It does not seem to be bothering one Clayton Kershaw.
Bottom 2nd: Kershaw cruises through Astros’ order.
Another 1-2-3 inning for Clayton Kersaw. The Dodgers’ ace induced a grounder to first from Carlos Correa, got Yulieski Gurriel to pop out to first, and then finished things off by getting Josh Reddick to fly out to center. He has thrown 24 pitches to Dallas Keuchel’s 45.
Top 2nd: Keuchel finds the strike zone again.
The real Dallas Keuchel showed up for the second inning, as he needed just 13 pitches to deal with the bottom of the Dodgers’ order. Keuchel ran the count full against Austin Barnes but eventually got the catcher to fly out to right. Charlie Culberson grounded out to short, and Chris Taylor grounded out to third to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Kershaw takes over with a 3-0 lead.
Clayton Kershaw answered Dallas Keuchel’s hectic first inning with an incredibly quiet one on his end. He needed just two pitches to retire George Springer on a grounder to third. Alex Bregman popped out to center and then Jose Altuve struck out on a slider that went through the heart of the strike zone to end the inning.
As reported on the broadcast, Kershaw’s career record in games in which he is spotted a three-run lead is 124-19.
Waldstein: The Astros have some work to do offensively after an uncharacteristically sloppy top of the first. Two walks and two hits given up by Keuchel, a muffed ball by left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and a terrible throw to second base by Yuli Gurriel combined to hand the Dodgers three runs. Is this really the Astros? This team can catch it and throw it, as old-timey baseball folks like to say, and Keuchel’s lack of command was puzzling, too. Tall order to have to score three runs against Kershaw, but the sliver lining of falling behind early is that they have nine innings to work with … make that eight. Astros go down in order in the first.
Credit Tyler Smith/European Pressphoto Agency
Top 1st: Dodgers get to Keuchel early … again.
Dallas Keuchel spotted Clayton Kershaw three runs in a matchup of aces.
Houston’s top starter gave up a leadoff single to Chris Taylor and then with one out, he issued back-to-back walks to Justin Turner and Kike Hernandez. He struck out Cody Bellinger, but Logan Forsythe laced a two-out single to left that brought in two runs.
An inning where the control artist Keuchel could not find the strike zone got even weirder when Forsythe left too soon on a stolen base attempt and Keuchel threw to first to try to pick him off. Forsythe was caught between bases and Yulieski Gurriel threw wildly to Jose Altuve at second. As Altuve struggled to get the ball and then get back to the bag to tag Forsythe, Hernandez raced in from third to score, increasing Houston’s lead to 3-0. The call was challenged by Houston but was upheld.
Keuchel got out of the inning when Yasiel Puig hit a dribbler in front of the plate and was thrown out at first by Brian McCann, but at that point he had already spotted baseball’s best pitcher a three-run lead and had thrown 32 pitches.
George W. Bush always looks comfortable on the mound.
George W. Bush threw out the first pitch with his father, George H.W. Bush, watching from the home plate circle. I can’t see that without thinking of when the younger Bush, then president, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, a four seamer for a strike at a time when many in New York were still feeling a little jittery.
One more time, Houston.
It’s the last game of the season at Minute Maid Park and the fans are especially pumped up, knowing this is their final chance to root their team to victory. After this, the Astros will be in hostile territory out in Los Angeles.
It’s quite a pitching matchup with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers going against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel in a Cy Young rematch of Game 1. For some, it’s a must win for Houston, but the Astros come back with Justin Verlander in Game 6 Tuesday, and if they win that, anything can happen in a Game 7. — David Waldstein
Here are the top story lines for Game 5:
■ In a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel will be facing off in a rematch of Game 1. Kershaw easily outpitched his Houston counterpart in that game, and the Dodgers went on to win 3-1 thanks to a pair of home runs.
■ Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 in Game 4 and is now just 3 for 19 in the series. The M.V.P. candidate has not played like one so far, with the exception of one home run, and Houston will need him to start performing better if they want to win.
■ Cody Bellinger had been one of the Dodgers’ worst hitters in the Series prior to Game 4, but he was a big contributor in that game, going 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and an R.B.I. He and Joc Pederson provided most of the offense, as Justin Turner was hitless and is now just 2 for 16 in the Series.
■ Players and coaches from both teams have complained about the World Series baseballs being slicker than the regular ball, perhaps leading to the high number of home runs being hit.
“I think the main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls,” said Justin Verlander of the Astros. “They’re a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don’t think it’s the case of one pitcher saying, ‘Hey, something is different here.’ I think as a whole everybody is saying, ‘Whoa, something is a little off here.’”
■ With the best-of-seven series tied at 2-2, there will be at least six games, meaning the teams will return to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Tuesday.
■ In Game 4, the Astros turned to their struggling closer, Ken Giles, in the ninth inning of a tie game, and he once again failed to deliver. He allowed a single, a walk and an R.B.I. double before being removed with no outs in the inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs and the loss, making his postseason E.R.A. 11.74 in seven appearances.
Manager A.J. Hinch wouldn’t commit to giving the ball to Giles in a save situation in Game 5.
“I’m not sure who it will go to, but it most likely won’t go to Ken tonight,” Hinch told reporters on Sunday.
1. Springer CF
2. Bregman 3B
3. Altuve 2B
4. Correa SS
5. Gurriel 1B
6. Reddick RF
7. Gattis DH
8. Gonzalez LF
9. McCann C
1. Taylor CF
2. Seager SS
3. Turner DH
4. Hernández LF
5. Bellinger 1B
6. Forsythe 3B
7. Puig RF
8. Barnes C
9. Culberson 2B
■ Despite having clearly made a racist gesture in reference to Yu Darvish of the Dodgers during Game 3, Yulieski Gurriel will be in the starting lineup for Houston in Game 5. Commissioner Rob Manfred decided not to get into what could have been a messy fight with the players’ union and handed down a five-game suspension without pay that will not go into effect until the start of the 2018 season. Gurriel will also undergo sensitivity training.
■ Houston had been 7-0 at home during the postseason before losing Game 4, but Minute Maid Park lost its magic, with the Astros’ offense managing just two hits and two runs.
■ The Los Angeles bullpen has continued to work hard. The trio of Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen has combined for 28 postseason appearances, and Morrow has been used in all four World Series games.
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