Alexander: For Dodgers, one victory away from ending the wait

One more victory to a World Series championship, and two chances to get it. Did you ever think the Dodgers would reach that point?

They’re there. They have a chance to turn the devastating insanity of Saturday night’s ninth inning into a footnote. They have an opportunity to end a 32-season drought, and particularly to wipe away the frustration of the last seven Octobers with teams that were good enough to win, and in some cases should have won, but didn’t.

On Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas, Tony Gonsolin will start what is expected to be a bullpen game, and before Dodger fans throw up their hands let’s recall that a bullpen game got the Dodgers to the World Series in Game 7 of the NLCS against Atlanta, although it will be hard to envision them getting another 12 outs from Julio Urias just three days after his Game 4 start against Tampa Bay. But it’s possible.

And if they need a Game 7, they will have Walker Buehler. Do you like their chances to win one of the next two?

(Yes, smart guy in the back of the room, we hear you saying it might depend on whether they can keep the bullpen phone on mute. But Dave Roberts’ moves worked over the last three innings on Sunday night, so you might want to keep that snark under wraps for the moment.)

The Dodgers’ first task Sunday was to erase the memories of Saturday night, and the Tampa Bay Rays’ two-run rally in the ninth to even the series. Three runs in the first two innings on Sunday helped. But really, there shouldn’t have been much doubt in their ability to recover from Saturday night’s ninth-inning gut punch, the end of a weird, wild and ultimately discouraging game.

“Everybody (in the clubhouse) was pretty positive,” shortstop Corey Seager said before the game. “You have to be at this point. Once you (left) the locker room, it was over with. We started preparing for today.

“… (Saturday) night was an extremely weird ending and kind of the whole play in general. It wasn’t just that last play. It was throughout the game, there were points where we could have been better.”

But this is the mantra Roberts has preached to his team all along, since he became the Dodgers’ manager in 2016, and as is often the case with a manager or coach, you can tell it sinks in when the players repeat the things he says. To those in the Dodger clubhouse, it is all about winning a baseball game today, and nothing else matters.

“It makes it easier (to shrug off adversity), but it’s not easy to do,” Roberts said. “I think that past successes or failures, things looking out, sort of bleed into kind of a player’s psyche and a team psyche. But that is a message that we believe in. And so now when you can kind of drown out all that other stuff, past and future, it does make it easier to focus on that night’s ball game.

“And (Sunday night) there were 28 players collectively focused on winning tonight. And we got it done.”

Of course, there’s always the baseball adage that momentum more often lies in the identity of that day’s starting pitcher. It has not always been a given in October that Clayton Kershaw would provide that momentum, but in facing the Rays for the second time in five days he did. His six strikeouts pushed him past Justin Verlander into No. 1 all-time for postseason strikeouts, with 207, and he left the bullpen with a two-run lead that Dustin May, Victor González and Blake Treinen took to the finish line.

Should the Dodgers pull this off, the vindication of Kershaw the postseason performer should be front and center. He came into this year with a 4.43 career postseason ERA, as well as the memories of all of those home runs surrendered in big games.

In five postseason starts this season, he is 4-1, compared to his career won-loss record of 9-11 going into these playoffs. His ERA this fall is 2.93, compared to that 4.43. His WHIP is 0.847, compared to 1.074.

A lot of that has been the result of more reasonable usage. He has not had to go on short rest, he has not been needed out of the bullpen, and Roberts said he thinks those factors have helped.

“To his credit, he will do whatever we ask,” the manager said. “And I just don’t know many pitchers who would do that. But in this situation, in this case, we’ve used him kind of more conventional (fashion). And he’s responded really well. So we’re just very lucky to have him and I couldn’t be happier that the postseason he’s had mirrors who he is as a pitcher. He deserves it and it’s great.”

Kershaw acknowledged that those moments of watching the bullpen finish his games can be difficult, not because of the relievers’ success necessarily but because sitting and watching is harder than being able to do something about it yourself.

