A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
The Dodgers were so good in Game 1 of the World Series, they helped themselves for Game 2. Top relievers Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol should all be fresh for a bullpen game against Tampa Bay after they weren’t needed in an 8-3 win Tuesday. Manager Dave Roberts will try to stitch together nine innings with a flurry of arms after the Dodgers burned through most of their rotation closing out the NL Championship Series against Atlanta over the weekend.
Tony Gonsolin will pitch first for LA, but after throwing 41 pitches Sunday, his leash figures to be short. Jansen has more blown saves (three) than conversions (two) in two previous World Series and also struggled this fall, but he seemed to have himself righted by the end of the NLCS.
The Rays have 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell tabbed for Game 2. Manager Kevin Cash — uncharacteristically slow to pull starter Tyler Glasnow in Game 1 — also has fresh arms in the bullpen.
Cody Bellinger might be tapping toes for the rest of his career. After separating his troubled right shoulder while bumping forearms celebrating his go-ahead homer in NLCS Game 7, the Dodgers slugger touched feet with teammates after going deep in the World Series opener Tuesday.
“I think I’ll continue to do that, maybe my whole career,” he joked.
Bellinger’s two-run shot gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. Instead of jumping up and banging elbows after touching the plate, a grinning Bellinger ran up to teammate Max Muncy and exchanged foot taps before making his way down a line of Dodgers doing the same thing.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he hopes to keep two of this year’s innovations: expanded playoffs and starting extra innings with runners on second base.
After opening day was delayed from March 26 to July 23, MLB and the players’ association agreed to expand the number of teams in the playoffs from 10 to 16. Even before the pandemic, Manfred advocated a future expansion of the playoffs to 14 teams.
With the added runner rule, the longest of 68 games of 10 innings or longer were a pair of 13-inning contests, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Union head Tony Clark said it was too soon to commit to changes for 2021. The sport’s labor contract runs through 2021, and the union’s agreement is needed to alter the 2021 structure.
“We made a number of one-year changes this season under unique circumstances,” Clark wrote in an email to the AP. “We are gathering feedback from players and we’ll bring that to the league at the appropriate time. Obviously, protecting health and safety will remain among several important considerations as those talks unfold.”
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