Dodgers One Win Away from Title as Kershaw Beats Rays

Dodgers Rays

Dodgers 4, Rays 2

Following Game Four’s excitement, Game Five was definitely must-see television. A rematch of Game One starters went the same way it did five days prior, with a Dodgers victory.  The Los Angeles Dodgers will have a chance to close out the series over the Tampa Bay Rays and hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy on Tuesday night.

Quick Start

With the lineup that the Dodgers have, Rays pitchers know they must be on point from pitch one. Tyler Glasnow was not that. A Mookie Betts double followed by a Corey Seager single put the Dodgers on the board with no outs recorded. Seager continued the Dodgers aggressive series base running, moving up to third on a wild pitch.  That resulted in him being able to score the second run of the inning. With two outs, Cody Bellinger reached on an infield single, a ball Seager doesn’t score on from second base.

Joc Pederson and Max Muncy provided the third and fourth runs via the solo home run. All scoring was done by the top of the fifth. That was all that future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw needed.

Game Four was the only game of the Series where the team who scored first didn’t win the game. The Dodgers have now scored first in four of the five games.

Fourth Inning Frustration

Base runners are like gold in baseball. The ability to get guys on and put up crooked numbers helps teams win ballgames. After cutting the lead down to one in the third, the Rays had a huge opportunity to tie or take the lead in the fourth. This was an inning they surely wish they could have back.

Manuel Margot walked to lead off the frame. He stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Hunter Renfroe also walked, putting men on the corners with no one out. The Rays now had two opportunities to drive in Margot without even needing a base hit. Joey Wendle popped up on the second pitch of his at-bat, bringing Willy Adames to the plate. Adames has struggled hitting and many would not have faulted Kevin Cash for putting on a safety squeeze play there. Trading an out for the tying run would have definitely sat well with the Rays in that situation.

Instead, Adames struck out swinging, bringing Kevin Kiermaier to the plate. With two out, Margot decided to try and score on the most exciting play in baseball. His steal of home, however, was cut down by Kershaw’s quick thinking and Austin Barnes’ perfect tag.  Not exactly an inning the Rays will want to remember any time soon.

Bold Dave Roberts

Being a manager isn’t easy, especially when it comes to the decision to remove your star pitcher. That’s exactly what happened when Dave Roberts walked to the mound in the sixth. Kershaw had been dealing, retiring eight straight since the back-to-back walks. Roberts still decided that it was time to turn it over the bullpen, much to the dismay of the Dodger faithful.

Dustin May came in and did just what Roberts needed. Throw strikes and get outs. May gave the Dodgers 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball before the next big move was to be made. Roberts went to his lefty Victor Gonzalez, forcing Cash to dive into his bench, burning two hitters for one at-bat. This was something that would play huge against Cash and the Rays. Gonzalez provided the necessary bridge to get to Blake Treinen in the ninth.

Up Next

Game Six is scheduled for 8:07 Eastern/5:07 Pacific on Tuesday Night.

With the Dodgers on the brink of a championship, the Dodgers have yet to announce their Game Six starter. Most would speculate it could be Tony Gonsolin, who started Game Two.  A few innings of him, and over to the bullpen it would go.

The Rays will have Blake Snell to try and avoid elimination. Snell limited the Dodgers to three runs in 5 2/3 innings back in Game Two. The Rays will need more of the same to force a deciding Game Seven.

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