game 5. They took control early, and they never trailed in the game. It was a close contest, with the Rays threatening a few times. But in the end, again, the Dodgers got it done, winning 4-2.
Clayton Kershaw, while not perfect, went 5-2/3 innings, got his second win of this World Series, and is now 4-1 this postseason. He also struck out six batters, bringing his career total to 206, surpassing Justin Verlander for the most ever strikeouts in the postseason.
Monday is an off day before the series switches back to the Dodgers being the home team for Game 6. Manager Dave Roberts said that the team was very much looking forward to having some real Texas barbecue brought into the bubble.
So far this series, Roberts has made moves that have mostly worked. In Game 5, he had a plan with Kershaw and stuck with it. He had confidence that Dustin May had regained his own confidence, and he went with Blake Treinen over Kenley Jansen, even though it would be Treinen’s third day pitching in a row. All of these decisions proved to be the right ones.
Now, the Dodgers look ahead to Game 6, with Tony Gonsolin having been named the starter. In an interview with reporters on Monday, Gonsolin stated that he had known since after Game 2 that this would be his start and that he was preparing for it how he normally would.
“It’s feels like I’m back on a normal routine like I had all season,” he said.
Roberts said that they’re looking to get five to six innings out of Gonsolin. He also said that besides Kershaw, Julio Urías and Walker Buehler, the latter two that they intend to use in Game 7 if needed, it will be all hands on deck for the pitching staff.
“Our only focus is to win Game 6,” Roberts said when asked to talk about a potential Game 7. “That’s it.”
The Rays will be sure to not make it easy on the Dodgers. They will send Blake Snell to the mound, who went 4-2/3 innings in Game 2, giving up two runs, including a homer, while walking four and striking out nine. Presumably, the entire bullpen will be at Rays manager Kevin Cash’s disposal, aside from Charlie Morton, who would be their potential Game 7 starter.
The Dodgers need to keep up with their two-out runs. They need to keep putting pressure on the Rays’ pitching staff. Roberts needs to keep making the right moves at the right time, both pitching and defensively. Game 4 smacked them right in the face, giving them more motivation to get the job done. In the next two days, we will see the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988.