Dodgers Win Behind a Team Effort to Force Game Seven

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Joc Pederson
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Joc Pederson /

The Dodgers had their backs against the wall tonight and stepped up with a 3-1 win and forced a game 7. Tonight’s win was a collective team effort for the Dodgers. Dave Roberts stuck to his guns and rode every bullpen arm that he has this postseason, and tonight, it paid off.

The Dodgers got off to a slow start with Justin Verlander looking like the Verlander he’s been since becoming an Astro. The Astros took an early 1-0 lead with yet another George Springer home run in the 3rd off Rich Hill. After that, Verlander went on cruise control, until the 6th.

The Dodgers got to Verlander in the 6th inning. Austin Barnes led off the inning with a single and Chase Utley was hit by a pitch and kept the rally going. Chris Taylor followed with a double to right to scored Barnes to tied the game.

The Dodgers really took over the momentum when Corey Seager stepped up to the plate. Seager hit a deep shot to right that would have been gone if it wasn’t a cold Halloween night. Seager still got the job done and drove in Utley to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Verlander settled down and got Turner and Bellinger to end the inning, but that was the last of Verlander for the evening.

The Astros turned to Joe Musgrove, and he allowed a solo shot to Joc Pederson in the bottom of the 7th. That was all the Dodgers would need as they turned to their highly dependable bullpen. Kenley Jansen worked a 6-out save and put the Dodgers in a position to win the World Series.

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Takeaways (by inning):

Chase Utley’s at-bat in the 6th – While this was a fortunate turn of events, Chase Utley should have been bunting in this situation. Being hitless this postseason I don’t understand why Roberts is not trying to play for that run. It ended working out for Roberts because Utley got hit by a pitch, but he was down 1-2 to Verlander. This could have been a rally-killing at-bat that could have changed the complexion of the game. Fortunately, Utley was able to get on base, and the following hitters did their job. But that wasn’t the right move to make.

Christ Taylor in the 6th inning – Although this didn’t end up being a factor in the game, I wanted to give credit to Chris Taylor. Chris Taylor brought life to Dodger Stadium with an RBI double but also showed poise after that. Corey Seager launched a deep shot to right that looked like a home run to everyone. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Taylor did not get aggressive on the bases and stood at 2nd to tag on the play. Taylor didn’t end up scoring but gave Turner an opportunity with 1 out to drive in another run without getting a hit. It also shows some improvement from communication between Taylor and Chris Woodward. Taylor and Woodward had a miscommunication in game 5, and it led to the Dodgers missing out on the run. They clearly worked it out, and although it didn’t produce a run, it was the right baseball play. The little things count. 

Joc Pederson –  Pederson is the Dodgers front-runner for WS MVP now. Let’s remember, he was left off the NLCS roster and was sent down earlier this season. Now Pederson leads the team in RBI and home runs in the World Series. What a turnaround for Pederson.

Bullpen – The bullpen was back to normal after a day rest. Morrow had good velocity on his pitches. Maeda was locating his breaking pitches well. And lastly, Jansen’s cutter was cutting like we’ve seen all season. The bullpen combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Next: Astros Heart of their Lineup

Game 7 – This series needed a game 7. These two teams are evenly matched, and baseball fans deserve every game they can get. The Dodgers have to feel good about game 7. They just beat the Astros’ ace and have home-field advantage. Let’s enjoy this Dodger win, but prepare for game 7 tomorrow.

This is the first time that Dodgers Stadium will host game 7 of the World Series. The last time there was a World Series that went to game 7 in consecutive seasons was in 2001 and 2002. Both home teams won game 7. One more win.