Looking to redeem themselves from a heartbreaking loss that came on the back of two errors, the Los Angeles Dodgers responded with a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series.
The club provided early run support for Clayton Kershaw, who once again rose to the occasion in the face of adversity. In 5.2 innings, he allowed just two runs on five hits and had six strikeouts.
That was despite allowing the leadoff man to reach safely in each of the first four innings. But outside of allowing two runs in the third inning, Kershaw put up zeroes on the scoreboard — albeit aided at one point by Manuel Margot’s bold attempt to steal home.
After retiring the first two batters faced in the sixth inning, Kershaw was removed by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. The decision was met with criticism, as Roberts received loud boos from fans in attendance at Globe Life Field.
Roberts defended his decision to pull Kershaw, citing the mutual trust between one another. “I just think it’s our relationship. This has been five years, so we’ve been through a lot together,” Roberts said.
“I trust him, I know he trusts me. We just have good conversations and honest about how he’s feeling. Right there, I thought he pitched a heckuva game. To go out there and get two more hitters, we felt that would be good enough.
“Once he did that, I thought it was time to take the baseball.”
Roberts revealed that the plan all along was for Kershaw to face only two batters in the sixth. “We felt he was at the end and he just had enough to get two hitters. We talked about it and he held up his part of the deal and got the two hitters,” Roberts explained.
“We didn’t say how many pitches — we said two hitters. That was what we agreed upon and at that point in time I felt that I wanted to take the baseball from him.
“He just grinded. He willed himself to that point. It wasn’t his best stuff but he found a way to get outs. I give him all the credit.”
Roberts noted that Kershaw was understanding of his decision to remove him after throwing just 85 pitches. “He was very supportive and he understood,” Roberts said.
“He just wants to win. I think that I’ve built up enough trust equity that we can have a conversation on what’s best for the Dodgers.”
Kershaw supported decision
Although Kershaw and his teammates — notably Justin Turner — appeared to lobby for a change in the plan, the left-hander voiced is support of the mutual decision that had been agreed to.
“We talked about it before the inning and even though it was just two pitches, which may seem super fast and two outs with nobody on, we stuck with the plan. Credit to Doc for that one,” Kershaw said.
“D. May came in and threw the ball awesome, Victor the same way, and Blake too. Unbelievable job by those guys tonight, which was huge.”
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