We are now three games into a World Series between the two best teams in baseball. The series was tied 1-1, and the marquee matchup for Game 3 saw a starting pitching showdown: Walker Buehler vs. Charlie Morton.
Two very different rosters support these aces. The Dodgers have many players with extensive postseason experience, but so far most of them have failed to reach the ultimate prize. The Rays, on the other hand, have pieced together a well-oiled machine of many deadly, interchangeable parts. But no members of their roster, besides Morton, have ever played in the Fall Classic before. This inexperienced, cohesive Tampa team hopes to make a powerful statement in their franchise’s second World Series appearance ever.
Game 3 is now over. Who won?
Dodgers 6, Rays 2
Buehler was the standout star of this game. Despite being just 26 years old, his poise on the mound allowed him to carve apart the Rays lineup with a deadly pitch mix. Through the first four innings, Buehler faced the minimum amount of batters, allowing no hits and just one walk (that later turned into a double play) while striking out five.
Walker Buehler, 97mph Fastball (foul) and 82mph Curveball (Swinging K), Individual Pitches + Overlay pic.twitter.com/gNwe0w0fi8
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 24, 2020
Meanwhile, the Dodgers lineup jumped out to an early lead on Morton thanks to Justin Turner‘s first-inning dinger.
By the end of the fourth inning, the Dodgers had a 5-0 lead thanks to some clutch RBIs from Max Muncy, Mookie Betts, and Austin Barnes. Barnes actually laid down a textbook safety squeeze bunt for all those people at home who want to improve their form.
This fits right within the Dodgers’ current philosophy that “barrels are overrated” (trigger warning for some of you sabermetrically-inclined folks out there):
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) October 24, 2020
It’s a bit odd for this team to embrace that idea considering the Dodgers led the majors in Barrels/PA% this year, but who am I to judge!
Anyway, just a couple innings later, Barnes connected with a barrel of his own by clobbering a historic home run into left-center.
Austin Barnes doing it all!
Previous AB: RBI on a squeeze bunt.
This AB: Solo shot 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TMAOrVbzrF
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 24, 2020
The Rays offense struggled to get anything going against Buehler, although they finally got on board with a Willy Adames RBI double in the fifth.
A Willy Adames double gets the Rays on the board! pic.twitter.com/bj8CkWj4kk
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 24, 2020
But that was the only blemish on Buehler’s scorecard, as he left the game with an excellent line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 10 K.
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) October 24, 2020
While Buehler put on a masterful show on the mound, Ji-Man Choi performed a Cirque-du-Soleil-style defensive clinic with his acrobatics in the field, showcasing his high jumps…
…and his wide splits.
How can you not be romantic about baseball pic.twitter.com/nlienWkuzw
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) October 24, 2020
The last third of Game 3 was relatively quiet, with both offenses being shut out by excellent bullpen pitching.
Except for Randy Arozarena.
The breakout Cuban phenom continued his incredible 2020 postseason run with a ninth-inning, two-out, full-count bullet off Kenley Jansen to make the score 6-2.
Here are a few of the many records attached to this home run:
- Arozarena has eight HRs in the 2020 playoffs, which ties him with Barry Bonds ’02, Carlos Beltrán ’04, and Nelson Cruz ’11 for the most homers in one postseason.
- Arozarena passes David Freese for the most total bases in one postseason (52 for Arozarena compared to 50 for Freese).
- Arozarena beats out Derek Jeter for the most hits by any rookie in one postseason ever.
Randy rakes like no other rookie pic.twitter.com/YhKUFzTWK5
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 24, 2020
Arozarena’s ninth-inning heroics did not cause Jansen to collapse, as he retired the next Rays batter to end Game 3 and give the Dodgers a 2-1 series lead.
So much history has already been made this postseason. What will happen in Game 4?
Tune in to FOX tonight at 8:08 p.m. EST/5:08 p.m. PST to find out.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)