MemberOctober 25, 2020 at 9:36 pm
With early runs and a big time collective bullpen performance, the Los Angeles Dodgers win Game Five of the World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays in a low-scoring and nerve-racking affair, 4-2.
In a matchup nearly identical to the Series opener, Tyler Glasnow took the mound for the Rays in a pivotal Game Five. An eight-pitch battle between Glasnow and Mookie Betts resulted in a leadoff double — an outstanding at-bat. Two pitches later, Corey Seager pulled a single through the shift to bring home Betts, putting the Dodgers in front early, 1-0. Glasnow responded with a punch-out of Justun Turner, but issued a walk to Max Muncy. Glasnow got Will Smith swinging, and was a strike away from stranding a pair with Cody Bellinger at the plate. Glasnow threw a curveball in the dirt, and Seager aggressively took 3rd. His outstanding baserunning proved to be extremely meaningful, as he scored on Bellinger’s infield single to double LA’s first inning advantage to 2-0. Chris Taylor chased a curveball that bounced three feet in front of the plate to help Glasnow finish a 34-pitch opening frame. Trying to keep the alternating victory schedule, as well as reverse the postseason narrative surrounding him, Clayton Kershaw went to work. He was welcomed by a two-strike single by Yandy Díaz. In the midst of an entertaining duel, Randy Arozarena hooked a ball just foul that hit near the top of the wall in left. On the next pitch, Kershaw rolled a double-play ball of Arozarena to wipe the bases clean. It took Kershaw one pitch to retire Brandon Lowe with a harmless infield pop-up. In the second, Glasnow pounded a 98mph fastball up near the top of the zone, and Joc Pederson didn’t miss it. Absolutely launching a solo home run, Pederson admired the ball he struck before jogging around the bases, having given his squad a 3-0 edge. Glasnow proceeded to walk Austin Barnes on four pitches. Betts just got under one, flying-out to left, and Barnes, initially safe upon his arrival into 2nd, came off the bag and was tagged out attempting to steal. Seager walked with two-away, but Turner loudly flew-out. On the first pitch of the home half, Manuel Margot put down a beautiful bunt and beat Turner’s throw to 1st. Next, Hunter Renfroe hit a soft comebacker that Kershaw fielded and thought about 2nd, but settled for the out at 1st. Kershaw dropped in a gorgeous curveball to freeze Joey Wendle for strike-three, and left Margot at 2nd thanks to a strong throw by Turner and a great pick by Muncy on Willy Adames’ grounder. Muncy roped a liner down the line to begin the 2nd, but an unfortunate bounce off the side wall kept him at 1st. The count ran full before Glasnow fired a fastball past Smith for the strike-out. Muncy took 2nd on a wild pitch, but Glasnow got Bellinger swinging on three pitches to follow. Taylor grounded-out to strand Muncy. Utilizing his speed, Kevin Kiermaier reached on a swinging bunt to begin Tampa Bay’s turn. Kershaw got Mike Zunino looking, but Díaz floated a triple down the line to get the Rays on the board, 3-1. Arozarena’s ground-ball single through the hole scored Díaz, cutting it to 3-2. Kershaw struck-out Lowe with a curveball in the dirt, and Barnes cut down Arozarena attempting to nab 2nd simultaneously. While a trio of weak hits pulled Tampa Bay right back into the game, the Dodgers caught some luck to keep them ahead. Glasnow worked a fly-out of Pederson prior to Barnes’ fly-out in the fourth. Betts flew-out lazily, and Kershaw went back out nearly immediately. Margot led-off the bottom half with a walk, and he advanced to 3rd on a stolen base plus a dropped throw down to 2nd. It seemed likely upon review that Margot would be called out after coming off the bag for a split second; however, he was called safe. Kershaw issued Renfroe a free pass, putting runners at the corners with nobody out. Kershaw got a big first out with a pop-up of Wendle on the infield, and he struck-out Adames on three pitches. As Kershaw came set to deliver the first pitch to Kiermaier, Margot broke home towards the plate. Although it was a very intense moment, Kershaw calmly stepped off and threw to Barnes, who applied the tag on Margot to escape the