“I was talking to some of the guys, Walker and some of the other starters,” he said. “The actual day that you pitch, you feel like you can have some say, some control of the game. But sitting there in the dugout watching the last few innings or watching a whole game, for that matter, it’s so stressful in the postseason, especially just because you care so much.”

But if the waiting was hard before, imagine what the break between Games 5 and 6 will be like, one win away.

“The off day’s gonna be hard,” he said. “It’s going to be good for us, obviously resetting our bullpen and things like that, which is huge. But sitting around one win away from a World Series is going to be hard, especially when you’ve been in the same hotel for four weeks now.

“But, you know, I think we can wait one more day and we’ll all be ready to go. Game six, I mean, for myself personally, I’m still gonna try and get ready, try and recover as best I can and be ready to pitch at any moment, just because it’s the last two games of this season.”

If he’s not needed, so much the better. Either way, whatever happens promises to be memorable.

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Don’t waste a vote on Trump or Biden, cast a vote for liberty

I can comfortably project that my former law school friend and moot court colleague at Syracuse Law School, Joe Biden, will carry the presidential vote in California.

Given that, I say that if your non-Biden vote is not cast for the Republican this year, it would be far more impactful if you are so tired of the crazy divisions and angst in today’s American politics.

A vote for President Trump, whether you like it or not, believe it or not, happens to be the proverbial wasted vote this time.

So, if you are concerned about wasting your vote (which I as a Libertarian have been hearing about for decades now), or if you are just dissatisfied with the results of your past voting ventures for years now, you might finally consider and make a change in your pattern of voting — or at least you should.

Republican or Democrat, name your poison: Both of those parties raise our taxes, continue to steal our freedoms and are totally out of touch with most of us, especially if we are not insiders or big-time donors.

But you need to know that disgruntled voters really don’t have to settle and vote for the lesser of two evils. Some of you know that you actually do have a choice, much to the chagrin of those currently in power.

Jo Jorgenson is running for president on the ballots in all 50 states and D.C. as we speak, and is the very candidate that so many of you have been yearning and wishing for for years when clamoring for a third party or a new one.

So who the heck is Jo Jorgensen, and why haven’t I heard more about him before?

Well, first of all Jo’s a she, Joanne at birth, but Jo has been her name for years, and as a tenured professor at Clemson University today. Secondly, the powers running the show apparently don’t want anyone to know about Jo Jorgensen, Libertarians, the Libertarian Part and as little as possible about our libertarian roots of this nation as depicted in the words of the first half of the Declaration of Independence.

So, if you might finally just happen to be interested in knowing and understanding what the LP is and represents, you might go to and actually see a real political party platform, not your typical made-up list of stuff invented solely to catch votes and voters every two to four years.

And know that the Libertarian Party platform has changed very little since its inception in 1971, stressing individual liberty, free markets, defending Americans in America (actually end wars and bring the troops home), ending the tyranny of the Federal Reserve on citizens’ financial security, immediately ending the long-ago failed war on drugs. The LP seeks to prosecute white-collar criminals who are systematically transferring wealth, property and power from honest middle-class people to the so-called titans of industry who possess unparalleled influence over government at all levels. Jo Jorgensen advocates the end of the crony capitalism of the GOP, and the restoration of everyone’s civil rights.

Finally, you might recall that it has been the Democrats and Republicans in Congress who have stuck American citizens with a debt somewhere around $27 trillion now, along with an ever-expanding federal government, perpetual war, madness in public policy and now an imminent police state as a result of their ever-shifting draconian COVID-19 policies.

It’s way past the time to stop wasting your votes on the two dangerously self-serving statist parties, and actually choose freedom over fear or habit in these trying times, for a change.

Elect Libertarian Jo Jorgensen to be the first female president ever, on Nov. 3, 2020. Frankly, I submit that this presidential election is far too important this time to vote for yet another Republican or Democrat for president. Because if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Richard Boddie is a member of the Southern California News Group’s editorial board.

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California needs a better election system

On April 28, the Election Integrity Project California notified Secretary of State Alex Padilla that its analysis of the state’s official voter registration file found more than 458,000 registered voters who were going to be mailed a ballot even though they had likely died or moved.

None of these registered voters had voted or updated their registration since November 2008 or earlier, and 178,000 had never voted, yet all remained classified as “active” voters.

EIPCa’s data analysts also found that 24,000 Californians were likely to be mailed two or more ballots, because they have more than one registration each.

So Padilla can’t say he wasn’t warned.

Last week, EIPCa sent findings to Padilla documenting that California mailed out 440,000 “questionable” ballots in this election. Nearly 420,000 were mailed to people who have likely moved or died, and two to four ballots were mailed to each of 20,000 voters. For example, in Alameda County, a woman with three active registrations was mailed three ballots. She registered three times in 2020 using three different registration methods.

Padilla’s VoteCal database system is supposed to prevent that from happening.

“Earlier this year, the Secretary repeatedly rejected similar findings, despite the risks of universal mail voting with a bloated voter list,” said EIPCa president Linda Paine. She encouraged candidates and political parties to obtain EIPCa’s report on questioned ballots and work with local election officials to make sure only lawful votes are counted.

California’s 58 counties mailed out a total of more than 21 million ballots for the Nov. 3 election. It’s the first time every voter has received a vote-by-mail ballot, and this presents many challenges. It’s especially difficult for the U.S. Postal Service, which isn’t set up to meet specific delivery deadlines on bulk mail or postage-paid return mail. That partially explains the near-hysterical public service announcements urging everyone to vote early.

People shouldn’t have to vote early if they prefer to vote on Election Day, and voters shouldn’t be subjected to an official campaign of fear, spreading the message that voting at the polls may be difficult, unsafe or too crowded to accommodate everyone.

More fear-mongering is coming from the fight between the Republican Party and Democratic elected officials over ballot “harvesting.” This is the practice of collecting vote-by-mail ballots from willing voters who have completed, sealed and signed them.

The California Republican Party placed metal mailbox-style boxes at various locations, including churches, gun stores and campaign offices. Except for the fact that some of these containers were incorrectly labeled “Official” ballot drop-boxes, this is completely legal. Assembly Bill 1921, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, ended a bunch of old-fashioned “safeguards” that had been put in place to ensure election integrity. For example, it once was illegal in California for anyone working or volunteering for a group, organization or campaign to deliver someone else’s ballot for them.

Under AB1921, a voter may give his or her ballot to any person who offers to deliver it to election officials. Campaigns can collect ballots. So can political parties, unions and other organizations. The person who is going to deliver the ballot is supposed to sign in a designated place on the ballot return envelope, but state law says counties may not refuse to accept a ballot solely because the person returning it failed to sign the envelope. (The voter must sign.)

In addition to unofficial ballot drop-boxes, there are official ballot drop-boxes where voters can deposit their completed ballots. This was yet another reform that purportedly would make it easier and more convenient to vote.

One problem with these unattended outdoor drop-boxes became evident last weekend when somebody lit a piece of newspaper on fire and stuffed it into a ballot drop-box in Baldwin Park. L.A. County officials estimated that about 200 ballots were inside, damaged to varying degrees by fire and water.

California voters who want to be sure that they’re still registered correctly can check at Voters who want to be sure their ballot was delivered and counted can sign up for ballot tracking at

Of course, technology isn’t perfect. When I checked the “Where’s My Ballot” site, this is what came up: “Hi! If you are seeing this page, BallotTrax is undergoing necessary maintenance that required us to bring part of the system down. We are working on bringing the system back as fast as possible.” And then it thanked me for my “patience and understanding.”

Here’s an idea for a revolutionary election reform to solve the problems of bloated voter lists, foreign or domestic hacking, excessive burdens on the USPS and delays due to crowds at the polls.

Under this plan, we will vote at assigned locations in our neighborhoods on Election Day. To make sure there is no electronic tampering, we will sign in on a printed paper roster of registered voters, and we will vote using ink on a paper ballot that can be recounted and reviewed later. As in other states, we will show a photo ID at the polling place so no one can impersonate anyone else and illegally vote their ballot. While anyone may request a vote-by-mail ballot, it will only be mailed after they request it, and it may only be returned by mail, by the voter, or by a family or household member.

This will be the perfect system for California. Paper is the only technology that still works when the power goes out.

Susan Shelley is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. Twitter: @Susan_Shelley

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Driver in custody after 2-vehicle crash leaves man dead in Anaheim; DUI suspected

ANAHEIM — A man died after his Honda sedan collided with another vehicle in Anaheim just before 9 p.m. Saturday.

First responders found him unconscious at East Ball Road and South Belhaven Street, near Anaheim Fire & Rescue Station 7, and pronounced him dead at the scene.

No other injuries were reported in connection with the crash.

The other motorist, a woman suspected of driving under the influence, was taken into custody by police, according to Sgt. Jacob Gallacher of the Anaheim Police Department.

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Whicker: Dodgers derailed by a gust of craziness in an ‘un-perfect storm’

Because baseball turned into pinball, we’re thinking more about Mookie Wilson than Mookie Betts.

Because Chris Taylor took a peek at the action and looked away from the baseball, Clayton Kershaw is pitching to tilt a world Series on Sunday, not to win it.

Because Will Smith decided to maneuver a baseball before he actually caught it, Kenley Jansen remains associated with bumps in the night instead of strike-three handshakes.

None of that fully explains the runaway train of a Game 4 on Saturday that suddenly crashed into the Bad News Bears.

The Dodgers were one strike away from taking a 3-1 lead in this World Series. Just one fewer misplay would have kept the score tied. Instead, Brett Phillips singled with two out on Jansen’s 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth, and suddenly we were all attending a night at the Improv. Whose game is it anyway? Two runs scored and made it Tampa Bay’s game, 8-7, and now the Dodgers have to win two out of three to nail down their first world championship since Ronald Reagan was President.

Baseball, there you go again.

“It was an un-perfect storm,” said Dave Roberts, the Dodgers manager, who could not stifle his frustration and anger at the moment the Jenga tower crashed down.

In 1986 Bill Buckner allowed Wilson’s grounder to roll through his legs, and the Red Sox lost a chance to win their first World Series since 1918. That was a one-car pileup. This was a chain reaction on the freeway.

The Dodgers had methodically answered every Tampa Bay comeback to get to the bottom of the ninth with a 7-6 lead. Corey Seager had picked up four hits, Joc Pederson had produced a two-run, two-out, go-ahead hit as a pinch-hitter, and Seager had floated an RBI single in the eighth to give L.A. the last lead it would presumably need.

Brusdar Graterol had bustled in and overpowered the Rays in the eighth. That summoned Jansen to pitch the ninth. That, of course, sparked a cacophonous Greek chorus of second-guessing toward Roberts, but the truth is that if Roberts messed anything up, it was his insistence on using Pedro Baez and watching him give up two go-ahead and tying home runs to left-handed hitters in consecutive innings.

The Dodgers had lifted Roberts off that hook. Jansen has been throwing well. He did on Saturday, too.

Jansen shattered enough wood on Kevin Kiermaier’s base hit to build a mousetrap. Kiermaier stood on first base with the handle in his hand and not much else. Then Jansen walked Arozarena, which isn’t ideal when he is the winning run. Still, there were two outs when Phillips comes up.

Phillips was a .202 hitter this season. He is a former Astro/Brewer/Royal who came to Tampa Bay on Aug. 27 and hadn’t had a hit since Sept. 25. He was left off the ALCS roster and would have been couch-bound in a normal year when only 25 men get dressed for the playoffs.

Folks in Lancaster might remember him as a scorching hitter for the JetHawks in 2015. But here he was just a guy who would stand on the dugout’s top step and write “Randy Good Player” on his clipboard after Arozarena would hit his daily home run in the playoffs. Later, Phillips would write, “Randy>Your Favorite Player.”

But now he was standing, unsmiling, on the bridge. Jansen’s cutter was sharp when he got to that 1-and-2 count. The 92 mph fastball that followed was straight. Phillips got a legitimate single, and then the world stopped turning.

Taylor was in center. Cody Bellinger was DH-ing because of back spasms. Taylor basically won an NLCS as a center fielder in 2018 when he dived to catch Christian Yelich’s drive in Milwaukee. He has no problem playing there.

Kiermaier was scoring, but Taylor was looking for Arozarena. The ball snow-coned in his webbing and then scooted away, and Arozarena was so excited that he hit high gear, coming around third, and … fell.

Yeah, he just went backside-over-teakettle halfway down the line, in front of coach Ozzie Timmons. But Smith didn’t know that.

Cutoff man Max Muncy made the throw, and Smith was already thinking about the sweep tag he needed to execute. The game wasn’t slowing down for him, either. He swept, and the ball bounced off his mitt as Arozarena was trying to figure out what to do. Jansen was not backing up Smith on the play. The ball rolled to the place where bad Dodger losses are stored. Arozarena went in head-first and pounded the home plate with his right hand, like a wrestling referee counting out a victim.

Phillips was one of the few who saw none of that. He had no idea what happened to Arozarena.

“All I know is that I’ve got a blazing headache right now,” Phillips said. “I just got a hit and started running and now all the boys are happy. It’s the most excited I’ve been since the day I got married.”

The Dodgers have scored 25 runs in these four games and won two of them. They keep beating up on the Rays’ best relievers. They get fine starting pitching, at least for as long as Roberts will let those starters pitch. Julio Arias had eight strikeouts in 4-2/3 innings, but he gave up two solo home runs and was gone.

“We’ll do what we always do,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “After every game, we go back and evaluate what happened. It’s going to be the same way here.”

Nothing will be the same as this.

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Bill Cunerty, former Saddleback College coach and high school football broadcaster, dies from Parkinson’s disease

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Former Saddleback College football and golf coach Bill Cunerty, who also became a beloved broadcaster of high school football games and a guru for future NFL quarterbacks, died Thursday, Oct. 22, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, his wife, Claudia, said.

Cunerty, 74, was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system in April of 2017 and had been in hospice care for more than a year, said Claudia, his wife of 51 years and caretaker during his health battle.

“He was a strong Christian,” she said. “He knew he was going to heaven.”

Cunerty’s unique connection with Orange County sports spanned more than 40 years and showcased his array of talents and passions.

The Mission Viejo resident was a state championship-winning coach in three different sports at Saddleback College. He was the football coach at Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills high schools and served as commentator for high school sports with COX 3, a cable television affiliate that covered schools from Tustin to San Clemente.

Cunerty also was a highly-regarded private quarterback coach, former president of the Southern California Golf Association and a successful high school English teacher.

“Everything he touched turned to gold,” said longtime friend Bob Janko, who met Cunerty around 1969 at North Torrance High. “He’s just an intelligent man and very personable. He kids loved playing for him.”

Cunerty arrived at North Torrance, his alma mater, to teach and coach football, Janko said. A former football and baseball player at USC, Cunerty soon began to climb the coaching rankings.

He coached North Torrance’s football program from 1969 to 1973.

Cunerty became Dana Hills’ football coach in 1975 and Capistrano Valley’s first coach two years later.

Cunerty’s staff at Capistrano Valley, Janko said, included a trio of future coaching stars for the Cougars: Dick Enright and Eric Patton in football, and Bob Zamora, who became a legendary baseball coach.

Cunerty had his most coaching success at Saddleback College. He was a longtime quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for the Gauchos and took the head coaching reins for three seasons after the retirement of the legendary Ken Swearingen.

Cunerty led the Gauchos to an undefeated season and national title in 1996. He resigned in 1998 because of heath reasons.

Cunerty survived two battles with colon cancer and two heart attacks, Claudia said.

He also coached Saddleback College’s men’s and women’s golf teams to state titles, becoming the first community college coach in California to win state titles in three different sports. He led the men’s golf team to six state crowns.

“He loved coaching and teaching,” Claudia said of her husband, a member of the state community college hall of fame.

Cunerty, a journalism major at USC, also was a fixture at the biggest high school games as a broadcaster with COX 3. Teaming with Kevin Turner and former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo, Cunerty was quick to praise players while mixing in his coaching insights, stories and humor.

His last broadcast was the O.C. all-star football game in the summer of 2017.

“He was a true community gem,” said Turner, who worked with Cunerty for 14 years. “We’re all blessed to have known him. He’s the most incredible ambassador of high school sports in Southern California.”

Sad news: Ex-Saddleback College football coach, QB guru, star broadcaster, fighter, and family man Bill Cunerty, left, has died
There was no better ambassador for O.C. High School Sports than Cunerty (partner Kevin Turner, right) #RIPCoachCunerty @ocvarsity @SteveFryer

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) October 24, 2020

The Orange County football community also knew Cunerty as a private quarterback guru.

He coached with West Coast Passing School for years and tutored many of the area’s best passers. From Todd Marinovich to Matt Barkley to his final protege, Nathan Manning, Cunerty — a former quarterback himself — helped many athletes.

“Such a great teacher,” said Tom Shine, one of Cunerty’s closest friends and a former football and golf coach at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon colleges. “He just had that gift.”

Cunerty’s affable personalty, communication skills and knowledge also led him to become a trainer for quarterback prospects preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine. He worked with Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo — who faced off in the Super Bowl last season — and Andrew Luck, among others.

Cunerty’s presence also was highly-sought off the football field.

About 18 years ago, he officiated the wedding of Shine’s daughter, Jamie, to her husband Rick. Cunerty completed training to fulfill the role, Shine said.

“And he was awesome,” Shine said, “just like he did everything else.”

Cunerty is survived by his wife, daughter Kelly, son-in-law Cameron, daughter Shannon, son-in-law Ben, three grandchildren and sister Patty. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but Claudia said the family plans to stream the memorial live.

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High school schedules: Brea Olinda football

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Coach: Robb Perrance

League: North Hills

(Schedules subject to change)

Jan. 8 vs. Sonora at La Habra HS, 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 vs. Valencia, 7 p.m.

Jan. 22 vs. Sunny Hills at Buena Park HS, 7 p.m.

Jan. 29 vs. Fullerton, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 at Buena Park, 7 p.m.

Feb. 13 vs. Villa Park at El Modena HS, 3 p.m.

Feb. 19 vs. El Modena, 7 p.m.

Feb. 26 vs. Canyon*,  7 p.m.

March 5 vs. Esperanza* at Yorba Linda HS, 7 p.m.

March 12 vs. El Dorado*, 7 p.m.

*League game

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Whicker: Brandon Lowe, as in pow, gives Rays the power surge they need

First off, it’s Brandon Lowe, rhymes with “Somehow.” For most of this playoff grind he has been trying to get a hit somehow.

He was 0 for 18 in five games against the Yankees and 4 for 26 in seven games against Houston. He was the final member of the American League champions to remove the cloak of anonymity that tends to shroud members of the Tampa Bay Rays, thanks to where they play and how relatively little they get paid and how few fans bother to see them.

Snap judgments are dangerous in baseball. Judgments over 60 games are, too, just to pick a number. Lowe piled up 14 home runs and 57 RBIs, and his OPS of .916 led the team. It was difficult to believe the Rays could win three series basically without him, but each time they did, they threw him a lifeline.

“Back in college (Maryland) I used to beat myself up pretty bad,” Lowe said. “I try not to do that anymore. I’ve learned to handle that through the years of baseball. It doesn’t matter if I go 5 for 5 with five homers or 0 for 5 with five strikeouts. Once I get home and see my wife, it flushes the day.

“But I wasn’t feeling that good. To say my mind wasn’t going in a lot of different directions, I’d be lying to you. Still, as soon as I’d start dragging my feet, someone would come along and tell me to get it going.”

Lowe was hitting in the No. 2 spot on Wednesday night, as the Rays bravely showed up at Globe Life Park after an 8-3 beating at the hands of the Dodgers on Tuesday. To get behind would be inadvisable. Leadoff man Austin Meadows popped up, and Lowe got to 3-and-1 against Tony Gonsolin and slapped a 95 mph fastball over the fence in left-center. As if he was trying to catch up on delinquent payments, Lowe came up in the fifth and hit Dustin May’s 0-and-2 slider over the same fence. That made it 3-0, and even though the Dodgers replied with homers by Corey Seager and Chris Taylor, Tampa Bay would not trail again.

The 6-4 victory evened the World Series and set up a hotel-bound off day in Arlington, Texas, rather than the cross-country charter flight from LAX to Tampa. It will not be a sleepless morning for Lowe.

“It was pure joy when I got back in the dugout,” Lowe said, referring to the ice-breaking home run. “(Manager Kevin) Cash didn’t say anything to me. I kinda liked that. He just acted like I’ve been hitting home runs for the last couple of weeks.”

There is no such thing as a typical Ray, considering how often management plays 52-card pick up with its roster. But Lowe is the type of “asset” the franchise seeks. He was a third-round pick from Maryland, a player who fought through two bad leg injuries to earn All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. Then he became the best player in the Class A Florida State League, and last year the Rays made their own singular kind of commitment to him – a six-year, $24 million contract.

It fits in with the Everyman vibe, which dovetails neatly into a we’ll-show-you mindset. Lowe was asked about what he learned from the nature of his two home runs, where the pitches came from and where he sent them, and he just shook his head.

“When you’re 5-foot-11 like me you’re not too worried about hitting home runs,” Lowe said. “I’m out there against guys throwing 99 mph two-seamers. I’m just trying to hit the ball somewhere.

“But we knew this Series wasn’t over. We only lost one game, and we knew we were coming out here with a Hall of Fame pitcher on the mound tonight.”

Whether Blake Snell actually sees the Hall without buying a ticket is unknown, but the lefty is a former Cy Young Award winner and he muffled the Dodgers with well-placed heat and a slider/curve combination that piled up eight strikeouts in the first four hitless innings.

However, Cash has a zero-tolerance policy toward his starters – i.e., he only tolerates zeroes – and the bullpen got warm when Snell walked Kiké Hernandez with two out and then Chris Taylor pounded a two-run homer. After Mookie Betts walked and Seager singled, Snell was gone without a chance for a win.

Nick Anderson came in to strike out Justin Turner, which is tough to do during October RBI situations, and the Rays added to their cushion.

Gonsolin and Dustin May, supposedly two of the Dodgers’ future starting pillars, absorbed most of the flak. Manager Dave Roberts admitted he’s pushing Gonsolin and May into “uncharted territory,”  but it’s difficult to pitch when you’re on top of a trap door.

“It’s a big ask to be quite frank,” Roberts said. “People have to adjust to certain roles. But both of them are going to have to make pitches.”

Roberts did say Julio Urias will start Game 4 after he served as the late-inning hammer in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Braves.

Those inside baseball knew this wouldn’t be a walkover series. The Rays know this is the very best place to make a name, or to clarify one.

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World Series Game 2 updates: Tony Gonsolin to start for Dodgers

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin will start Game 2 of the World Series against the Rays on Wednesday.

Gonsolin produced a short outing as the NLCS Game 7 starter on Sunday. Blake Snell will start for the Rays.

The Dodgers’ bats came alive Tuesday and provided Clayton Kershaw with support to take a 1-0 series lead against Tampa Bay.

Kershaw, the veteran left-hander, struck out eight and allowed one run over six innings in an 8-3 victory.


When: Tuesday, 5:08 p.m. PST

Where: Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas

TV: FOX (Ch. 11)

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Alexander: Dodgers’ Mookie Betts delivers a Ruthian performance

If the baseball fans of New England hadn’t already been experiencing enough anguish watching Mookie Betts spearhead a postseason run in Dodger blue, Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night probably made them even sicker.

Betts became the first player in World Series history to score two runs, steal two bases and hit a home run in the same game in the Dodgers’ 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Betts stole second and third in the fifth, the latter the front end of a double steal with Corey Seager, and then broke for home on Max Muncy’s grounder to first with the infield in and beat Yandy Díaz’s throw home, a bit of daring that touched off a four-run inning and turned a 2-1 game into a 6-1 game. An inning later, he hit reliever Josh Fleming’s first pitch over the right field fence, a 349-foot shot that extended the lead to 7-1.

Oh, but there was also this. Betts became the first man to walk and score two bases in the same inning in a World Series game since a fellow named Babe Ruth did so for the Yankees against the New York Giants in 1921. (Fifth inning of Game 2 at the Polo Grounds, to be precise.)

First observation: How crazy a world is this when a man’s home run isn’t Ruthian but his stolen bases are?

Second observation: That encompasses two of the worst baseball transactions in Boston history in one sentence. If you know a Red Sox fan, he or she could probably use a kind word or two about now.

But it’s evident to anyone who watches the Dodgers play, and more so if you watch Betts night in and night out: This club, following that early February trade, is better equipped to win the World Series than it has been at any point in the last 32 years.

“The pressure Mookie puts on other teams is huge for us,” catcher Austin Barnes said. “We felt it before, you know, when we played (him) in the (2018) World Series. He’s bringing a different element to the game for us.”

Clayton Kershaw, who punched a hole in his own postseason narrative Tuesday night with a relentlessly efficient six innings (two hits, one run, eight strikeouts and a slider that was meh in the first inning and masterful in the last five), was asked if, when his team is playing up to its capability, anybody else could beat it.

“I mean, if we play at our best, no,” he said via Zoom. “I think we are the best team and I think our clubhouse believes that. There’s going to be certain times when we get beat, and that happens. But as a collective group, if everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing and playing the way they’re supposed to. I don’t see how that can happen.”

There are the big things Betts provides, like the home run, or the stolen bases, or the crazy good defensive plays he keeps making in right field.

And there are the little things, things that go unseen by the public but not unnoticed by his team.

Case in point: It was late when the Dodgers finished off the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series on Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, nearly 11 p.m. when the game ended and well after that when the team got back to its hotel.

A large number of players congregated in one of the outdoor spaces on the hotel grounds and, Justin Turner said Monday, “were talking baseball, talking about the series that we just went through and, you know, different situations and different plays that came up. Although I think we were trying to celebrate it a little bit, everyone’s mind just went straight back to baseball.”

Said Betts: “It definitely showed that we’re here to win, man. And just in those conversations, you can tell. You can tell. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

And that Monday, for an optional workout on the one day off between series, both buses were at full capacity.

That commitment starts with the leadership of veterans Betts and Turner. It might go all the way back to the address Betts gave in the clubhouse during the first week of spring training, when he emphasized the importance of that ring and described what kind of effort it would take to get one.

He related Tuesday night that he’d given himself one of those pep talks after he’d come in second to Mike Trout in the American League MVP race in 2016.

“I knew it was going to be tough for me to repeat that or get better,” he recalled. “And I think I told myself, ‘I just want to be consistent.’

“Watching the greats play, they’re all just really consistent. You know, they hit their home runs constantly, are driving in runs constantly, walk constantly, make good plays constantly. That’s not just one and then a long period of time before another one. You just have to be good at all aspects of the game all the time. Don’t take plays off. And I think 2016 was when I told myself, that’s what I want to do.”

This is why the Dodgers traded for him. This is why they made sure he couldn’t get away by giving him a 12-year, $365 million extension the day before this shortened season began.

It might already be the best money they’ve ever committed to. Three more victories, and there will be no doubt.

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