The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish to strengthen their rotation for the postseason, but it can be reasoned his two starts in the World Series played a significant role in the Houston Astros claiming their first championship in franchise history.
For a second time in the Fall Classic, Darvish only managed to record five outs. That the second such performance came in Game 7 put the Dodgers in a hole they never recovered from. After George Springer opened the game with a double, he scored on Cody Bellinger’s throwing error to Darvish at first base.
Jose Altuve’s RBI groundout tacked on another run before Darvish could get through the first. He faced immediate trouble in the second inning, walking Brian McCann and allowing a double to Marwin Gonzalez.
Lance McCullers Jr. helped his cause with a soft RBI groundout, then Springer connected on a two-run homer. He became the first player with a home run in four straight World Series games, and the first with an extra-base hit in six consecutive games of a Fall Classic.
While Darvish was again hit hard, the Dodgers squandered multiple opportunities. They had the leadoff man reach in each of the first three innings, but went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded six during that stretch.
That included loading the bases in the first inning on a Chris Taylor leadoff double, and McCullers hitting Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig with a pitch. Joc Pederson made decent contact but grounded right to Altuve to end the inning.
McCullers hit pinch-hitter Kiké Hernandez with a pitch in the second inning, putting two on with one out. Any momentum came to a grinding halt as Taylor lined to shortstop for an inning-ending double play.
McCullers hit Turner for a second time in the third inning, setting a World Series record with four hit by pitches. Cody Bellinger went down swinging and fell to 0-for-5 with five strikeouts against McCullers in the series.
It was not until the bottom of the sixth inning that the Dodgers finally managed to scratch. With two on and one out, pinch-hitter Andre Ethier pulled an RBI single into right field, trimming the Astros’ lead to 5-1. Charlie Morton limited the damage by striking out Taylor and retiring Seager.
While it ultimately proved futile, Clayton Kershaw did his part to keep the Astros at bay. He struck out four and allowed just two hits over four scoreless innings. Kenley Jansen worked around walk in the seventh, and Alex Wood tossed perfect eighth and ninth innings.
Brad Peacock, Francisco Liriano, Chris Devenski, Morton and combined to hold the Dodgers to just the one run on three hits over 6.2 innings of work. Morton finished the game with four strong innings to earn the win.
The Dodgers were held to an abysmal 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.