World Series Game 1 Recap: Kershaw, Offense Lead Los Angeles Over Tampa Bayby Yehuda Schwartz October 21, 2020 1 comment
When the teams with the best record in both the American and National Leagues make it to the World Series, you know that the matchups and games will come with a ton of hype.
How They Got Here
The Tampa Bay Rays came into the playoffs on fire, sweeping the Blue Jays in the Wild card round, outlasting the division-rival Yankees in five games, and advancing over the Astros in a thrilling seven-game series. They went up 3-0 in the ALCS but let the lead get away, with the Astros to tying the series at 3-3. The Rays almost took it in game five, but were sent home by a Carlos Correa walk-off home run, extending the series. Tampa Bay finally finished it off with a 4-2 victory in Game 7, clinching the American League pennant. They dropped Aaron Slegers and Jose Alvarado from their ALCS roster and added Brett Phillips and Ryan Sherriff. There was some buzz about them potentially adding the top prospect in all of baseball, Wander Franco but they elected to keep him on the taxi squad.
The Dodgers also led their playoff run off with a thump, sweeping the Brewers to advance to the NLDS. They then promptly swept their young division rival Padres who put up a surprisingly great fight despite not winning a game. Los Angeles then hit a brick wall against the Braves, going down to a 3-1 deficit in the series. From there, the Dodgers turned their offense on as well as playing extremely great defense. This allowed to complete a three-game comeback and win the National League pennant. The Dodgers roster would remain the same as their NLCS roster for the World Series.
Clayton Kershaw started off the game shaky, allowing a leadoff single to Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz. A couple of batters later, Kershaw walked the postseason sensation Randy Arozarena before getting out of the inning. Tyler Glasnow started his night off with a long 19-pitch first inning for Tampa Bay, the only blemish was a walk to NLCS MVP Corey Seager. The next few innings were smooth sailing on both sides with plenty of strikeouts. The bottom of the fourth started with Glasnow walking Max Muncy. He then got Will Smith to ground out before Cody Bellinger smashed a home run to dead-center, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Kershaw served up a solo shot off the bat of Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, slicing the lead to 2-1. In the bottom of the fifth, things broke down for Glasnow, who had been cruising since the Bellinger home run. He started off by walking Mookie Betts who promptly stole second base, then a walk to Seager.
The following proceeded the walks: Justin Turner strikeout with a Betts and Seager double steal, Muncy RBI fielders choice and reaching base (3-1), and Smith singled in another (4-1). Ryan Yarbrough relieved Glasnow, induced a Bellinger pop-out, Chris Taylor had an RBI single (5-1), and Kiké Hernández followed with one of his own (6-1). Mercifully, Austin Barnes flew out to get the Rays out of the inning.
Kershaw retired the side in order in the sixth, bringing the Dodgers offense right back up. Josh Fleming relieved Yarbrough and promptly served up a monster home run to Betts. The Dodgers got back-to-back doubles from Turner and Muncy making the score 8-1 before the inning came to a close.
Dylan Floro relieved Kershaw and struck out pinch hitter Austin Meadows to start the seventh inning. Manuel Margot then singled, followed by a Joey Wendle deep double, and then a Mike Brosseau RBI knock off of Victor Gonzalez, who had relieved Floro after the Wendle double. Kiermaier followed Brosseau with another RBI single making the score 8-3. Mike Zunino then hit a scorcher right at Gonzalez who made a fabulous catch and throw to second to double up Brosseau and end the threat. The remainder of the game was quiet for both sides, save for a couple of stranded baserunners. Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly closed the game out with a scoreless ninth.
The biggest stat of the night belongs to Kershaw, even though Mookie Betts did get the country free tacos. Kershaw struck out eight Tampa Bay batters, bringing his career postseason total to 201, good for second all-time. He trails only Justin Verlander‘s 205, and will likely have the opportunity to break the record in a few games. Kershaw dealt six innings, allowing only two hits, one run, a walk, and the aforementioned eight strikeouts. On the Rays side, Glasnow did not have as pretty of a line. Through four and one-third innings, Glasnow allowed six runs on three hits and six walks. He struck out eight on the evening.
For the offense, Turner and Muncy each doubled, with Muncy also tallying a single and two runs batted in. Bellinger had his two-run home run, Betts had his solo shot and a single, while Taylor went 2-3 with an RBI.
On the Rays side, Kiermaier had two hits in three trips to the plate, including a home run. Wendle accounted for a double, and Brosseau’s lone hit was his RBI single.
The Dodgers will trot out rookie righty Tony Gonsolin for Game 2. The Rays will counter with ace southpaw Blake Snell.
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 8:08 PM EST
Location: Arlington, TX
Stadium: Globe Life Field
Dodgers Starter: Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 9.95 ERA postseason)
Rays Starter: Blake Snell (2-2, 3.20 ERA postseason)
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