The Dodgers beat the Rays, 4-2, in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night to take a 3-2 Series lead heading into Game 6. Teams to win Game 5 in a best-of-seven postseason series tied 2-2 go on to win that series 69.4% of the time, although just last season, the Astros were in that situation in the Fall Classic before the Nationals rallied to win Games 6 and 7.
For the Dodgers, this is the eighth time they’ve taken a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series. They’ve gone on to win all but one of the prior seven -- and got the job done in Game 6 twice, in the 1981 and 1959 World Series.
Here are 12 facts to know from Game 5 of the World Series:
Kershaw, bullpen get the job done
• For the first time in his lengthy postseason career, Clayton Kershaw has won two games in the same series. The left-hander went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs, after going six strong innings back in Game 1. The only other Dodgers pitchers to win two games as a starter in the same World Series are Orel Hershiser (1988), Sandy Koufax (1963, ‘65) and Johnny Podres (1955).
• Kershaw struck out six batters, and now owns a postseason record. His fifth of the night was the 206th of his career in the playoffs, breaking a tie with Justin Verlander for the most. He now leads the way with 207 strikeouts.
It is worth noting that tonight was also Kershaw’s 30th career postseason start, tied for fourth most all time -- and that doesn’t even factor in a handful of relief appearances in the playoffs. In other words, he’s accumulated a lot of strikeouts in a lot of chances.
• Rookie Dustin May relieved Kershaw and redeemed himself after a tough outing in Game 2, recording five outs while allowing just one baserunner. Two of those outs came on strikeouts of 101.5 mph and 99.9 mph, with the former tying for the third-fastest strikeout pitch in the Majors in 2020. Josh Staumont of the Royals is the only pitcher this year to have a third strike with a higher velocity (one at 102.0 mph and one at 101.9 mph).
• Manager Dave Roberts went to Blake Treinen over Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning, and Treinen responded by nailing down his first save in 15 career postseason appearances and only his second save of 2020. Treinen is the fourth Dodgers pitcher with a save this postseason, joining Jansen, Joe Kelly and Brusdar Graterol. Compare that with the 2013-19 postseasons, when Jansen notched 16 of the team’s 17 saves, with Kershaw getting the other.
Dodgers keep on slugging
• The Dodgers bopped two homers in Game 5, giving them 29 in the postseason, which is ranked second all time behind their World Series opponents, the Rays, who have hit 33 this postseason. The Dodgers' homers in Game 5 came off the bats of Joc Pederson and Max Muncy, who became the eighth and ninth Dodgers to go deep just within this World Series. Los Angeles’ total of nine hitters with a homer is a new World Series record, surpassing the 1989 A’s (eight).
Muncy’s homer also gave the Dodgers eight straight postseason games with multiple homers dating back to National League Championship Series Game 5, extending the longest streak by any team in postseason history.
• Muncy’s homer came off a 99 mph fastball, while Pederson’s came off a 98.5 mph fastball, both from Tyler Glasnow. Along with a 98.2 mph Glasnow heater that Cody Bellinger took deep in Game 1, those are the three fastest pitches the Dodgers have homered against in 2020.
• It isn’t slugging specifically, but Muncy continued to help the offense with his patience at the plate, too. He now has 20 walks this postseason, tied with Gary Sheffield in 1997 for the second most in a single postseason. The only player with more walks in a single postseason was Barry Bonds, who had 27 in 2002 -- 13 of which were intentional.
• Corey Seager got the Dodgers rolling just two batters into Game 5 by driving in Mookie Betts with an RBI single. That marked Seager’s 19th RBI of this postseason, which tied Sandy Alomar Jr. (1997), David Ortiz (2004) and Scott Spiezio (2002) for second on the all-time single-year list. David Freese, who tallied 21 RBIs in 2011, is the only player to drive in more runs in one postseason.
Daring play doesn’t pay for Rays
• Manuel Margot tried to tie the game in the fourth in an unconventional way: by stealing home. He was out, but the attempt itself was notable. No player had even tried to steal home in a World Series game since Brad Fullmer in 2002. He was successful on that one, but it was a double steal. The last successful straight steal of home in the World Series was Jackie Robinson’s in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series.
It was just the third time in his career that a player had attempted to steal home on Kershaw, and none of those have been successful, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
A rocky outing for Glasnow
• Glasnow became the first pitcher in World Series history and seventh in postseason history to uncork three wild pitches in a game -- two of them came in the first inning, one with Muncy at the plate and the other while Bellinger was hitting. Those two wayward pitches enabled Seager, who had reached base on an RBI single, to advance to second and then third. He came in to score on Bellinger’s RBI single. Glasnow’s third wild pitch came in the third with Bellinger at the plate again. Muncy, who was on first after a single, advanced to second, but Glasnow escaped the inning unscathed.
• The Dodgers were hitting the baseball hard from the get-go against Glasnow -- over the five innings the flame-throwing right-hander pitched in Game 5, 11 of the 13 batted balls in play (84.6%) against him were hard hit (exit velocity of 95 mph or greater, according to Statcast). And eight of those had an exit velocity of 100 mph or greater. In five starts this postseason before Game 5 (23 2/3 innings), 26 of the 56 batted balls in play (46.4%) against Glasnow were hard hit.
The Arozarena Show continues
• Randy Arozarena continued his historic postseason by setting yet another record, when in the bottom of the third inning, he delivered an RBI single off Kershaw for his 27th hit of this postseason. That surpassed Pablo Sandoval’s 26 hits for the Giants in 2014 for most in a single postseason. Arozarena’s latest feat came a day after he set a single-postseason record by launching his ninth home run. In Game 3, Arozarena set a rookie record for most hits in a single postseason, surpassing Derek Jeter’s total of 22 in 1996.