After Monday’s off day, the Los Angeles Dodgers return to the field needing one more win against the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch their first World Series title since 1988.
Getting the start in Game 6 is Tony Gonsolin, who is comforted by the fact he will be pitching on five days’ rest. “They told me after the Game 2 opener-thing that I was going to start Game 6, so I’ve known for a little bit and had a lot of time to prepare,” he said. “It feels like I’m back on a normal routine like I had all season.”
Gonsolin last took the mound in Game 2 of the World Series, when he served as an opener. Pitching on only two days’ rest, he allowed one run, one hit and a walk in 1.1 innings of work.
The right-hander is expected to provide more length this time around. “I think it provides a little more comfort for me,” Gonsolin said of Game 6 being a normal start. “I’m going to go out there and throw the ball as long as I can and as best as I can until Doc decides that I’m done.”
The Rays counter with Blake Snell, who opposed Gonsolin in Game 2. The left-hander wasn’t his usual dominant self as he issued four walks, but didn’t allow a hit through four and held the Dodgers to only two runs in 4.2 innings.
“Many challenges. He’s a heckuva pitcher,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of facing Snell. “It’s a plus-fastball, he really did a nice job that first game that he threw, striking the breaking ball. He gets left and right out. He’s a really good competitor with top-end stuff.
“We’re going to have our hands full, but I like our guy. I think it’s going to be a close game. The team that gets the big hit, makes the big play, is going to win.”
Snell has been virtually unhittable over the first three innings of his outings this season, posting a 0.56 ERA with an opponents’ batting average of .501.
Getting to him in the middle innings will be key for the Dodgers. In innings 4-6, Snell has compiled an 8.00 ERA while allowing nine of his 10 home runs on the year. He has yet to pitch past the sixth inning.
Outside of Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias, every Dodgers pitcher will be available in Game 6. “Obviously it’s not do or die, but the mindset is we’re going to do everything we can to win Game 6, knowing that we have Walker starting Game 7,” Roberts said.
“And Julio as well as far as pitching. I think outside of Walker, Julio and obviously Clayton, everyone else is in play.”
The Dodgers lineup includes a bevy of right-handed batters and notably Austin Barnes catching. That moves Will Smith to designated hitter, and AJ Pollock is in left field. Despite his ongoing struggles, Chris Taylor is at second base over Kiké Hernandez.
RF: Mookie Betts
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Max Muncy
DH: Will Smith
CF: Cody Bellinger
2B: Chris Taylor
LF: AJ Pollock
C: Austin Barnes
1B: Ji-Man Choi
LF: Randy Arozarena
DH: Austin Meadows
2B: Brandon Lowe
RF: Manuel Margot
3B: Joey Wendle
SS: Willy Adames
CF: Kevin Kiermaier
C: Mike Zunino
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