Kershaw leads Dodgers to victory in game one: World Series began in Los Angeles, but heads to Houston this weekend

By Griffin Rissinger, Staff Writer

     The “Fall Classic” has arrived. After six long months of the regular season and multiple playoff rounds, two teams are currently battling it out for the most prestigious award in baseball; the World Series Trophy.

     This year’s World Series features the American League West-winning Houston Astros and the National League West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. This is the first World Series appearance for the Astros since 2005, when they lost to the Chicago White Sox. As for the Dodgers, it’s been 29 years (1988) since their last World Series appearance. Their drought has spanned six different United States presidents and nine manager changes.

     Game One, played on Tuesday night, set a record for the hottest temperature a World Series game has been played in (103 degrees Fahrenheit at game time). The only thing hotter than the weather was the pitching matchup: we saw two of the absolute best pitchers in baseball. For the Dodgers, it was Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA, 202 K), dueling against the Astros’ ace Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA, 125 K).

     The Dodgers started off with a bang in the first inning when Chris Taylor led off with a first-pitch solo shot. Kershaw, who has been historically mediocre in the playoffs, was dealing through the first three innings, striking out five and only allowing one hit. Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman changed this in the fourth. After taking the first two pitches, he tied the game up by hitting a solo shot of his own.

     It was smooth sailing for Keuchel after allowing the first inning blast to Taylor, but things changed in the sixth inning. He got two quick groundouts, but walked Taylor on five pitches, then allowed a two-run home run to Justin Turner. Turner had a remarkable .478 on-base percentage in the NLCS and ended one of those games with a walk-off three run shot. He seems to be picking up where he left off, continuing to play hero in the World Series. The Dodgers led 3-1 after six innings, and not much changed after that.

     The Astros ended up pulling Keuchel after six and two-thirds innings pitched. The Astros bullpen shut it down in relief of Keuchel. Kershaw, on the other hand, finished seven strong innings and allowing only three hits, one run, no walks, and 11 strikeouts. This was by far Kershaw’s best postseason outing of his entire career.

     After Kershaw’s exit, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts turned to veteran pitcher Brandon Marrow. Marrow pitched a clean eighth inning. Then in the ninth, Roberts put in one of the best closers in the game, Kenley Jansen. During the regular season, Jensen had 41 saves whilst pitching to a 1.32 ERA and tallying 109 strikeouts in just 68.1 innings. So far in the postseason he’s racked up three saves and has yet to allow an earned run.

     Jensen would have to face a tough part of the Astros lineup with George Springer, Bregman, and Jose Altuve due up. Jansen made quick work of Springer, striking him out on five pitches. He then got Bregman out on a full-count line out and then got Altuve to flyout on the first pitch of the at-bat. This gave the Dodgers the 3-1 win and the 1-0 advantage in the World Series. Clayton Kershaw earned his first World Series win. Keuchel suffered the loss.

     The series resumes Wednesday when veteran lefty Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA, 166  K’s) faces Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36 ERA, 219 Strikeouts), who has been insane this postseason. In the playoffs so far, Verlamnder has four total wins, and a 1.46 ERA. If the rest of the series plays out like Game One did, we should be in for a phenomenal World Series. The series will stay in LA, then on Friday the two teams travel to Houston for Game Three.

Kershaw has dominated MLB for years, making his first World Series appearance something to admire.