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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

World Series: Kershaw eager for rematch against Keuchel after Dodgers beat Astros

Los Angeles franchise beat Houston rivals 6-2 to level seven-game series 2-2

Los Angeles Dodgers' relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, No 74, celebrates with teammates after defeating the Houston Astros. Matthew Emmons / Reuters
Los Angeles Dodgers' relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, No 74, celebrates with teammates after defeating the Houston Astros. Matthew Emmons / Reuters

All-Star left-handed pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel will have a World Series rematch on Sunday trying to take their teams to the brink of a Major League Baseball crown.

Kershaw's Los Angeles Dodgers ripped the Houston Astros 6-2 on Saturday to level the best-of-seven championship final at 2-2, setting the stage for the same two pitchers who duelled in the opener at Dodger Stadium to meet again under a Texas roof.

"I'm going to be ready to go and looking forward to that challenge," Kershaw said. "You've just got to be ready to go pitch."

Kershaw, who led the major leagues with 18 regular-season wins and was second with a 2.31 earned-run average (ERA), is 3-0 in the play-offs with a 2.96 ERA and outshined Keuchel in a 3-1 Series triumph on Tuesday.

"It's going to be a fun game five just based on I just faced this team five days ago," Keuchel said. "We'll see what kind of adjustments they make to me and what kind of adjustments I make to them."

Kershaw struck out 11 and allowed only one run on three hits over seven innings in Game 1, while Keuchel surrendered three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings with three strikeouts in a losing cause.

"I didn't feel at my best in Game 1," Keuchel said. "So to me that's going to work in my favour, although they've seen my pitches. They've seen how certain pitches move, and the late movement and this and that, the shape of each pitch.

"But the way we play at home, how comfortable we feel here, and just how guys are able to relax in the moment instead of tense up and be nervous is amazing."

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Kershaw will be happy to be on the mound instead of watching from the sidelines.

"It's almost more nerve-wracking watching on the bench, because you feel a little bit helpless and you want success so bad," Kershaw said. "Other than facing the same team again and trying to figure out what to change, what not to change, other than that the mindset is just about the same."

The change of scene from record heat in Southern California to a domed Texas ballpark is no big deal, Kershaw said.

"I don't think you can change anything based on where you're at. It's just a matter of making good pitches to these guys," he said. "Each game is in and of itself a game seven-type atmosphere for us. We know it's getting pretty close to must win, so there's not really a change of mentality.

"We've just got to string together a few more hits, make some big pitches when we need to and get a win."

That is what Kershaw has been planning for since celebrating last Tuesday night's win.

"Most of the time there's going to be something that's not working the way you want," Kershaw said. "So that's why you spend the four days in between for.

"You mentally prepare, visualize what you're going to be able to do and come that fifth day you're not thinking, you're just competing."