Game One of the 2017 World Series turned into a Battle of the Kâ€™s, won by Clayton Kershaw, as the LA Dodgers earned a 3-1 victory.
Kershaw racked up 11Kâ€™s in seven innings against a Houston Astros team that led the Majors by hitting for power whilst rarely striking out. His opposing starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, pitched well but gave up two home runs that proved to be the difference.
They always say that you need to get to the best pitchers early and the only way Chris Taylor could have got to Keuchel earlier would have been by doing a hatchet job on him during his warm-up. One pitch, one home run made for the perfect start for LA.
The Astrosâ€™ lead-off hitter George Springer has made a specialty of homering his team into an early lead. His 0-4 performance, a 4 strike-out Golden Sombrero, summed up the difference between the two teams on the night.
Kershaw was masterful aside from a pitch to Alex Bregman in the fourth inning that the Astrosâ€™ third baseman hit into the seats to level the score at 1-1. It barely knocked Kershaw out of his stride though and Justin Turnerâ€™s 2-run home run in the sixth inning gave the Dodgers a lead that Kershaw, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen were not going to give up.
The Astros will not be disheartened and, in theory, should have an advantage on the mound for Game Two as Justin Verlander attempts to continue his great post-season. Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers and he has the capacity to confuse even the best batters with his curveball, yet he hasnâ€™t pitched as deeply into a game of late as he would like.
In recent times that hasnâ€™t mattered much in the play-offs as managers have been quick to turn games over to their bullpen. The conventional role played by the two starting pitchers in Game One, alongside the unseasonably hot temperature and short game time (2hrs 30), was one of the things that made it unusual for recent play-off contests.
Unusual, but very entertaining. This Astros-Dodgers match-up has the potential to be a classic and Game One started things off perfectly. Letâ€™s see what Game Two brings in the early hours of Thursday morning.