Dodgers Dugout: That seemed a little too easy

Fans sit on the back seat of their car to watch Game 1 of the World Series during a drive-in viewing at Dodger Stadium.
Dodger fans sit on the back seat of their convertible to watch Game 1 of the World Series with Clayton Kershaw pitching during a drive-in viewing at Dodger Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and three more games like that and the drought is over.

Some random thoughts on Game 1:

—My lucky shirt, put on when the Dodgers were down 3-1 to the Braves, remains undefeated. I’m expecting a full World Series share and ring.

—After criticizing him after his last start, you have the doff your sweaty, salt-stained cap to Clayton Kershaw after Game 1. That was an ace performance.

—I have absolutely no problem with Dave Roberts taking him out after six innings. If the bullpen can’t hold an 8-1 lead, you don’t deserve to win.

—Of course, after Dylan Floro started giving up hits and runs, I started having second thoughts.

—Who would have guessed that Pedro Baez would be the stabilizing force in the bullpen?

—How do you know this is the Dodgers’ year? In previous playoffs, that line drive would have gone through for a hit. Instead Victor Gonzalez makes an instinctive stab for it, catches it, and ends the Rays’ only real threat of the game.


—Before the game started though, why in the world would Fox have Tom Brady narrate a World Series video? With all the baseball legends out there, they turn to an NFL guy? What about Hank Aaron? Willie Mays? Vin Scully? Greg Maddux? Cal Ripken Jr.? Mike Schmidt? Reggie Jackson? Sandy Koufax? And the list goes on.

—I mean, Scully was available to appear on the video board in right field before the game to say “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” so I assume he could have been convinced to narrate the Fox video.

—In 10 years, when his skills have declined a bit and fans start complaining about how overpaid Mookie Betts is, remind them of this postseason.

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—Betts has bought a dimension, speed, that has been missing from the Dodgers for a while.

—Betts is the second player in World Series history with a walk and multiple stolen bases in an inning, joining Babe Ruth in 1921.

—What about that fifth inning? Betts walked, stole second, stole third and scored on a grounder to first with the infield in. That doesn’t happen in previous years and it directly led to a big inning for the Dodgers.

—If they ever reboot “Sliders”, it can start Kershaw and Betts.

—But the important thing is that Betts got us all free tacos from Taco Bell with his first stolen base. Which means there are going to be a lot of half-eaten tacos around the U.S. next week.

—I think Cody Bellinger needs to make the toe tap his permanent home run celebration.

Corey Seager may be cooling off, but if Betts and Bellinger and Max Muncy are heating up, that’s OK. Muncy has four doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs this postseason.

Will Smith is only 11 for 50 (.220) this postseason, but it seems every time they need him to get a hit, he does. He has eight RBIs.

—I really like having Austin Barnes behind the plate and Smith at DH.

—But back to Kershaw. He threw 78 pitches, gave up two hits, one run, one walk and struck out eight.

How Clayton Kershaw has fared as a starter in Game 1 of playoff series:

2009 NLCS vs. Philadelphia, 4.2 IP, 4 hits, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 89 pitches, 9.66 ERA, L

2013 NLDS vs. Atlanta, 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 Ks, 124 pitches, 1.29 ERA, W

2014 NLDS vs. St. Louis, 6.2 IP, 8 hits, 8 ER, 0 BB, 10 Ks, 110 pitches, 10.81 ERA, L

2015 NLDS vs. NY Mets, 6.2 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 4 BB, 11 Ks, 113 pitches, 4.05 ERA, L

2016 NLDS vs. Washington, 5 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 101 pitches, 5.40 ERA, W

2017 NLDS vs. Arizona, 6.1 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 100 pitches, 5.69 ERA, W

2017 NLCS vs. Chicago, 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 87 pitches, 3.60 ERA, ND*

2017 World Series vs. Houston, 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 Ks, 83 pitches, 1.29 ERA, W

2018 NLCS vs. Milwaukee, 3 IP, 6 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 73 pitches, 12.00 ERA, L

2018 World Series vs. Boston, 4 IP, 7 hits, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 79 pitches, 11.25 ERA, L

2020 World Series vs. Tampa Bay, 6 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 78 pitches, 1.50 ERA, W

Total, 61.1 IP, 54 hits, 37 ER, 23 BB, 80 Ks, 5.43 ERA, 5-5, one no decision

*-Dodgers won game

—There were a lot of Dodger fans on social media during and after the game saying that the Rays are outmatched and the Dodgers could sweep. The Rays didn’t finish with the best record in the AL and get to the World Series by accident.


—That being said, they do have a couple of holes in their lineup that the Dodgers can take advantage of.

—Meanwhile, the Dodger hitters did what they do best: Work the count. Tyler Glasnow threw 112 pitches in 4.1 innings. Rays pitchers threw 174 pitches in eight innings, Dodgers pitchers 128 pitches in nine innings.

—But, as we all learned in the NLCS, one game doesn’t mean anything once the next game begins.

Tony Gonsolin will start Game 2. Dustin May and Julio Urías will be available, so Gonsolin probably won’t pitch six innings like Kershaw. For the Rays, 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell takes the mound. He’s left-handed and has faced the Dodgers only once, in 2019, when he pitched two perfect innings, striking out four.

—I have picked on Joe Buck in almost every newsletter this postseason. However, I thought he gave a very classy, subtle tribute to his father after pointing out Ozzie Smith was the only other shortstop to be named NLCS MVP. So he gets a pass today.

—Game 2 is today at 5 p.m. PT. This game will tell us a lot about how this series will go. Don’t expect the Rays to roll over and play dead.

Dodgers-Rays schedule

All times Pacific


Dodgers are home team for Game 1, 2, 6 and 7

All games at Arlington, Texas

Game 1: Dodgers 8, Tampa Bay 3

Game 2: Today, Tampa Bay (Blake Snell**) vs. Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin), 5 p.m., Fox

Game 3: Friday, Dodgers (Walker Buehler) vs. Tampa Bay (Charlie Morton), 5 p.m., Fox

Game 4: Saturday, Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., Fox

Game 5*: Sunday, Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., Fox

Game 6*: Tuesday, Tampa Bay vs. Dodgers, 5 p.m., Fox

Game 7*: Wed., Oct. 28, Tampa Bay vs. Dodgers, 5 p.m., Fox

*-if necessary


In case you missed it

Bill Plaschke: Dodgers’ Game 1 dominance over Rays shows why they’ll win World Series

Dylan Hernández: Clayton Kershaw flashes World Series form he showed before Astros cheated him

When it comes to big plays, Mookie Betts is selective in what he savors

Photos: Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of World Series


Dodgers’ use of Julio Urías goes from abundance of caution to workhorse

Dodgers co-owner: Team revenues, fan experience will be ‘back to normal by 2022’

And finally

1988 World Series Game 2: Dodgers score five runs in the second inning. Watch it here.

Until next time...

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