The Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from ending their 32-year World Series drought.
Clayton Kershaw put the National League champion in that position by containing the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup for the second time in the 2020 World Series.
Los Angeles had the option of using Walker Buehler to close out the series in Tuesday's Game 6, but it is saving him for a potential Game 7. Tony Gonsolin will make his second Fall Classic start opposite Blake Snell Tuesday.
The Rays have to hope Snell turns in another strong performance on the mound to make up for Tyler Glasnow's average showing in Game 5.
Glasnow has been the least impressive starter that Tampa Bay used so far, but it has the potential to rally back with Snell and Charlie Morton lined up for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Since they are down a game and the Dodgers offense has not been contained for an entire game, the Rays will come into Tuesday as the money-line underdog.
World Series Odds
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Game 6: Tampa Bay (+130); Los Angeles Dodgers (-155) (Over/Under: 8)
Any discussion about World Series stats has to begin with Kershaw, who struck out 14 and conceded three earned runs in 11.2 innings of work.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Kershaw has multiple wins in a playoff series for the first time in his career, and he set the playoff strikeout record with 207:
The 32-year-old southpaw joined an elite group with his Game 5 start. He became the ninth pitcher to have four or more starts with six strikeouts, three earned runs or fewer and two or fewer walks in a single postseason, per Baseball Reference:
Kershaw limited the damage done by Tampa Bay in Game 5 by allowing two earned runs and striking out six batters in 5.2 innings.
The Dodgers lefty was much more successful than Glasnow, who let up a pair of home runs and four earned runs in his five-inning outing.
Glasnow allowed a record nine home runs this postseason, which is the same number of long balls hit by his teammate Randy Arozarena, as MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince pointed out:
Joc Pederson and Max Muncy sent balls into the stands off Glasnow to give the Dodgers an eight-game streak with two or more home runs, which is a record, per The Athletic's Jayson Stark:
Muncy is part of a quartet at the top of the Los Angeles order that torched most of Tampa Bay's pitching staff.
Muncy, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Mookie Betts combined for 28 hits, 18 runs, 14 RBI, 13 walks, six doubles and six home runs.
If the World Series Most Valuable Player is a hitter, it could be hard to find significant differences between those four players.
Seager could hold the edge over Betts, Turner and Muncy since he has eight hits, seven runs, four RBI and a pair of home runs. The shortstop leads the Dodgers in hits and is tied with Turner for the top spot in runs and long balls.
Tampa Bay has three batters with six hits, but none of them lit up every stat category as much as the Dodgers' top four hitters.
Randy Arozarena, Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier have 18 of the team's 37 hits. Arozarena and Kiermaier have two home runs and three RBI, while Margot has a single extra-base hit.
If the Rays do not outslug the Dodgers in Game 6, they must rely on Snell to turn in a solid outing. In Game 2, he struck out nine batters and allowed two earned runs over 4.2 innings.
Tampa Bay got a first-inning run off Tony Gonsolin in Game 2 through a Brandon Lowe home run, and it scored five of its six runs in the first half of the contest.
If the Rays replicate that performance in Game 6, they could stay alive for one more day and set up a second showdown between Buehler and Morton in Game 7.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference
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