The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 1-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, beating them 8-3 in Game 1 of the World Series at Globe Life Field on Tuesday. The next game will be tonight, with Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin facing off against former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell of the Rays.
In Game 1, Los Angeles got a quality performance out of starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. A former most valuable player (MVP) and three-time Cy Young Award winner, he had an outing that the Dodgers needed from him.
Kershaw, who has been criticized for his postseason performances, threw six innings, racking up eight strikeouts while allowing one earned run, coming in the form of a home run by Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier in the fifth inning.
Despite his outing on Tuesday, Kershaw's postseason earned run average is at 4.22.
In last year’s Game 5 of the National League Division Series (NLDS), Kershaw entered the seventh inning with a two-run lead. In the eighth, he gave up back-to-back home runs to the eventual World Series champions Washington Nationals.
Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow started last night's game strongly and established his fastball early. Hitting 100 mph and compiling strikeouts fast, it looked as if he was going to make a statement.
Glasnow ran into some trouble, though. In the fourth inning, he walked Los Angeles third baseman Max Muncy, and with one out, centerfielder Cody Bellinger came up and hit a two-run home run on a 98 mph fastball, sending it 378 feet to right-center field.
After that, the Dodgers piled on the runs off Glasnow and scored six more runs throughout the game.
One player that carried the load for Los Angeles was right fielder Mookie Betts. After stealing two bases, which led to a Dodgers run, he came up in the sixth inning against Tampa Bay reliever Josh Fleming and blasted a 349-foot home run to right field.
Rays manager Kevin Cash commented on his team's performance.
“The walks are definitely not ideal,” Cash said. “We didn’t do a good job of holding the runners on. We can’t let them double-steal right there. Then when they got over to Muncy, we needed a strikeout. There might be nobody better equipped to get a strikeout right there than (Glasnow).”
When asked about Betts, Kershaw said, "Yeah, Mookie’s pretty special ... He does things on the baseball field that not many people can do. And he does it very consistently, which separates him from a lot of guys,” according to Yahoo Sports
Betts was traded to Los Angeles by the Boston Red Sox in February. The Dodgers give up a package including outfielder Alex Verdugo for the former MVP and four-time all-star. Betts then signed an extension for 12 years and $365 million dollars.