The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the 2017 World Series with a crisp 3-1 win (box score) over the Houston Astros in Tuesday night's series opener. Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel both worked at a lightning quick pace and were locked in a pitchers' duel into the late innings. All four runs in Game 1 scored on home runs.
Here are eight things to know about Game 1.
It was crazy hot at Dodger Stadium
Historically hot, in fact. Game 1 was the hottest MLB postseason game in history.
First pitch of the World Series: 103 degrees, making this the hottest postseason game in baseball history.— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) October 25, 2017
Baseball-Reference.com says Game 1 was the first baseball game outside of Arizona with a first pitcher temperature of 103-plus degrees since 2012, when the Rangers and Angels played in 105-degree heat in Arlington.
Taylor started the game with a bang
Keuchel's first career World Series pitch resulted in a home run. Chris Taylor gave the Dodgers a very quick 1-0 lead with a long home run to left field on Keuchel's first pitch of Game 1. , 447 feet away from home plate, according to Statcast.
To the action footage:
This is the second straight World Series game to begin with a leadoff homer. Dexter Fowler took Corey Kluber deep to start Game 7 of the World Series last year. Also, Taylor's home run is only the fourth Game 1 leadoff homer in World Series history.
- 2017: Chris Taylor, Dodgers
- 2015: Alcides Escobar, Royals
- 2007: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
- 1969: Don Buford, Orioles
The Escobar homer was an inside-the-park job against Matt Harvey, as you may remember.
Kershaw allowed another homer
These days pretty much every pitcher is home run prone, and that includes super-aces like Kershaw. He allowed a home run for the ninth consecutive start in Game 1, easily the longest such streak of his career. Prior to this season he'd never allowed a home run in more than four consecutive starts. Alex Bregman took Kershaw deep in the fourth inning Tuesday.
Kershaw has now allowed seven home runs in four starts and 24 1/3 innings this postseason, which is an awful lot. He allowed eight home runs in 149 regular-season innings in 2016.
As for Bregman, it's been a very long time since an American League player this young went deep in the World Series.
Alex Bregman (23 years, 208 days) is the youngest American League player to homer in a World Series game since Manny Ramirez (23 years, 148 days) did so in Game 4 of the 1995 World Series.— Chris Peixoto (@cp_astros) October 25, 2017
Young Manny was a sight to behold. Bregman is pretty great, too.
Kershaw struck out a lot of batters, too
No team struck out less often than the Astros during the regular season. Their 17.3 percent strikeout rate was easily the lowest in baseball, more than a full percentage point lower than the team with the second lowest strikeout rate (Indians at 18.5 percent).
You would not have been able to tell the Astros has the 2017's lowest strikeout rate in Game 1. Kershaw fanned 11 batters in his seven innings. Here is his final pitching line:
Kershaw is only the third pitcher this season to strike out 10-plus Astros in a game. Here's the list:
- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 11 strikeouts in seven innings in World Series Game 1.
- Aaron Nola, Phillies: 10 strikeouts in six innings on July 26.
- Corey Kluber, Indians: 10 strikeouts in seven innings on April 27.
Furthermore, Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher with 10-plus strikeouts in a World Series game since the great Sandy Koufax struck out 10 Twins in his complete-game shutout in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. It has been nearly a half-century since a pitcher struck out as many batters in Game 1 of the World Series as Kershaw.
The last pitcher with 11+ strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series was Bob Gibson in 1968, when he set the WS record with 17 Ks.— Jason Lukehart (@JasonLukehart) October 25, 2017
Through four starts this postseason, Kershaw has a 2.96 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. He's struck out 27 and walked five. That'll work.
Turner's postseason heroics continue
Justin Turner is fast gaining a reputation for being one of the best postseason hitters in baseball history. He went into Game 1 with a career .368/.481/.632 batting line in October. Among players with at least 100 postseason plate appearances, only Lou Gehrig (1.214) and Babe Ruth (1.214) have a higher OPS than Turner (1.113).
In Game 1 on Tuesday, Turner added another huge postseason hit to his resume, as he broke the 1-1 tie with a sixth inning two-run home run against Keuchel. Taylor drew a two-out walk as the previous batter to extend the inning.
That is the fourth home run in nine postseason games for Turner this year. He went deep once against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, and then twice against the Cubs in the NLCS. It seems like every homer the guy hits in the postseason is a big one.
This was only the 13th time in 88 starts since Opening Day 2015 that Keuchel allowed two homers in a game. He's not the game's premier ground ball pitcher for nothing.
Seager had an immediate impact
After missing the NLCS with a back injury that was bad enough to require an epidural, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager returned to the lineup in Game 1 and went 2 for 3 with two solid singles. He also grounded into a tough luck double play, hitting a rocket right at Bregman at third base. Seager wasn't tested with anything particularly tough in the field, though the plays he did make looked natural. Watching the game, it was impossible to tell Seager just missed a postseason series with a back problem. He looked fine and contributed right away.
Bellinger made age-related history
At 22 years and 103 days, Cody Bellinger is the youngest Dodger to ever play in the World Series. He was also the third youngest player ever to hit third in a World Series game.
Youngest starting #3 hitters in a World Series Game 1— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 24, 2017
20y, 347d Mickey Mantle 1952
21y, 310d Joe DiMaggio 1936
22y, 103d Cody Bellinger 2017
That is some mighty fine company for Bellinger, who went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
History is on the Dodgers' side
According to WhoWins.com, teams that win Game 1 of the World Series have gone on to win the series 63.9 percent of the time. Teams that win Game 1 at home, like the Dodgers, have gone on to win the series 66.7 percent of the time.