ARLINGTON, Texas – Since Orel Hershiser struck out Oakland’s Tony Phillips for the final out of the 1988 World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have played 5,014 regular-season games and 113 more in the postseason in pursuit of their next title. They have spent $3.69 billion in player payroll over 32 seasons.
One more win and that elusive seventh championship will be theirs.
“I think it’s going to be really welcoming to the players, this generation,” Hershiser said Monday, a day before the Dodgers take a 3-2 World Series lead into Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays. “It’s definitely a generational win for this group of guys and I’m thinking of the Kenley Jansens, the Clayton Kershaws, the Justin Turners, the guys that have been here through all the division titles.”
Kershaw got his second win of the Series on Sunday, and Tony Gonsolin starts Tuesday against the Rays’ Blake Snell. The rookie right-hander hopes to keep the World Series from reaching a Game 7 for the fourth time in five years.
If Tampa Bay manages to win, Walker Buehler would start Game 7 for the Dodgers on Wednesday and Charlie Morton for the Rays in the finale of the first neutral-site Series.
Gonsolin was used as an opener in Game 2, allowing Brandon Lowe’s first-inning homer, lasting just four outs and taking the loss as the Rays won 6-4. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he views the 25-year-old right-hander as a traditional starter this time through and hopes for five or six innings from him.
“It’s mostly an eye test because he’s shown that when he’s rolling, he gets lefties, righties out. When he’s not, you can see that he’s not on point,” Roberts said. “I think for me, it’s just let Tony go until he’s not being as effective as we feel he should be.”
Los Angeles, with a big league-leading payroll of $95.6 million in the pandemic-shortened season, has outplayed the low-budget Rays, 28th among the 30 teams at $29.3 million. The Dodgers have outscored the Rays 29-21, outhit them .264 to .228 and outhomered them 11-8 with an offense led by Corey Seager (.471, two homers, four RBIs), Max Muncy (.389, six RBIs) and Justin Turner (.364).