ARLINGTON, Texas — Charlie Morton entered Game 3 of the World Series with a 0.70 ERA in the 25⅔ innings of his postseason career with the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ offense — appreciably better at manufacturing runs than in postseasons past — went off against him and forced his exit before the end of the fifth inning on Friday night.
Justin Turner homered to left, Max Muncy laced a two-run single to right-center and Mookie Betts lined an RBI single to center — all with two outs. But the highlight was catcher Austin Barnes, in the lineup because of his elite pitch framing and his rapport with Walker Buehler, who drove in a run with a safety squeeze in the fourth and tacked on another with a solo homer in the sixth. The latter was the fifth run the Dodgers scored with two outs and two strikes, tied for the most in a World Series game since 2000.
That was more than enough for Buehler, who had his best stuff and ultimately pitched six innings of one-run ball, striking out 10 batters and allowing only four baserunners. With a 1.28 ERA over his past nine postseason starts, Buehler lines up to start again in a potential Game 7. But suddenly it looks like we might not get there. Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw, who have combined for a 1.90 ERA this postseason, line up for Games 4 and 5, respectively. The Rays will probably have to stage the equivalent of a bullpen game in Game 4.