ARLINGTON, TX – After the ninth inning meltdown in Game 4 of the World Series, when they were one strike away from a commanding 3-1 lead, the Los Angeles Dodgers showed tremendous resolve and grit, winning critical Game 5, 4-2 on Sunday, October 25th at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Dodgers now hold a 3-2 series lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boys in Blue are a single victory from winning their first World Series title since 1988.
Dodger fans were sickened by another bullpen collapse on Saturday night. Convinced another World Series opportunity would be squandered. Fortunately, the experience mixed with the seething anger motivated the Dodgers. Jumping out early to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning courtesy of a Mookie Betts double followed by consecutive hits by Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger off Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow.
When the World Series is tied 2-2, the winner of game 5 has ended up the World Series champ 65% of the time. An opposite field blast by Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers an early 3-0 lead. The Rays would quickly answer.
In perhaps his most important start in his illustrious career, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw battled through 5 and 2/3rds innings. In the third inning, Kershaw gave up a triple to Yandy Diaz, followed by an RBI single to Randy Arozarena, trimming the lead to 3-2.
The most important play of the game, perhaps the WS itself unfolded in the fifth inning. The Wiley Kershaw battled with the entire season hanging in the balance.
Tampa’s Manuel Margot attempted the most thrilling play in MLB: stealing home. Timing Kershaw’s long stretch, Margot darted home with reckless abandon, Kershaw athletically stepped off the rubber, avoiding a balk, made a perfect throw to catcher Austin Barnes. Barnes tagged a sliding Margot; just a millisecond prior to him touching home base. This ended the threat and inning in the process.
It was an admirable risk, since no one has tried to steal home in the World Series since 1991. Margot got a great jump, nearly stealing home and regaining momentum. Further proof the Dodgers confidence and playoff experience paid off.
Kershaw has changed his reputation, from a future Hall of Famer who struggled in the playoffs to the all time post season strike out leader. Last night, he improved to 4-1 this postseason, setting a MLB postseason record with his 207th strikeout.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts has drawn wide criticism and second guessing by angry fans and baseball pundits alike for his questionable decisions in the past. Well, let’s give credit where credit is due. He was booed for yanking Kershaw in the sixth, electing to put in Dustin May.
Turns out Dave was right. May was brilliant in his short relief. Relievers Victor Gonzalez and Blake Trienen pitched the ninth, sealing the victory. Our bullpen stepped up and redeemed themselves.
Game six is Tuesday night, with a chance for the Dodgers to win their first World Series in thirty two years. Game 6 will air on FOX 11, first pitch is slated for 5:09 pm.