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SportsPulse: With a shortened season and an unconventional playoff construction, must the Rays or Dodgers get an asterisk within the report books in the event that they win the Global Sequence?

USA TODAY

ARLINGTON, Texas — Clayton Kershaw chased away his October ghosts Tuesday night time, virtually sneering at them as they disappeared into the Texas night time.

Mookie Betts confirmed why he is also the best $365 million discount in baseball historical past, doing the rest and the entirety, and carving his identify within the Global Sequence report books.

Cody Bellinger, who dislocated his shoulder two days in the past, homered on the plate, made a impressive catch in middle box, and invented a brand new technique to rejoice.

And the Los Angeles Dodgers, rollicked, laughed and danced all night time, routing the Tampa Bay Rays, Eight-Three, in Recreation 1 of the Global Sequence in entrance of a subdued, and social-distancing crowd of 11,388 at Globe Lifestyles Box.

It was once the smallest crowd at a Global Sequence recreation since Recreation 6 of the 1909 Global Sequence between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers, with Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb because the featured stars.

It is going to have no longer appeared like the standard 56,000 screaming fanatics at Dodger Stadium, however with their all-round efficiency this night time, it’s essential to virtually pay attention them the entire manner from Los Angeles, believing that is in the end the yr their Global Sequence drought ends.

Can they in all probability be beat?

“If we play at our highest, no,’’ Kershaw flatly stated. “I feel we’re the most efficient crew. I feel our clubhouse believes that.

“There’s going to make certain occasions we get beat, however as a collective workforce, if everyone is doing and taking part in adore it’s intended to, I don’t understand how that may occur.’’

Unquestionably, if Kershaw pitches like he did Tuesday, conquering his October demons through yielding two hits and placing out 8 in six innings, who can blame him for already dreaming of the Dodgers’ first Global Sequence identify since 1988.

“It’s laborious,’’ Kershaw stated, “to not take into consideration what that may really feel like. It is a nice alternative.’’

Clayton Kershaw earns the victory in Recreation 1 of the Global Sequence. (Picture: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports activities)

Kershaw, the best pitcher of his era with 3 Cy Younger awards and a profession 2.43 ERA, has had his long run Corridor of Repute profession scarred best through the ordinariness of his postseason. He had made 35 postseason appearances in his profession, together with 28 begins, however was once simply 11-12 with a four.31 ERA, and a five.40 ERA in 5 Global Sequence appearances.

Then, alongside got here this night time. His slider, which had deserted him within the greatest moments, was once again. His fastball had existence. His curveball was once breaking. The Rays swung and ignored 19 occasions in opposition to him, with the 50% strikeout price the perfect in any get started of his profession. The final 18 batters he confronted, he retired 17 of them, with best Kevin Kiermaier’s solo homer the one blemish. He joined Justin Verlander as the one pitchers in postseason historical past to strike out 200 batters.

Humorous how pitching for probably the most proficient crew in baseball — best the fourth within the divisional generation to have 3 former MVPs on a Global Sequence crew — can loosen up a glass. He not has the weight of getting to hold all the crew.

Merely, he can simply return to being himself, and watch his teammates paintings their magic, with the Dodgers turning into best the second one crew to attain 8 or extra runs in opposition to the Ray since Aug. 14.

“Whilst you’re on a super crew,’’ Kershaw stated, “it makes it more uncomplicated to have luck.’’

The present that helps to keep on giving for the Dodgers persevered to position on a display. Betts, bought in February in a heist from the Pink Sox, turned into the primary participant to homer, scouse borrow two bases and ranking two runs in a Global Sequence recreation. He joined Babe Ruth as the one gamers in Global Sequence historical past to scouse borrow two bases and draw a stroll in the similar inning.

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Betts, who signed a 12-year, $365 million extension before opening day in July,  was so spectacular that his teammates had trouble even identifying their favorite moment. Was it his opposite-field homer? His steal of third base? His steal of second base? His break to home on a ground ball to score a run?

“I like winning,’’ Betts said. “We’re here to win, man. You can tell.”

If the Dodgers didn’t have enough heroes, there was also Bellinger, who hit the game-winning home run in Game 7 of the NLCS over the Atlanta Braves, and dislocating his shoulder in an enthusiastic forearm bash with Kike’ Hernandez.

Bellinger, who told the doctors he wasn’t interested in a brace, let alone even tape, forgot all about his sore shoulder and let it rip in the fourth inning, hitting Rays starter Tyler Glasnow’s 98-mph fastball into the right-field seats.

When he crossed home plate, he pointed towards his shoulder, reminding his teammates he had to tame down the celebration. So, he played footsies, tapping his foot with each of his teammates, keeping his shoulder to his side, and laughing along the way.

“The toe tap, I think I’ll continue to do that,’’ Bellinger said, “maybe my whole career, who knows?”

Maybe it will become the next fad in baseball, with the B&B Boys (Bellinger and Betts) resurrecting memories of some of the greatest MVP tandems in postseason. They were only the fifth pair of former MVP winners to homer in the same World Series game.

“It’s why we’re all here,’’ Betts said, “and that’s to win a World Series.’’

The Dodgers certainly made that statement Tuesday — loud and clear.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

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