The Los Angeles Dodgers are the 2020 World Series champions. I will never get tired of saying, reading, or writing that phrase.
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.
Game 4 started off much differently than Game 3, in more than one way. Game time temperature was about 30 degrees less, with wind gusts up to 22 MPH blowing in from centerfield. The Dodgers also failed to score in their first two innings, and couldn’t muster more than two runs.
It wasn’t neat, it wasn’t necessarily tidy. But when all was said and done, the Dodgers got the win, and that’s all that matters.
The biggest change in Kershaw’s pitching has been his increased velocity this season. His velocity jumped up an average of 1.5 mph from last season. He received run support early and it was all he needed, a couple of RBI from Matt Beaty, AJ Pollock, and Cody Bellinger sparked a four-run third inning.
With Kershaw going seven strong innings, it gave the bullpen a breather after it had to eat up more than seven innings the previous day after a Julio Urias 1.2 inning start. Kershaw has allowed only five hits in his last two starts and just two runs, both courtesy of the long ball. Home runs given up by Kershaw have increased through the past seasons, but his start to this year has still been exciting to watch.
Now in his age 32 season, and after a back injury postponed his debut, Kershaw has put up a 3-1 record with a 2.25 ERA. He also leads the team in strikeouts this season with 29 and is second in innings pitched just behind Ross Stripling with 24. Kershaw has probably been the best full-time starter at this point. There is also Tony Gonsolin, who has been amazing and hasn’t even allowed a run in three starts this year. However, Gonsolin has been up and down with the team and was optioned recently to recall left-hander Victor Gonzalez. Gonsolin will probably be back with the team to make another start at some point and continue his strong case for a playoff roster spot.
With the Dodgers taking three games out of a four-game series from the Mariners, they now sit at 19-8 and have the best winning percentage in the majors at .701. They also continue to add on the best-run differential in the league which now sits at +66. Los Angeles is four games clear of the Padres, who are in second place now. Four out of the five teams in the NL West have winning records with the Giants being the only exception.
Nearly halfway through the season (yes, you read that halfway through the season), the Dodgers sit with the best record in baseball. Friday night will be the opening game of a home three-game series with the Colorado Rockies, the first series between the two clubs this year. The Rockies through the first couple weeks of the season seemed to be the hottest team in the league, as Charlie Blackmon was batting .500 at one point. Since then, the Rockies have cooled down, currently sitting in third place in the division, five games out of first.
Buehler, who has had a rough start to the season after joining the team late in Summer Camp, hopes to swing some momentum his way. He allowed five runs in his last start against the Angels in 4.2 innings. His ERA stands at 5.21 and he hasn’t factored in any decision as his record is still 0-0.
The probable pitching matchup on Friday pits Buehler against right-hander Jon Gray. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Pacific.
The Dodgers on Sunday activated left-handed starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw from the injured list. To create space on the active roster, the team optioned right-handed pitcher Mitch White back to camp.
In an unfortunate turn of events just hours before Thursday’s season opener, the Dodgers have placed left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the injured list with back stiffness and have recalled right-handed pitcher Dustin May.
While there’s still plenty of time remaining before the beginning of the abbreviated 2020 MLB season, there is a good chance that Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers for the opener, so long as everything stays on track.
Is it time for actual baseball games yet?
As the Dodgers spring training continues on, the hangover of 2017 also just keeps lingering. This, of course, is through no fault of the Dodgers themselves; I’m certain that they are more than happy to finally move on from that fated season.