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Dodgers, Astros play fastest World Series game since 1992

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Clocking in at just two hours and 28 minutes, Game 1 of the Dodgers-Astros World Series was the quickest World Series game since Game 4 of the 1992 Series, when the Braves’ Tom Glavine pitched a complete game loss against the Blue Jays in just two hours, 21 minutes.

Here are three factors that played into Tuesday’s speedy resolution:

1. Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel allowed a combined 10 baserunners.

For the first seven innings of Game 1, only 11 batters reached base. Ten of those came courtesy of Game 1 starters Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel, who would have enjoyed scoreless World Series debuts had it not been for a trifecta of home runs from Chris Taylor, Alex Bregman and Justin Turner. Aside from those three, only Austin Barnes reached past first base — and was promptly doubled off of second to end the third.

2. From the eighth inning on, the bullpen faced the minimum.

The Dodgers’ bullpen has been one of their biggest strengths this postseason, and Tuesday’s Game 1 win was no exception. Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen retired six batters in order, while the Astros’ Brad Peacock issued a free pass to Logan Forsythe before inducing a fly out to end the seventh and Chris Devenski closed out the Astros’ first loss of the series with a scoreless eighth.

3. Justin Turner mashed his first go-ahead home run of the series.

Without Justin Turner’s two-run go-ahead shot in the sixth, the Dodgers and Astros might still be duking it out on the mound. Kershaw was masterful from start to finish and Houston’s staff put together a solid performance on the road. Had Turner not broken the tie as quickly as he did — on the other hand, had the weather not been so warm or had the Dodgers put up another 11-run spread, à la Game 5 of the NLCS — they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to set this kind of record.

Breaking the all-time record for the shortest World Series game is a challenge of a different kind altogether. That distinction belongs to the Boston Braves and Cleveland Indians of the 1948 World Series, when Johnny Sain and Steve Gromek went toe-to-toe in two complete game performances for a Game 4 that lasted just one hour, 31 minutes. Perhaps the Astros can offer their rebuttal in the form of a Justin Verlander Game 2 perfecto tomorrow night.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.