Kershaw And a Failed Steal of Home Gave the Dodgers a Crucial Win

Sunday, October 25, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

After a heart-drenching loss Saturday, the Dodgers needed a bounce-back win. Although Clayton Kershaw did not dominate the Tampa Bay Rays as he did in Game 1, he used his veteran-knowledge to limit the opponent to two runs during his 5.2 innings. The Dodgers beat the Rays 4-to-2. To end a 32-year world championship drought, the Dodgers needed one more win.

The Dodgers should have won Game 4, but Kenley Jansen proved he should not be a closer anymore. Although he had a great month of August, in September, Jansen developed mechanical problems that caused his cutter with diminished velocity did not have any movement. He became ineffective. Trying to go through a postseason without a defined closer is almost impossible. During the 2020 postseason, Jansen had glimpses of old himself.

Yes, Chris Taylor made an error in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, but Jansen’s ineffectiveness caused the Dodgers to lose Saturday. Although many Dodger fans thought the Dodgers had lost the World Series, they do not know this team. Many Dodgers were members of the 2017 Dodgers, which were cheated out of an elusive world championship by the Houston Astros, and they desperately want a world championship.

Many casual baseball fans think a 60-game regular season diminishes the meaning of a world championship. They do not understand how difficult the 2020 season was. The players could not come early to the ballpark. They could not socialize with their family and friends. Over a month, the Dodgers have lived in a hotel bubble, sleeping on hotel beds and eating restaurant foods. With the usual pressure of the World Series, the Dodgers must deal with the
restrictions caused by Coronavirus. Neither the Dodgers nor the Rays complained. Neither team has played at their home stadium since October 2.

The Dodgers understood they needed an early lead. Like he has done all year, Mookie Betts ignited a crucial rally with a double. Promptly, Corey Seager, who has had a postseason for the ages, singled in Betts. Seager took second on a wild pitch and scored on Cody Bellinger’s single.

Clayton Kershaw’s postseason struggles have been well dominated. Since the 2020 season was abbreviated, Kershaw feels better this postseason than any other postseason. Sunday, for the first time during his 12-year career, Kershaw has had two wins during a postseason series. No, Kershaw did not have his best stuff Sunday, but he had enough to limit the light-hitting Rays.

Manny Margot’s decision to attempt to steal home in the fourth inning backfired and shifted the momentum to the Dodger way. Margot is no Jackie Robinson, who was a master at stealing home. Since a few players had attempted to steal home against Kershaw during his career, Kershaw did not panic. On a close play at the plate, Margot was out.
Both Joc Pederson and Max Muncy homered.

Many Dodger fans thought manager Dave Roberts made a mistake when he lifted Kershaw with two outs in the sixth inning and brought in Dustin May. The rookie right-hander had a difficult postseason since he had a mechanical problem. For five outs, May was magnificent. Roberts brought in another left-handed rookie Victor González, who also had a difficult postseason, but González was marvelous. Pitching in his third consecutive game, Blake Treinen was almost perfect as he saved the game.

Although Tuesday the Dodgers will have a bullpen game that will be started by Tony Gonsolin, who has had a disastrous postseason, they need to win one out of two games to have a world championship.

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