World Series Game 2 Recap

Rays win 6–4 and even the series.

Brandon Lowe‘s first-inning shot off of Tony Gonsolin helped set the tone. Without an Ace on the bump, the Dodgers were vulnerable. And the Rays made sure to get to the end of their rotation.

Gonsolin, pitching on limited rest after throwing 41 pitches in Game 7 of the NLCS, was always expected to give way early. Dylan Floro came in after just four outs, and Victor González replaced him after another four. Gonsolin’s Game 7 platoon partner, Dustin May, came in with two outs and noted speedster Ji-man Choi at first. If you weren’t prepared for this style of bullpen management, you might have thought that something was terribly wrong.

Of course, something was terribly wrong. May put up a sparkling 2.57 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in the regular season, and he produces something GIF-worthy almost every time he pitches. Here he is against Austin Meadows in the fifth.

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, May pitches between GIFs, too. When that turbo-sinker doesn’t land six inches off the plate, it tends to break directly into the barrel of the bat for lefties. Meadows singled on the fourth pitch of this AB. And the next batter? That was Brandon Lowe.

 

May’s final line (1.1 IP, 3 ER, 1 K, 0 BB, 4 H) underlies just how hittable he was. Six of the eight PAs ended in hard contact. He gave up two hits with two outs in the fourth, tacking an earned run onto González’s line. The four runs that the Rays scored with him on the bump equalled the four runs the Dodgers scored all game.

Blake Snell (4.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, 4 BB, 2 H) definitely had something to do with it. Walks were an issue — he walked two in both the second and the fifth — but he also struck out 45% of the 20 batters he faced and didn’t give up a hit until the fifth. Tampa gave him the hook while things were on the brink of unravelling the third time through the order, but he finished with 36% CSW and 13 whiffs on 88 pitches. And I can’t write about Blake Snell without showing off the BSB.

That said, his curveball usage was an interesting subplot. It’s typically thrown at the back foot of right-handers, but he used in this game to pick up four called strikes, all belt-high or higher. Chris Taylor finally wised up and took one of them deep for the Dodgers’ first hit of the day, making it 5–2. But otherwise, Snell bullied the Dodgers.

The fifth inning ended up being the Dodgers’ best chance: three of their six baserunners came then. After Taylor’s home run, Mookie Betts and Corey Seager both reached base, but Nick Anderson came in and struck out Justin Turner to end the two-out rally. RISP numbers often miss the bigger picture by only tracking hits, but the Dodgers’ 0-for-6 mark tells the story pretty well.

Anderson’s line also captures the day pretty succinctly. Aside from a monster solo shot given up to Will Smith, the Dodgers couldn’t touch him. As counterintuitive as it sounds, the Rays limited hard contact fairly well. Just 25% (9 of 36) of the Dodgers’ PAs ended in hard contact, compared to 35% of the Rays’ (14 of 40). The Dodgers were lucky that the Rays didn’t capitalize further.

The Dodgers got one extra chance when Seager went deep against Peter Fairbanks. But after a weird double featuring a Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier collision on a soft flare hit, the Rays’ bullpen closed the door. Fairbanks got two outs before Aaron Loup and Diego Castillo sat down the last four batters in order, striking out three of them. Rays win, 6–4. On we go to Game 3, series tied 1–1.

 

What You Missed

 

Our fearless leaders broadcasted the entire game. You can find their stream on Periscope or Twitch, if that’s something you’re into!. But be warned! Things got a little tense.

Globe Life Field provided some challengers to both the Rays’ and Mark Melancon‘s crowns as kings of outfield defense. It started with this great snag on a foul ball.

And it kept going with the almost-as-great home run catch.

 

 

Because we got a Pete Fairbanks appearance, we also got another chance to revisit that he’s a very, very scary man. His blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fastball pairs very well with his, uh, never blinking.

Fairbanks wasn’t the only pitcher to try out some groundbreaking staredown tactics. Dustin May got in on the action, too.

Game 3 comes after a day off. Get ready for Walker Buehler vs. Charlie Morton. It should be tasty.

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Alexander Chase

Alexander Chase starting playing fantasy baseball in 2010 because he didn't have a real team to support. Since moving to Baltimore, he still hasn't found one, but he likes Camden Yards. Alexander tweets about sports at @chase_rate.

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