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Dodgers Pitching Coach Rages Against 'Brutal' Fenway Park Bullpen

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On the way to three Cy Young awards and a future plaque in Cooperstown, Clayton Kershaw has pitched in 29 different ballparks across MLB.

But Game 1 of the World Series was the first time he took the mound at MLB’s oldest ballpark, Fenway Stadium.

However, before Kershaw could pitch he needed to warm up, and he did that in Fenway Park’s visitors bullpen. The location isn’t ideal for visiting pitchers as the fans are right on top of the bullpen as they’re warming up.

That doesn’t sit well with Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, who spent 21 years in the majors as a pitcher and the last dozen years as a coach.

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He told Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated that the closeness of the fans makes things tough for pitchers and MLB should do something about the setup.

“Brutal. Pretty brutal,” Honeycutt said. “What I don’t understand is why baseball allows it. You’ve got the rubber right there and people literally standing over you.”

As most Red Sox fans would point out, that’s the beauty of having home-field advantage.

According to SI, the rubber of the pitching mound in the visitors bullpen is just three feet from the bleacher seats. The home bullpen has the same setup, but of course the Red Sox aren’t complaining about the intimacy.

Do you think the visitors bullpen setup at Fenway Park gives the Red Sox an unfair advantage?

The pregame experience for Kershaw might have played a factor in how he pitched once the game started.

He gave up three hits and two runs in the first inning to put the Dodgers in an early hole. For the game, Kershaw pitched four innings, allowed five earned runs and took the loss.

Afterward, he tried to put a positive spin on losing the first game of the World Series.

“We won Game 1 last year and lost the series, so maybe we’ll try it out this way, see if we can win one,” the Dodgers ace told reporters.

Kershaw’s series opener was a similarly poor performance to what he had in his only other road World Series start.

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In Game 5 of last year’s World Series, Kershaw lasted just 4.2 innings and allowed six earned runs as the Houston Astros won to take a 3-2 series lead.

The Dodgers will rely on Hyun-Jin Ryu to even up the series in Game 2. They’re hoping they’ll still be alive when Kershaw is slated to take the ball again in Game 5.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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