Gurriel ready for Los Angeles heat after racism furor
LOS ANGELES, USA – Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch said Yuli Gurriel is bracing for a hostile reception from Los Angeles Dodgers fans on Tuesday, October 31, following the furor over his racist gesture against Yu Darvish.
Gurriel escaped being kicked out of the World Series on Saturday, October 28, after making a racist gesture about Japanese pitcher Yu during his team's victory in game 3 in Houston.
The 33-year-old Cuban slugger went on to play a pivotal role in Sunday's epic game 5 win, belting a 3-run homer off Clayton Kershaw to level the score at 4-4 in the 4th inning.
The Astros clinched a thrilling 13-12 victory and now stand just one win away from sealing their first-ever World Series crown.
However, a fiery welcome is almost certain to greet Gurriel when he steps up to the plate at Dodger Stadium in the potentially decisive game 6.
"Yuli has got a good heart," said Astros skipper Hinch. "He made a mistake. He'll pay for it. The reaction in LA, I'm sure, will be on the aggressive side."
Hinch said he did not plan to address the issue with Gurriel, who was given a 5-game ban which will only begin at the start of the 2018 season.
"I don't think I need to talk to him about it, I think everyone is aware it's going to be a rough setting for him," Hinch said.
"I don't think you can convince 55,000 fans to turn the page as fast as maybe the two teams have."
Darvish, who called for conciliation after Gurriel's gesture, is in line to start for the Dodgers on Wednesday, November 1, if the series goes to a 7th game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts meanwhile said his battered and bruised side were focusing only on game 6 as they attempt to buck history by becoming only the 21st team to overturn a 3-2 deficit to take the title.
"It's going to be boisterous and energetic at Dodger Stadium, and I think our focus is just going to be to win one game," said Roberts.
"To get ourselves to think about winning two in a row, I think we'd be getting ahead of ourselves," he added. "We're at an elimination stage right now, and we'll do everything we can to win one game."
Dodgers players meanwhile took a defiant tone as Houston erupted in celebration following their most recent emotionally draining victory.
"They're celebrating now, 3-2, but guess what? They've still got to beat us one more time," said closer Kenley Jansen.
"The fact that we're going home, we've got to continue to grind. This is it, can't hang our heads."
"We're going home. I don't care who we're going to face, we've got to stay positive. Can't let a bad day affect us. They did what they're supposed to do, they took care of their home field – we took one, and now we've got to protect it and try to win game 6 and get back into it."
Cuban star Yasiel Puig was emphatic that the Dodgers would bounce back with the series-levelling win.
"This is not going to be finished on Tuesday (October 31). There's going to be a game 7," said Puig. – Rappler.com