jam unscathed. Glasnow punched-out Seager, worked a fly-out of Turner, and had Muncy in a full count nearing a clean fifth. Glasnow left 99mph over the middle of the plate, and Muncy absolutely crushed it. Muncy dropped the bat with passion, the outfielders didn’t move, and LA grabbed a 4-2 lead. In the Rays’ turn, Kershaw started things with back-to-back strike-outs of Kiermaier and Zunino. With the count full, Kershaw worked a ground-out of Díaz to end the inning. Aaron Loup relieved Glasnow in the sixth, and he worked an easy pop-out of Bellinger and a ground-out of Taylor. Loup issued Pederson a free pass with two-down, and Diego Castillo trotted in from Tampa Bay’s bullpen. Barnes smashed a liner towards the gap, but Kiermaier was there to make the catch. Kershaw went back out for the bottom of the inning, and he retired Arozarena and Lowe on two pitches. With Margot coming up, Dave Roberts made the decision to call for Dustin May, concluding Kershaw’s day. He wasn’t sharp, and also had a few unlucky hits that led to damage against him, but Kershaw pitched his heart out and had himself a quality outing: 5.2IP, 2ER, 5H, 2BB, 6K. May struck-out Margot swinging with 101mph to finish the inning. In the seventh, Castillo set the top of the Dodgers lineup down in order with ease. May struck-out the pinch-hitting Austin Meadows to commence the home frame. Wendle poked a liner deep into left, where Pederson made a great running catch. May worked a harmless fly-out of Adames to complete a perfect frame. Ryan Sherriff entered for the eighth, and he won an eight-pitch battle against Muncy that ended in a ground-out. Sherriff did the same, but quicker, with Smith, and he got Bellinger to line-out. May remained on the mound for the Rays’ half, and Kiermaier led-it-off with an opposite field single. Yoshi Tsutsugo, fresh off the bench, flew-out to left, and Ji-Man Choi was called to pinch-hit. With it, Roberts countered with Victor González, and Tampa Bay countered again with Mike Brosseau. Brosseau walked, possibly backfiring Roberts’ plan with Arozarena coming up with two-on and one-out. Arozarena swung at the first pitch and lofted a lazy fly-ball into center, where Bellinger made the catch. Up came Lowe, and he watched strike one from González. Lowe got the next one in on the hands and blooped one towards Bellinger, who made a running grab. González, fired up and not afraid to show it, masterfully escaped the threat with the lead intact. Ryan Thompson got Taylor to break his bat on a grounder for the first out of the ninth, and Adames made a good play to take away a hit from the recently entered Kiké Hernàndez. Barnes earned a walk with two-away, but Thompson struck-out Betts to work around it. With LA’s closer role undetermined, Blake Treinen entered to pitch the bottom of the ninth with the heart of the Rays order due. Margot led things off with a base hit up the middle, but Treinen answered with a strike-out of Meadows. Wendle flew-out to center, bringing up Adames with two-down. Adames fouled off the first pitch, fanned on the next, then had an impressive take on a sinker just low. Treinen dotted a 98mph sinker to strike-out Adames swinging, earn his first career postseason save, and more importantly, end the ballgame.
The boys in blue grabbed the lead early and never gave it away in Game Five of the Fall Classic. Thanks to clutch pitches and good decision making, the Dodgers prevailed. They are now one win away from reaching the ultimate goal. The job isn’t finished however, and Tuesday’s game will be the team’s most important possibly of all-time. With an off-day tomorrow to rest up, it’ll be (almost) all hands on deck in a likely bullpen game. While it is yet to be announced, Tony Gonsolin should be LA’s starter. Unlike Game Two, Gonsolin will likely look to go longer than an inning plus. He will be accompanied by many arms behind him, whenever and however necessary. For the Rays, Blake Snell will get the ball. The 2018 Cy Young Award winner shut down the Dodgers through four, but lost it after in Game Two. Many of his outs came via the strike-out. The Dodgers look to get the job done Tuesday. 5:08 first pitch. Go Dodgers!
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