(Reuters) – After two chilled losses at Fenway Park the Los Angeles Dodgers returned home on Thursday feeling the heat trailing the best-of-seven World Series 2-0 to the Boston Red Sox and in need of a spark.
Oct 24, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (right) comes out to relieve pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (left) in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
While the Los Angeles weather for Game Three on Friday will be more to the Dodgers liking, the back-to-back losses in Boston will have sent a shiver through fans who will be well aware of the uphill climb now facing their team.
Only 13 times have teams lost the opening two games of any best-of-seven Major League Baseball postseason series and rallied to erase the deficit.
“We’ve got to find a way to win a baseball game,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Obviously we come out of here (Boston) going home down 2-0.
“We’re not swinging the bats well right now. That’s obvious. But I think getting home … I think we’ll be ready for Game Three.”
Boston with its mid-40s Fahrenheit (7 Celsius) game time temperatures and Fenway Park with its quirky dimensions and features proved an inhospitable place for the Dodgers.
But with the next three games at the spacious Chavez Ravine where temperatures will hover around 80F (27C), the Dodgers are focused at the task in front of them — winning Game Three and taking the first step towards sending the series back to Boston.
“I think the big takeaway is you can’t win four games in one night,” said Roberts. “So just the focus-on-one-game-at-a-time mentality.
“I know it’s easier said than done. But that’s as simply as you can put it, and that’s the best way to go about it.”
The odds and history may be against the Dodgers but they are not without hope.
Dodgers teams have dug themselves out of 0-2 holes three times, including in the 1955 World Series when the then Brooklyn Dodgers became the first team to overturn an 0-2 deficit to beat their bitter rivals the New York Yankees.
The Dodgers also accomplished the feat in the 1965 and 1981 World Series coming back after losing the opening two games on the road.
Pressure is not an unknown quantity for the Dodgers, who took the World Series to a Game Seven last year before losing to the Houston Astros and while the situation is critical, it is not yet do-or-die, as Roberts pointed out.
“Understanding and appreciating that it’s the World Series, it’s still not a do-or-die like Game Seven, it was a do-or-die situation,” said Roberts.
“So I know that even just getting back home feels different.
“It’s going to be exciting tomorrow. The key is we’ve still got to go out there and play a good baseball game.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Greg Stutchbury