Scout’s Eye: A Cool Kershaw in Hot LA

With the temperature at game time at a “cool” 103 degrees, the 54,253 fans who shelled out mega bucks for a seat last night, got into game one of the World Series in a flash. They saw Dodger leadoff hitter Chris Taylor hit the first pitch he saw in his first ever at bat in a World Series game, an 88 MPH fastball from Dallas Keuchel, a 447’ shot that went deep into the pavilion in left that stunned the Astros. Giving the Hollywood nine a one run lead before anyone could get their first “Dodger Dog.” Must admit, they are very good and only $5.

Then before you can say “Houston we have a problem,” the number two pick in the MLB draft only two years ago, Alex Bregman, put a 94 MPH Clayton Kershaw fastball into the same left field seats to tie the score in the fourth inning. At that point you had the feeling we were going to see a real low scoring game as both pitchers began to settle in and dominate the hitters.

I guess 103 degrees makes the ball travel farther because after taking a called strike two that killed a family of worms living in front of home plate, Justin Turner put an 87 MPH cutter in the first row of the left field bleachers for a two run Dodger lead in the bottom of the sixth. Yes the same Turner who, in 4 years for the Mets, had 8 home runs and in 4 years with LA, now has 71 home runs. Yankee fan John Roach told me he thinks it must have been all those planes flying over Citi Field. Never noticed that. Those two runs may as well have been 20 with the way Kershaw was mowing down the space travelers from Texas. The three time Cy Young lefty had a line of 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, no walks and 11 strikeouts. Wow!

Now that pitchers are not allowed to pitch complete games anymore, will we ever see Bob Gibson’s 17 strikeouts in the 1968 series against the Tigers broken? The way plate umpire Phil Cuzzi was calling low strikes last night, Kershaw may have gotten close to that mark. Wonder if Cuzzi was feeling the pressure of that “YouTube” arrow behind home plate that looked like it was stuck in his side all night. 

Keuchel’s line is misleading. 6.2 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts and 2 home runs looks worse than it was. Two bad pitches did him in. He is not a strikeout pitcher and needs to keep the ball low. Those two pitches were, obviously, not down. 

Brandon Morrow came in the eighth inning and retired the bottom of the Astros’ order 1-2-3 and when Kenley Jansen took over in the ninth and it was “Good night Irene.” The Dodgers’ closer retired the first three hitters in Houston’s lineup to give the Dodgers a one game to none lead in the series.

With a game time of 2:28, I didn’t have a chance to finish all the junk food I had carefully laid outtonight. I now have a half a bag of potato chips for tonight’s game,that will pit Justin Verlander against Rich Hill. We could see another good ol’ fashioned pitcher’s duel in under three hours. Last night’s game was a great start for what could be a true classic series this year.

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