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Dodgers’ ‘gamesmanship’ before start of World Series strikes sour note with Astros

Josh Reddick
Astros right fielder Josh Reddick warms up before a workout at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Could be the Dodgers’ strategy worked.

The Houston Astros, statistically the best hitting team in Major League Baseball this season, managed only three hits in a 3-1 loss in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.

Was it Clayton Kershaw, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen’s prowess, or were they lulled into a slump?

When the Astros took the field for batting practice during Monday’s workout at Dodger Stadium, the sound system played cheesy soft rock from artists such as Toto, Ambrosia and the Little River Band.

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No harm, no foul on the selection, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said before the game. He was more offended that the Dodgers kept his team waiting beyond the scheduled starting time of the workout.

“The gamesmanship started with a 6:30 workout that started at 6:45 because they weren’t done with their live BP,” Hinch said. “To each their own. We’ll have a few things up our sleeve when they come to Houston.”

When the Astros took batting practice before Game 1, the Dodgers played a pleasant selection of organ music, including “Heat Wave” and “Summer Breeze.”

Speaking of the weather

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The temperature at Dodger Stadium at the time of the first pitch was 103 degrees.

That’s a World Series record. The previous record (94 degrees) was established in Arizona in 2001, for the opener between the Diamondbacks and New York Yankees.

For Game 1 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Indians at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, the temperature was 50 degrees.

He’s already been a hit

Hinch excitedly told reporters that Justin Verlander had knocked a home run during the team’s Monday batting-practice session.

Verlander was far less excited about hitting during his start in Game 2 on Wednesday.

At Dodger Stadium, the pitchers will hit. In Houston, there will be a designated hitter.

“Hitting, it’s fun during the regular season,” Verlander said. “You kind of get to break up the monotony a little bit. We have fun with it. But the World Series is a different animal. You can change the outcome of the game whether you get a bunt down or whether you can squeak out a hit.”

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Verlander said the Astros’ pitchers were at a “pretty severe disadvantage” compared to Dodgers pitchers who hit during most of their starts this year. He said he would take a simple approach when it was his turn.

“I’m not going to try to get a home run,” Verlander said. “I hope I’m 0-for-0 with four sac bunts. That’s the ideal plan. But I guess when you’re up there, if the situation calls for it, you try to do the best you can.”

Verlander had one single in six plate appearances this season. In 53 career plate appearances, he has four singles, no extra-base hits, and has never walked.

Times staff writer Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com; Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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pedro.moura@latimes.com; Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura

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