HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Dodgers refused to be pushed to the brink of World Series elimination on Saturday, beating Houston in Game Four to tie it up at 2-2, and LA ace Clayton Kershaw is looking forward to the challenge of trying to put his team back in the driver’s seat.
Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher of his generation, delivered a lights-out performance in the World Series opener but will take the mound on Sunday with even more on the line after Saturday’s 6-2 win left the series delicately poised.
“Everybody wants to be that guy to right the ship. So sometimes it will fall on me, for sure,” said Kershaw. “I’m going to be ready to go, and looking forward to that challenge.”
The Dodgers, competing in their first World Series since winning it in 1988, blew open a tight game on Saturday for a win that means the title will be decided on their home field.
Los Angeles have never really been on their heels all year until coming up against the Astros, who had gone seven games unbeaten at home in the postseason coming into Saturday.
After breezing through a regular season in which they spent 98 days on top of their division, the Dodgers eased past their first two playoff opponents, including a convincing win over the defending champion Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series.
The Astros had the most potent offense in the majors this year and just three fewer wins than the Dodgers but in the playoffs their hitters have failed to consistently showcase the identity they forged in the regular season.
They have started to look much more like themselves since their bats came alive in the latter stages of a wild Game Two, however. A game where they rallied late with four home runs to win.
“I think they’re a great team,” said Kershaw. “They have a lot of guys that swing the bats really well.
Kershaw, who has often struggled in the playoffs, took a big step in rewriting his postseason legacy when he got the better of the Astros in Game One where the left-hander struck out 11 over seven innings at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw said that Sunday could not come soon enough.
“It’s almost more nerve-wracking watching on the bench, because you feel a little bit helpless and you want us to have success so bad. So there’s that part of it,” said Kershaw.
“But other than facing the same team again in an (American League) park and trying to figure out what to change, what not to change, how to change approaches, things like that, other than that the mindset is just about the same.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford