When the Dodgers take the field for Game 1 of the World Series tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, they will do so with their ace on the mound.
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw will start for L.A. and be opposed by Tampa Bay hard-throwing right-hander Tyler Glasnow.
It will be the fifth career World Series start for Kershaw, who was scratched from his Game 2 start of the National League Championship Series against Atlanta because of back spasms. The veteran southpaw did pitch Game 4 against the Braves and made it into the sixth inning. Kershaw began the playoffs by tossing eight scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 2 of the wild card series. He then held the San Diego Padres to three runs over six innings in Game 2 of the NLDS.
The Dodgers’ pitching plan after Game 1 is unclear. L.A.’s other four starters — Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Urías — all pitched in the NLCS’s final two games. Buehler logged six scoreless innings in Game 6 on Saturday, meaning he would pitch on three days’ rest Wednesday.
Kershaw finished the regular season with a 2.16 ERA, 62 strikeouts and only eight walks in 58⅓ innings and experienced a slight uptick in fastball velocity. Glasnow, 27, went 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 11 regular-season starts and has allowed eight runs in 13⅓ innings over his last three postseason appearances.
Las Vegas has the Dodgers as the favorites to win the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988. While the Dodgers have been wire-to-wire favorites this season, the Rays have been underdogs from the beginning. Tampa Bay entered the regular season as a midtier contender in sportsbooks’ eyes, with 18-1 odds to win the World Series. The Rays could be found as long as 30-1 as the playoffs began. They overcame the odds, though, knocking off the Yankees and the Houston Astros along the way to reach the franchise’s second World Series.
Entering the playoffs, the Dodgers had attracted 26% of the money wagered on the odds to win the World Series at William Hill. The Rays had attracted less than 3% of the money.
The Dodgers are around -170 favorites over the Rays in Game 1 tonight.