It was 32 years ago to the day that the Los Angeles Dodgers last won the World Series, And now, here they were, trying again on Tuesday night to grab another title against the upstart Tampa Bay Rays.
But if you thought the Dodgers, who have lost more World Series than anyone, were feeling the pressure, you'd be dead wrong. Playing loose and relaxed, they pummeled the Rays 8-3, winning with big bats and timely pitching, most notably from Clayton Kershaw, their oft-criticized ace who went six innings and allowed only one run and two hits.
Game 2 is Wednesday night.
“I think we’re all just trusting each other and understanding how good we are,” said Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger, who hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to get the scoring started. “We're just not putting pressure on ourselves, and going out to play our game. When we do that, we’re really good.”
The Dodgers blew open a 2-1 game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs on three hits, two walks and three stolen bases in one inning for the first time in a World Series game in 108 years. The Dodgers, known for their power prowess, instead scored the runs on a groundout and three RBI singles.
The Dodgers, playing in the World Series for the third time in four years, got a great start from Kershaw, entered the game with a 5.40 career World Series ERA. (He's got a 2.43 ERA in the regular season.) He retired 15 of the last 16 hitters, and the only run he allowed was on a fifth-inning homer by Kevin Keirmaier, the Rays's center fielder and Fort Wayne, Ind., native who played high school baseball at Bishop Luers.
Kiermaier also had a single, and was the only Tampa Bay player with multiple hits. The Rays had only six hits all night, Kiermaier's blast, a Joey Wendle double and four singles, including one from Portage, Ind., native Mike Brosseau, who played his high school ball at Andrean.
"Tonight, they outplayed us," Kiermaier said. "They had big bats in crucial times. We had a tough task of getting momentum going for us. Kershaw threw the ball great, very deceptive up there, threw us off balance and not a whole lot of cold, hard contact. And he did a great job limiting the damage and keeping the bats very quiet."
"Kershaw was dealing," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You see why he's going to the Hall of Fame one day."
The Rays were expecting a lot from starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow, but he just couldn't find a comfort zone, walking six batters in 4 1/3 innings and allowing six runs.
World Series Schedule
All games at Globe Life Stadium, Arlington, Texas. (TV: FOX)
- Game 1, DODGERS 8, RAYS 3; Los Angeles struck first in the series with a two-run home run by Cody Bellinger and six solid innings from Clayton Kershaw, who allowed only two hits and one run. (Los Angeles leads series 1-0.)
- Game 2, Wednesday (Oct. 21), 8:08 p.m. ET: Tampa Bay will look to even the series behind ace Blake Snell, who's been the Game 1 starter in the first three series and will be on full four days' rest for this one. Los Angeles has decided to go with Tony Gonsolin. He was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA during the regular season, but has struggled a bit in the playoffs. In two appearances, he's allowed seven runs in just 6 1/3 innings.
- Off day on Thursday (Oct. 22).
- Game 3, Friday (Oct. 23) 8:08 p.m. ET: Postseason hero Charlie Morton will start this game on five days' rest for Tampa Bay. Los Angeles will counter with Walker Buehler, the hard-throwing right-hander who just might be the Dodgers' best pitcher
- Game 4, Saturday (Oct. 24) 8:08 p.m. ET: Pitchers TBA.
- Game 5, Sunday (Oct. 25) 8:08 p.m. ET: Pitchers TBA.
- Off day on Monday (Oct. 26)
- Game 6: Tuesday (Oct. 27) 8:08 p.m. ET: Pitchers TBA.
- Game 7: Wednesday (Oct. 28), 8:08 p.m. ET: Pitchers TBA.