Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it’s been a while since the Los Angeles Dodgers have been to the World Series. That 29 year stretch isn’t quite in Jerome Bettis is from Detroit and Brady Quinn’s sister is married to A.J. Hawk territory, but it’s in the neighborhood.
So when the wait was finally over and the Dodgers had the chance to play in a World Series game for the first time in nearly three decades, they broke out a number of pieces of their history. Vin Scully was in the building. Sandy Koufax was in the clubhouse, chatting with Justin Turner after the game, and the incredible Rachel Robinson and her family handled the first pitch on the 45th anniversary of the passing of Jackie Robinson.
And then they followed up those pieces of history with the latest piece of history, Clayton Kershaw, working a 9-pitch 1-2-3 first inning. So much for the idea of the heat affecting him. Or the moment. Because neither the triple-digit temps nor the pressure of three decades bothered him at all. And if Kershaw going 9 pitches in the top of the first was good, what Chris Taylor did to the first pitch in the bottom of the first was even better.
Chris Taylor went yard on the very first pitch he saw in the World Series. Because of course he did. That’s who this guy is. And at that moment, it seemed like this Series could be over quickly. Any normal person who had just done what Dallas Keuchel had done by getting rocked with a 700-foot bomb on the first pitch of the World Series would’ve been a little unsettled. And probably melted down. But Dallas Keuchel isn’t normal. He set down the next three batters to end the inning. That was huge. I’m not going to say that if he’d given up any more runs in that first inning the series would’ve been over, but getting rocked in the first inning of Game 1 is no way to start a World Series. And Keuchel didn’t do that.
Not only did he not do that, but three innings later, in the top of the fourth, Alex Bregman did this:
From a disastrous start to a tie game. Those are the Astros for you. They aren’t going to roll over. They didn’t come this far to lay down They’re going to keep grinding, keep on keeping on. Unfortunately for them, they ran into another grinder. Justin Matthew Turner, with one on and two out in the top of the sixth:
And Justin Turner does it again. Because that’s what he does. So sharp. So clutch. And yeah, he’d tell you he didn’t get all of that and that he got some help from the weather: “If it’s 10 degrees cooler, that’s probably a routine fly ball to left.” Maybe. But it wasn’t ten degrees cooler, so that wasn’t a routine fly ball to left. Instead it was yet another clutch home run from the guy who can’t stop hitting clutch home runs.
And after seven innings, Dave Roberts turned the game over to the Dodger bullpen and that was it. Brandon Morrow, Kenley Jansen, thanks for coming. Game 1 to the Dodgers.
LA couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, but don’t think for a second that Houston is overwhelmed or panicking. They faced the worst possible scenario to start the game, they weathered that storm, and now they have Justin Verlander going tonight. Not bad. Not bad at all.