Clayton Kershaw, Max Muncy Power Dodgers to 3-2 World Series Lead vs. Rays

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays' Manuel Margot is tagged out at home by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes trying to steal during the fourth inning in Game 5 of the baseball World Series Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Dodgers are back in control of the 2020 World Series.

The Dodgers rebounded from a stunning Game 4 loss with a 4-2 victory in Sunday's Game 5 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. They now lead 3-2 and are a win away from their first championship since 1988 thanks largely to impressive performances from Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy.

As for the Rays, a solid showing from their bullpen was not enough to prevent the loss as the teams continued to trade victories in the series. The American League representative needs to take two in a row to capture its first title.

          

Notable Player Stats

  • Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD: 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 K, 5 H, 2 BB
  • Max Muncy, 1B, LAD: 2-for-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • Joc Pederson, LF, LAD: 1-for-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • Tyler Glasnow, SP, TB: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 K, 6 H, 3 BB
  • Yandy Diaz, 1B, TB: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • Randy Arozarena, DH, TB: 1-for-4, 1 RBI
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Kershaw, Bullpen Lead Dodgers to Victory

Sometimes even all-time greats need a gift.

That is exactly what the Rays provided Kershaw in the fourth inning of Sunday's contest. After falling behind 3-0, they chipped away with an RBI triple from Yandy Diaz and RBI single from Randy Arozarena, who continued his incredible postseason with a record 27th hit, in the third inning.

They appeared primed to take the lead with runners on the corners and nobody out in the next frame before Joey Wendle popped out and Willy Adames struck out. As if that weren't enough of a blown opportunity, Manuel Margot ended the inning when he was tagged out attempting to steal home.

It was a massive moment, especially since Kershaw was surely feeling the pressure with his playoff performances serving as a defining storyline for all of Major League Baseball for the last decade.

After all, the southpaw is a three-time Cy Young winner, five-time ERA champion and eight-time All-Star with a sparkling career ERA of 2.43. However, the future Hall of Famer entered Sunday's game with a 4.66 career playoff ERA with a number of high-profile failures on his resume.

He was anything but a failure when he allowed a single earned run in six innings in a Game 1 win, and he was solid again in Game 5 outside of the blip that could have been much worse were it not for his efforts escaping the fourth.

Dodgers fans were not pleased with manager Dave Roberts' decision to remove Kershaw after 5.2 innings, but Dustin May, who gave up three runs in 1.1 innings his last time out, rewarded him with 1.2 shutout frames.

It was Victor Gonzalez who recorded the biggest outs of the game, though, retiring Arozarena and Brandon Lowe with two runners on in the eighth to preserve the lead and game before Blake Treinen closed it out in the ninth.

             

Dodgers' Power Tops Glasnow's

Tyler Glasnow had the unfortunate task of matching up against Kershaw for the second straight World Series contest, and the Rays needed him to be better than last time before their formidable bullpen took over.

The hard-throwing right-hander allowed six earned runs with six walks in 4.1 innings during Tampa Bay's Game 1 loss and looked lost again when it took the Dodgers all of two batters to get to him Sunday.

Mookie Betts led off with a double and scored on Corey Seager's RBI single. Seager then scored on an RBI single from Cody Bellinger, and Glasnow once again ran up his pitch count with multiple jams and walks.

Yet it was Los Angeles' power that was his ultimate undoing.

Joc Pederson drilled a rising fastball for a solo homer the opposite way to start the second inning, and Max Muncy turned on another fastball for a solo blast in the fifth to give the visitors the momentum back after their 3-0 lead was trimmed to one.

Tampa Bay's bullpen was its typical self with shutout outings from Aaron Loup, Diego Castillo, Ryan Sherriff and Ryan Thompson, but the damage was done against Glasnow. The Rays bullpen can only do so much, and Glasnow's efforts were not enough to seize control of the Fall Classic.

     

What's Next?

Game 6 is Tuesday at 8:08 p.m. ET.