Just two days removed from completing an epic National League Championship Series comeback against the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers return to the field and play host to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series at Globe Life Field.
The best-of-seven matchup will be a battle between the top two teams record-wise in all of baseball. The Dodgers and Rays secured the No. 1 seed in their respective leagues, and were the only clubs to reach the 40-win threshold during the regular season.
As was the case in each of the Dodgers’ last two World Series openers, Clayton Kershaw gets the start in Game 1. “I think every year is different. Obviously the postseason, you have that experience to draw on. Just trying to learn from that as best you can,” he said.
“But at the same time, every year is different, every team is different. The Rays are a different team from the Astros and Red Sox. I’m going to prepare like I always do and be as ready as I can be.”
Tuesday’s outing marks Kershaw’s third career appearance against the Rays. “They’ve got a great team. Their pitching staff is what gets talked about a lot but they’ve got a lot of guys on the offensive side that can make you pay if you make mistakes,” he said.
“(Randy) Arozarena, the way he’s going right now, swinging the bat really well, try to limit him as much as you can. They try to play the platoon advantage, so they’ve got a lot of guys moving in and out. They’ve got a great team.”
With the short turnaround between series, the Dodgers are leaning on Kershaw to provide length in Game 1. “I think once we get in we’ll know more,” manager Dave Roberts said of how he will manage his pitchers throughout the series.
“With the off day today, going into Game 1, we’ve been taxed as far as usage in the ‘pen. For Clayton to take a start and go deep would certainly help the usage get re-aligned.”
Kershaw is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in three starts this postseason. Having dealt with back spasms during the NLCS, the left-hander is confident the issue is behind him. “I’m doing good,” he said.
The Rays counter with Tyler Glasnow, who looks to bounce back from a rocky outing against the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. In six innings of work, he allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.
In four overall appearances this postseason (three starts), Glasnow owns a 2-1 record, 4.66 ERA and 1.29 WHIP with 25 strikeouts against eight walks over 19.1 innings pitched.
With Kershaw on the mound, Austin Barnes catches and Will Smith is the designated hitter in the Dodgers lineup.
RF: Mookie Betts
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Max Muncy
DH: Will Smith
CF: Cody Bellinger
2B: Chris Taylor
LF: Joc Pederson
C: Austin Barnes
1B: Yandy Díaz
2B: Brandon Lowe
DH: Randy Arozarena
RF: Hunter Renfroe
LF: Manuel Margot
3B: Joey Wendle
SS: Willy Adames
CF: Kevin Kiermaier
C: Mike Zunino
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