Who grabs control in Game 5?
By Kevin Cooney
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After one of the most memorable games in World Series history, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays will look to move one step away from a championship when they square off in Game 5 of the 2020 World Series on Sunday evening from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The first pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
It will be a rematch of Game 1 starting pitchers, with the Dodgers sending lefty Clayton Kershaw against Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Kershaw, who will try to exorcise his Game 5 demons from previous postseasons, was brilliant during Los Angeles’ 8-3 victory Tuesday.
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Here are some of the questions for Game 5:
What will be the total of hits, runs and RBIs for Randy Arozarena?
The Rays outfielder, who has set postseason records for total bases in a playoff performance, will be long remembered for scoring the winning run in Game 4. Arozarena has been the sparkplug for the Tampa Bay offense, but he did go 0-for-3 with a walk in Game 1 against Kershaw and the Dodgers pitchers. The options for this question range from zero to more than six on the Super 6 contest.
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How many total runs will be scored in the game?
The choices range from one-to-six runs, seven runs, eight runs, nine runs, 10 runs or 11-plus runs. All but one of the first four games have featured double-digit scoring, including a total of 15 in Tampa Bay's wild 8-7 victory Saturday night. Things should calm down a bit with Glasnow and Kershaw on the mound, but both teams need their aces to give tired bullpens a rest after being overworked in Game 4. If not, another offensive explosion could take place.
How many total strikeouts will Kershaw and Glasnow combine for?
The options are less than six, six to seven, eight to nine, 10, 11 or 12-plus strikeouts. All four games of the series to this point have featured both teams striking out a combined total of 20-plus times. Both Glasnow and Kershaw struck out eight each during Game 1 against these lineups.
What will be the highest scoring inning?
The options are a combined first and second inning, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth or after. Thirty-one of the 44 runs scored by the two teams in this series have come in the fifth inning or later. That has been a result of two bullpens that look to be running on fumes, with choices that are limited at best.
How many total pitchers will pitch during the game?
The totals are seven or fewer, eight to nine, 10, 11, 12 and 13-plus. Both Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Rays skipper Kevin Cash have been extremely aggressive with their bullpens. Forty-three different pitchers have been used across the four games of the series (10.7 per contest) and Game 4 on Saturday night featured 13 different pitchers. Given that these teams are playing for a third consecutive day, and managers tend to get a little more wary of turning to relievers that much, it will add an extra element to the debate. However, both managers really need innings from their starters tonight.
Which team wins and by how many runs?
Momentum in this series has been really fickle. The main questions to examine is whether Tampa Bay can build off its wild finish in Game 4 and could the Dodgers get tight after being so close to a 3-1 lead?
Ultimately, the story in Game 5 is Kershaw, a best of his generation pitcher who doesn’t have a signature October moment to stamp his legacy with a career 12-12 record in the playoffs and a 4.22 ERA. His ERA in six World Series appearances (five starts) is 4.68. This really is a coin-toss game.
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