World Series Preview

It’s that time again – World Series time! This year’s matchup features the Boston Red Sox, representing the American League, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, representing the National League. This will be the second straight appearance for the Dodgers, who hope to finally have a title to show for their massive payroll expenditures.

Schedule:

Game 1 – Tuesday, October 23

Dodgers at Red Sox – 8:09 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD (LAD); Sale (BOS) – 2.11 ERA

Game 2 – Wednesday, October 24

Dodgers at Red Sox – 8:09 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD

Game 3 – Friday, October 26\

Red Sox at Dodgers – 8:09 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD

Game 4 – Saturday, October 27

Red Sox at Dodgers – 8:09 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD

Game 5 (if necessary) – Sunday, October 28

Red Sox at Dodgers – 8:15 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD

Game 6 (if necessary) – Tuesday, October 30

Dodgers at Red Sox – 8:09 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD

Game 7 – Wednesday October 31 (Happy Halloween!)

Dodgers at Red Sox – 8:09 PM ET

Probable Starters: TBD

Boston will be coming into the Fall Classic well-rested after polishing off the Astros in just five games, while the Dodgers needed a full seven games to take care of the Brewers. This means Chris Sale got plenty of rest after being held out of the ALCS due to being hospitalized for a stomach illness that he later attributed to an infected navel ring, which turned out to be a joke. Sale, a perennial Cy Young Award contender, is expected to start Game 1 for the Sawx.

Likely Starting Pitchers

This year’s matchup means two of the active pitchers with the most-maligned postseason histories are likely to appear in the World Series: Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and David Price of the Red Sox. Price recently earned his first postseason victory as a starting pitcher in Game 5 of the ALCS. Kershaw has racked up enough postseason games and innings to roughly equal a full season’s workload for a starting pitcher and has middling results (and no rings) to show for his efforts. One of these men will be able to gain some measure of redemption by winning a World Series title, and the other will go home with nothing but experience.

Boston

Nathan Eovaldi

2018 Regular Season: 22 G; 6-7; 3.88 ERA; 111.0 IP; 1.13 WHIP

2018 Postseason (same as career postseason): 3 G; 2-0; 1.88 ERA; 14.1 IP; 0.98 WHIP

Rick Porcello

2018 Regular Season: 33 G; 17-7; 4.28 ERA; 191.1 IP; 1/18 WHIP

2018 Postseason: 4 G; 1-0; 4.22 ERA; 10.2 IP; 1.22 WHIP

Career Postseason: 15 G; 1-3; 5.09 ERA; 35.1 IP; 1.33 WHIP

David Price

2018 Regular Season: 30 G; 16-7; 3.58 ERA; 176.0 IP; 1.14 WHIP

2018 Postseason: 3 G; 1-1; 5.11 ERA; 12.1 IP; 1.38 WHIP

Career Postseason: 20 G; 3-9; 5.04 ERA; 85.2 IP; 1.24 WHIP

Eduardo Rodríguez

2018 Regular Season: 27 G; 13-5; 3.82 ERA; 129.2 IP; 1.26 WHIP

2018 Postseason: 4 G; 0-0; 7.36 ERA; 3.2 IP; 1.36 WHIP

Career Postseason: 5 G; 0-0; 12.27 ERA; 3.2 IP; 1.64 WHIP

Los Angeles

Walker Buehler

2018 Regular Season: 24 G; 8-5; 2.62 ERA; 137.1 IP; 0.96 WHIP

2018 Postseason (same as career postseason): 3 G; 0-1; 5.40 ERA; 16.2 IP; 1.08 WHIP

Rich Hill

2018 Regular Season: 25 G; 11-5; 3.66 ERA; 132.2 IP; 1.12 WHIP

2018 Postseason: 3 G; 0-0; 2.61 ERA; 10.1 IP; 1.65 WHIP

Career Postseason: 11 G; 1-2; 3.27 ERA; 44.0 IP; 1.43 WHIP

Clayton Kershaw

2018 Regular Season: 26 G; 9-5; 2.73 ERA; 161.1 IP; 1.04 WHIP

2018 Postseason: 4 G; 2-1; 2.37 ERA; 19.0 IP; 0.79 WHIP

Career Postseason: 28 G; 9-8; 4.09 ERA; 141.0 IP; 1.06 WHIP

Hyun-Jin Ryu

2018 Regular Season: 15 G; 7-3; 1.97 ERA; 82.1 IP; 1.01 WHIP

2018 Postseason: 3 G; 1-1; 4.40 ERA; 14.1 IP; 1.33 WHIP

Career Postseason: 6 G; 2-1; 3.56 ERA; 30.1 IP; 1.19 WHIP

Offensive Matters

Not surprisingly, Boston and LA have been the top offensive performers in the 2018 postseason.

Boston

9 G; 56 R (6.22/G); 79 H; 53 RBI; .253/.341/.404; .745 OPS

LA

11 G; 43 R (3.9/G); 78 H; 42 RBI; .218/.324/.367; .691 OPS

LA scored the second-most amount of postseason runs but has notably lower batting statistics than Boston due to that they played seven games against the Brewers, who had one of the toughest bullpens in baseball. I expect they will score more runs than they did against the Brewers since Boston’s middle relief corps is notably weaker than Milwaukee’s. However, they will likely not be able to keep up with the Red Sox offensive attack.

Lineup Adjustments

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has stated he would like DH J.D. Martinez to be in the lineup every game, even when the Sox play in Los Angeles and will not be able to use a DH. This means Martinez would likely be playing right field instead of OF Mookie Betts. As Betts is also one of the Sawx’s most important offensive and defensive contributors, Betts may be shifted to second base. While he came up as a second baseman and regularly participates in infield defensive drills, he has only occasionally played this position at the major league level.

Outlook

While LA had the #2 pitching staff in MLB during the regular season and Boston’s was ranked #8, the Red Sox had the #1 offense. Boston’s Achilles heel is its middle relief, and this is where the Dodgers will be likeliest to do damage. However, rookie manager Alex Cora has been willing to use creative solutions, such as asking starters to work in relief, to get outs ahead of handing the ball over to his closer Craig Kimbrel. He will also have a more well-rested squad, which I believe will make the difference.

My Prediction: Boston in 6