Mon. Mar 8th, 2021

Tyler Glasnow had already given up Cody Bellinger’s two-run homer and four of his six walks when he went back out for the fifth inning.Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash might have waited a smidge too long to go to his bullpen in Game 1 of the World Series.

Glasnow was charged with all four runs in the small-ball fifth by the Los Angeles Dodgers – three singles, four walks and three stolen bases that tied a Fall Classic record – as the Rays lost 8-3 on Tuesday night in the franchise’s first Series game since 2008.

The 6-foot-8 Glasnow started fast enough in his first World Series start, pumping the occasional 100 mph fastball while matching postseason veteran Clayton Kershaw out for out through three innings.

But after striking out three around the second of his three walks to Corey Seager in the third, Glasnow walked Max Muncy to start the fourth. Two batters later, Bellinger hit the fastest pitch he ever has for a homer.

Glasnow, who struck out eight, started the fifth with consecutive walks to Mookie Betts and Seager, but Cash stayed with him long enough to give up Muncy’s run-scoring fielder’s choice and Will Smith’s soft single to centre.

The six runs were the most Glasnow has allowed in seven postseason starts. The six walks and 112 pitches were career highs for the 27-year-old right-hander.

When he finally pulled Glasnow, Cash was boxed in because he needed lefty reliever Ryan Yarbrough to face the left-handed Bellinger, who popped out.

Yarbrough had to stay because of the three-batter minimum, and righty-hitting Chris Taylor had an RBI single before Kiké Hernández pinch-hit for the lefty Joc Pederson and singled in another run.

Glasnow, one of the shrewd moves that helped the Rays get this far when he was acquired for ace Chris Archer at the trading deadline two years ago, had to pitch the opener because Tampa Bay struggled to close out Houston after winning the first three games in the AL Championship Series.

Aces Blake Snell and Charlie Morton had to pitch Games 6 and 7, with Morton winning as the Rays avoided joining the New York Yankees (2004 ALCS against Boston) as the only teams to blow 3-0 leads in the postseason.

Snell is the probable starter for Game 2, with Morton the logical choice in Game 3 after the first scheduled day off in the middle of a postseason series in this pandemic-altered season.

A crowd of 11,388 attended the World Series opener, spread in groups of up to four, mostly in alternate rows and none directly behind each other among the forest green seats.

That was the smallest crowd for the Series since 10,535 attended Game 6 in 1909 between the Tigers and Pittsburgh at Detroit’s Bennett Park, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Major League Baseball planned to make about 28 percent available of the 40,518 capacity at the retractable-roof stadium of the Texas Rangers. The new US$1.2 billion venue opened this year and replaced Globe Life Park, the team’s open-air home from 1994 through 2019. During batting practice, through the new stadium’s glass walls, the sun glistened off the red brick of the old stadium across the street beyond left field, a field now used for high school football.

Behind home plate, the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium gleamed like a spaceship.

This World Series had a surreal, at times somber aspect caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The small crowd was supplemented with fan audio from stadium speakers.

No fans were allowed to any of the 898 regular-season games this season, which were played in empty ballparks due to governmental health restrictions.

Players’ families were allowed starting for the 18 first-round games, the 15 Division Series games and the AL Championship Series between Tampa Bay and Houston in San Diego, with fans added for the Dodgers’ matchup against Atlanta in the NL Championship Series in Arlington, an average of 10,835 for the seven games. Roughly the same amount of tickets were sold for each World Series game. (AP)

By Bureau