Rays can’t slow down the Dodgers in Series

by Gary Shelton on October 24, 2020

in general

Morton couldn't slow down the Dodgers./JEFFREY KING

Saturday, 4 a.m.

In the end, they got four hits. It seemed like less.

They struck out 13 times. It seemed like more.

They lost by four runs. It felt a lot more lopsided than that.

The Tampa Bay Rays, if you judge by momentum, may be in their deepest hole yet in their World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat then 6-2 Friday night. They trail only 2-1 in games, but the Dodgers have

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taken convincing wins in two of the three contests, which puts the Rays in a must-win game tonight.

The Dodgers got a great pitching performance from Walker Buehler, who had a no-hitter going through 4 1/3 innings. He allowed only three hits and struck out 10, leaving with a 5-1 lead.

The Rays didn't get a hit until the fifth, when doubles by Manuel Margot and Willy Adames led to their first run. Randy Arozarena later homered for the team's second run.

Tampa Bay, naturally, wasn't in a mood to concede anything after the game. Not after beating the Yankees and Astros in back-to-back series.

“We need to find a way to win, that’s for sure," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I don’t think we're concerned with (Clayton) Kershaw (who looms ahead) right now. We need to be concerned with (Julio) Urias, who is pretty talented too.

"We seem to be a much better club when we get a lead. Whatever we can do to get a lead on them is big."

The Rays had no chance to jump on the Dodgers Friday night. Morton struggled, giving up five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Morton had won seven straight post-season games, but he lacked his usual sharpness, especially with two strikes.

Justin Turner homered in the first. Max Muncy singled in two more in the second, and the Dodgers scored two in the fourth on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Barnes and a single by Mookie Betts.

"Execution in two-strike counts went  a little bit sideways on him," Cash said. "He competed really well. They put a lot of pressure on him.

“He’s set the bar as high as anyone in the game as far as post-season success. You hate to say shocking, because that’s unfair to Charlie. There were couple of pitches here or there he’d like to have back, that we’d like to have back. "

Said Morton: “I wasn’t particularly sharp. I was able to get to two strikes pretty quickly on a lot of guys and not able to put them away. In the fourth and fifth, the stuff wasn’t really there and command wasn't really there. They’re just too good for that.”

Still, the Rays talk as if Morton will get another chance in the series. If so, that means the Rays must find some way to slow down the Dodgers' bats. Los Angeles has scored 18 runs in three games.

Tonight's game will begin at 8:08 p.m. It is expected to be a bullpen day for the Rays.

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