LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers relievers continue to post record-setting numbers. They ran their record consecutive scoreless streak this postseason to 25 innings on Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over the Astros in the opener of the Fall Classic at Dodger Stadium.And Brandon Morrow is now the glue that's pulled
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers relievers continue to post record-setting numbers. They ran their record consecutive scoreless streak this postseason to 25 innings on Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over the Astros in the opener of the Fall Classic at Dodger Stadium.
And Brandon Morrow is now the glue that's pulled it all together. He's the eighth-inning bridge from Clayton Kershaw to closer Kenley Jansen that Los Angeles needed.
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In past postseasons, with Kershaw at 83 pitches through seven innings like Tuesday evening, he invariably would have come out to pitch the eighth, sometimes to his own detriment and to the detriment of the Dodgers.
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Not anymore. Morrow worked a flawless eighth and Jansen a clean ninth to record the save. It was the first innings in the World Series presented by YouTube TV for either right-hander, locking down Kershaw's first World Series win.
All is right in Dodger-blue heaven.
"I think we're comfortable with whoever comes out of the 'pen," said Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes. "I mean, Morrow has been an unsung hero for us all season."
Morrow came into camp as a non-roster pitcher just trying to make the club. In recent years with the Padres, he had been beset by right shoulder surgery, a bout with valley fever and a loss of confidence. Morrow was weak and debilitated when he rejoined San Diego for the spring of 2016. That season didn't work out very well.
Now Morrow's postseason numbers look like this: Eight appearances, 9 1/3 innings, eight strikeouts, one walk, three hits, one run allowed and a 0.96 ERA. The entire bullpen has walked just two batters this postseason, well below the all-time record of six held by the 2016 Cubs and 1998 Yankees (minimum 30 innings pitched).
"Everybody's just been feeding off each other," Morrow said. "It's been one guy after the next just going out and attacking. The biggest thing is just not falling behind. We've been able to follow our plans. When a guy is called on to make a pitch, he's been executing that pitch. It's a credit to everyone."
The biggest thing for Morrow has been his attitude. He's diabetic and has had a career speckled by streaks of greatness short-circuited by illness and numerous injuries. Morrow knows what it's like to keep fighting back. He remains positive and moves forward.
"This is what anybody who's followed baseball in the last 10 years knows," said teammate Brandon McCarthy, another right-hander whose career has been curtailed by injury and surgery. "When you followed Brandon Morrow, this is what you thought would happen. You just hoped that he'd stay healthy and now that that's happened, it shouldn't be much of a surprise."
Morrow is back to throwing 98 mph consistently.
"And that consistency is the most important thing," Morrow said.
When Morrow arrived at Camelback Ranch this spring without a job and an uncertain baseball future, he never quite figured this is where he would be.
"I mean, I just had to prove it," Morrow said. "I knew I had it in me and I knew that I felt good going into camp. I went out and showed them what I've got. I've always been good in showcase situations where you're trying to make the team."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.