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Clayton Kershaw set the tone in Game 1

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Winner of the opener has won 72 of 115 previous World Series (62.6%)

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World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dodgers took Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night in decisive fashion, and historically that bodes well.

Of the 115 previous World Series, the winner of Game 1 takes the series 62.6% of the time. The Game 1 winner has also won 14 of the last 17 World Series (82.3%), but the Dodgers are familiar with one of the recent exceptions.

Clayton Kershaw was brilliant in Game 1 of the 2017 Fall Classic, striking out 11 in seven innings, giving Los Angeles a 1-0 series lead. What happened next, only the Astros saw coming.

The Dodgers feel they are a better team this year, and are playing like it. They are both mindful of what it takes to accomplish their goal and how close they are to getting it.

“It’s hard not to think about winning, and what that might feel like. But I think that’s what I have to do,” Kershaw said after winning Game 1 this year. “What we have to do as a team is just tomorrow. Just constantly keep putting that in your brain, ‘Tomorrow, win tomorrow, win tomorrow, win tomorrow.’ When you do that three more times, then you can think about it all you want.”

For Kershaw, he found his slider after the first inning, and struck out eight in six innings, allowing only a run on two hits, walking one. It’s the ninth postseason start for Kershaw with at least six innings allowing no more than one earned run and one walk, the most such starts in baseball history, breaking his tie with Curt Schilling and Jon Lester.

Kershaw his postseason has a 2.88 ERA in four starts, with 31 strikeouts against only three walks. The only single postseasons with more strikeouts in franchise history were by Kershaw (33 strikeouts, in 2017) and Orel Hershiser (32 strikeouts, in 1988), both coming in six games, including five starts.

Walker Buehler, who is slated to start Game 3 on Friday, has 29 strikeouts this postseason.

Since 1988, the Dodgers have played in 10 different best-of-7 series, seven of those coming during this run of eight consecutive division titles. This is the third time in those 10 best-of-7 series they won Game 1.

“It all started with Clayton,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He set the tone.”

Links

  • Here’s Wednesday morning’s LA Times sports section cover: