LOS ANGELES — If this series is a preview of the World Series, give me more. The Yankees and the Dodgers in October would be epic.
Just listen to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after his team snuck away with a 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Saturday at a packed Dodger Stadium in a thrilling nine innings of baseball that had just about a little bit of everything — including struggling closer Kenley Jansen escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam by striking out Mike Tauchman and Gary Sanchez to end the game.
“It’s two very good ballclubs, there’s a lot of talent all over the field,’’ Roberts said after the Dodgers evened the Players’ Weekend series at 1-1. “There are veterans that play the game the right way and some young players that are going to be the future of this game. Two great iconic storied franchises, you can feel the emotion, the energy from both dugouts, as well as the stadium, so it’s a rubber match tomorrow. We got our guy going tomorrow evening.’’
That would be Clayton Kershaw versus Domingo German on “Sunday Night Baseball.”
Roberts was just getting warmed up, and remember, he has been in the past two World Series so he knows what it takes.
“I think I try to do a good job of not trying to get too far ahead about talking about World Series, but with respect to the fans and everything,’’ he added, “it would be incredible.’’
Roberts referred to this weekend series as a war.
“And now,’’ he said, “we’ll see who wins the war [Sunday].’’
An old rivalry is brewing again and that is good for baseball, a coast-vs.-coast battle. Fantastic.
Somehow the Dodgers survived that ninth inning that featured a review at second base after Brett Gardner, who was ruled safe on review, slid hard into second base and hit Max Muncy. Muncy was hurt on the play and time was called, not allowing Gleyber Torres to score from third with what would have been the tying run.
Later, Muncy said he did hurt his ankle but admitted there was a bit of acting on his part to stay down. He stayed in the game.
So it goes. All is fair in love and war.
The Yankees still had two outs to go to tie or go ahead, and Jansen, mixing his pitches more to make his cutter more effective, did a sparkling job to get out of the jam. He said he owns a whole new approach to the game — he will not get angry and will enjoy the moment.
“Be happy,’’ is how he put it. He came to this conclusion after a talk with ex-Met Justin Turner, who supplied the two runs that beat the Yankees with a third-inning home run off CC Sabathia. Aaron Judge hit a monster fourth-inning solo home run to center for the Yankees’ only run.
The Dodgers are trying to learn from the Yankees. Roberts made that clear before the game after the Yankees bashed the Dodgers, 10-2, Friday night.
“It’s actually really fun to watch their team approach, really good players, guys hunting pitchers, guys having a plan,” Roberts said. “If you don’t execute [as a pitcher] you can get hurt and that’s where have to sequence, you have to change eye levels, you can’t be afraid to throw your fastball.’’
Young starter Tony Gonsolin and three relievers — Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez and Jansen — did just that Saturday. About the only thing Roberts was not happy with was the all-white uniforms the Dodgers were forced to wear by MLB.
“It’s not our finest moment, wearing these all-white, milkman uniforms,” Roberts said.
That ninth inning also featured a first out when Didi Gregorius twice tried to beat the shift with bunts down the third-base line against Jansen. Both went foul. The second foul came on a 3-2 count, so it was strike three.
Jansen commended Gregorius for such a play, though, saying it took “big balls” to try to bunt for a hit there.
“That’s the Curacao way,’’ said Jansen, who is also from Curacao like Gregorius. “We’ll try anything to beat you.’’
Even acting. It was that kind of game. That kind of excitement.
Bring it on in October, too.
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