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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.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”