5 Takeaways from Dodgers Rebounding for 4-2 World Series Game 5 Win
How would the Dodgers respond after Saturday's heartbreaking loss? Would having Game 4 slip away linger into Game 5? Or would a team full of veteran professionals shake it off and be ready to roll?
1. Dodgers Washed Out Game 4 Right Away
Batting first as the "road" team, Los Angeles silenced any questions of Game 4 aftershock. Mookie Betts led off with a double and Corey Seager drove him in with a single. After two batters, it was 1-0.
The Dodgers plated a second run on a RBI single by Cody Bellinger. And Joc Pederson added a solo homer in the second inning for a 3-0 lead.
This team wasn't sulking and forced the Rays to play catch-up from the start.
2. Dave Roberts Didn't Let Clayton Kershaw Lose The Game
Kershaw wasn't as sharp as in his Game 1 start (allowing one run and two hits in six innings). And he allowed the Rays to make the game close with two runs in the third inning, including an RBI single from the seemingly unstoppable Randy Arozarena.
Letting Kershaw face the Tampa Bay lineup a third time through in the sixth inning looked like the kind of scenario in which Roberts has previously left his veteran ace in a position to fail.
Arozarena and Brandon Lowe each helped Kershaw by swinging at the first pitch and making outs. But both pitches were strikes and could've been dangerous. But both pitcher and manager said in the postgame that the plan between innings was to bring Dustin May in to face Manuel Margot, and stuck with the plan.
3. Tampa Bay's Best Chance May Have Been in the Fourth
The Rays had runners on first and third with no outs after two consecutive walks by Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, Margot stealing second, and an error by Chris Taylor, his second in as many nights.
But Joey Wendle popped out and Willy Adames (batting .176 in the World Series) followed by striking out. Left with the possibility of scoring no runs, Margot decided to take a chance based on Kershaw's long delivery.
Stealing home? In the World Series? It was worth the risk. Margot could've forced Kershaw into committing a balk, rather than throwing to the plate. And Margot almost pulled it off, but Austin Barnes got the tag down just in time.
4. Dustin May Was Used Properly
The Dodgers haven't handled May very well during the postseason. "Hey, kid -- you're starting the game tonight! Hope you're ready."
Baseball players want to know their role going into the game. If they know before they get to the ballpark, even better. Whether Roberts told May he would be the first man in once Kershaw was pulled or not, the rookie was ready to perform and did just that, allowing a hit with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.
With a day off on Monday, May will likely be available in a Game 6 bullpen game. Roberts needs to clearly define his role -- or as do so much as possible given the circustances -- and give him his best chance to succeed.
5. Max Muncy Deserved to Watch This Home Run
If you crushed a ball like this, wouldn't you want to watch it soar into the seats too?
Muncy is hitting .314/.429/.523 in this World Series. If that on-base percentage was shown on the scoreboard, he should stand at home plate and admire that too.
Game 6 is scheduled for a 5:08 p.m. PT start time on Tuesday. Blake Snell allowed two runs on two hits in Game 2 and gives the Rays their best chance to force a Game 7 Wednesday.
The Dodgers will counter with Tony Gonsolin, who probably should've been allowed to pitch longer in his Game 2 start. Maybe Roberts will let him go at least two innings.
Ian Casselberry watchdogs sports media for Awful Announcing. He’s covered baseball for SB Nation, Yahoo Sports and MLive, and was one of Bleacher Report’s first lead MLB writers. Please follow Ian on Twitter @iancass and give him a listen at The Podcass.