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Dodgers will try to pick themselves up off the mat for Game 2

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So much for the Battle of Aces. Both Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw were off last night and didn’t record an out after the fourth inning, leaving the game to be decided by the Red Sox’ superior execution and timely hittingand the Dodgers’ mistakes — to give them Game 1.

For Game 2 we get two lefties once again. They’re not quite as well-regarded as the two who took the mound last night, but they stand a decent chance of lasting longer. At least we can hope.

World Series Game 2

Dodgers vs. Red Sox
Ballpark: Fenway Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: FOX
Pitchers: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. David Price
Breakdown:

As everyone on the planet has noted, David Price experienced no end of playoff frustration before tossing six shutout innings against the Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS. That’s the David Price Boston would love to see tonight, and we’ll know pretty early if he’s there again. Watch his use of the changeup — he went with it more than twice as often as he usually does against the Astros — and look to see if the Dodgers chase it. If they do, L.A. is in for a long night. If the Dodgers lay off, don’t panic and make Price work, they’ll have a much better night.

For the Dodgers its Ryu, who did not distinguish himself at all in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Brewers. Indeed, he was shelled. It looked like Milwaukee knew what was coming and, either because of pitch-tipping or sign-stealing, perhaps they did, but Ryu certainly has more pressure on him than Price here. Not that he sounds particularly freaked. Here’s what he said yesterday:

“When I was in Korea, I only saw Fenway Park through TV. It took me so long to actually get here at the Fenway Park. My initial reaction to the Green Monster is it’s very tall.”

I stood on the field next to the Monster after the end of the 2013 World Series. It seems shorter in person if that helps, Hyun-Jin.

This one is going to be about more than the starting pitchers, though. As we saw last night, they may not last too long. Even if they do, the outcome is not necessarily going to be in their hands. As noted, the Dodgers need to be disciplined and to lay off Price’s change. They also need to execute, execute, execute, in ways they simply did not do last night. The Red Sox are enormously talented, do not make many mistakes and put a ton of pressure on the opposition. To beat them, L.A. has to play as close to flawlessly as possible and catch some breaks. They didn’t do the first part last night and thus had no breaks to catch. They’ll need to play better tonight. It’s that simple.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.