For their third World Series visit in four years, the Dodgers were looking to not fall behind the Rays in Game 1 like they did in the NLCS to the Braves.
They managed to do exactly that thanks to scoring eight runs in the middle innings and having things go almost ideally to start the series with an 8-3 win.
Tyler Glasnow started for the Rays with his 100 mph fastball and hammer curve. While he didn’t allow a RISP in his first three innings, he also didn’t have a clean inning and seemed to struggle a bit with his command of both pitches.
In the 4th, the Dodgers jumped out to a lead by proving they didn’t need a RISP to do damage. Max Muncy drew a lead-off walk in the inning and with one out Cody Bellinger drilled a two-run dong on a fastball to right for the lead.
The Dodgers then quickly rallied again behind a Chris Taylor walk and a wild pitch that advanced him to second. However, nothing came of the threat.
On the other side Clayton Kershaw was amped up to start the game, which led to him pumping 92-93 mph fastballs, but also seemed to prevent him from throwing a single slider where he wanted.
That led to some early trouble in the 1st, as he allowed a single to Yandy Diaz on a slider that missed location and then issued a one-out walk to Randy Arozarena to put a runner in scoring position from the jump. However, he rebounded to get the next two hitters and work out of a jam.
Thankfully, to say he rebounded would be an understatement, as he then retired 13 batters in a row. However, in the 5th he hung a two-out slider to Kevin Kiermaier who roped a solo shot into right to make it 2-1.
Thankfully, the Dodgers didn’t take long to strike back. Mookie Betts led off the 5th with a walk and stole second base before Corey Seager also walked. Kevin Cash continued to leave Glasnow in for whatever reason, and he did rebound with a strikeout, but Mookie and Seager also executed a double steal. That proved key as Max Muncy then grounded to first but Mookie beat the throw home on a great piece off baserunning to make it 3-1.
Mookie Betts starts the four-run rally with a double steal and then scoring on a grounder against a drawn-in infield to make it 3-1, plus replay. pic.twitter.com/h2fBAmCDH9— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) October 21, 2020
After a pop out, the Dodgers rallied with two outs again thanks to back-to-back singles from Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez to make it 6-1.
Now with a big lead, Kershaw went back out and had another 1-2-3 inning. That ended up being the end of his night at 78 pitches due to the lead and probably Kershaw’s history that makes it hard to complain about. On the night he went six innings, giving up just one run on two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.
Josh Fleming then entered for the Rays in the 6th, which was also odd since he might’ve also been a Game 4 candidate. Betts greeted him rudely with his first postseason homer as a Dodger to extend the lead to 7-1.
With one out, Justin Turner then doubled off the top off the wall in right-center and then Max Muncy immediately followed by ripping a double of his own to make it 8-1.
The 7th was eventful for the Dodgers, as Dylan Floro emerged from the pen. He got a strikeout to start, but then gave up a single to Manuel Margot and a double off Bellinger’s glove in left-center to Joey Wendle.
That led to Roberts coming out and getting Victor Gonzalez up quickly and bringing him in perhaps half warmed-up. That showed as he allowed back-to-back singles to Mike Brosseau and Kevin Kiermaier that plated two and cut the lead to 8-3. Things were tense at that point to say the least, but the Dodgers got a bit lucky after Mike Zunino lined right back to Victor and he got a double play to escape.
Joe Kelly then got the 9th in 1-2-3 fashion, even if in more eventful style and the Dodgers took the series lead.
Game 2 of the World Series will be played tomorrow at 2:08 PM HST/5:08 PM PST/8:08 PM EST on FOX. Blake Snell will take the mound for the Rays, while the Dodgers starter is still unannounced but it will likely be a quasi-bullpen game.