Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox
Date and Time: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 8:09 p.m. ET through Wednesday, October 31, 2018, as needed.
Location: Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium
MLB Odds: Check Back Later
Dodgers vs. Red Sox 2018 World Series TV Coverage: FOX
Los Angeles is back in the World Series after a disappointing seven-game series against the Astros last year left them still looking for their first championship since 1988. Is this finally the year they snap a 30-year drought? The Dodgers may not have won as many games as the Sox, but the team has gotten hot at the right time.
They’re stacked on offense, good on the mound and appear better equipped to go all the way than last year’s team, despite having fewer regular season wins.
With such a great matchup, you can count on BookMaker.eu to make it easy to cash in.
The World Series matchup has been decided and it figures to be a good one. The Dodgers likely have the pitching advantage while the Red Sox were the better team at the plate this year, both in the regular season and in the playoffs.
These two teams will be playing each other for the first time this season though the Dodgers’ shortstop, Manny Machado, is familiar with the Sox having played the first half in the AL East.
On the other side, Sox manager Alex Cora has some familiarity with the Dodgers. He was the bench coach for the Astros last year when Houston won the World Series against largely the same Dodgers’ team in seven games.
The Dodgers have the edge in this department. Just look at the depth.
In October, Boston essentially had to choose between Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi for the fourth spot in the rotation behind Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello. Eovaldi got the nod, at least to this point.
L.A., meanwhile, sent Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda to the bullpen, opting to use Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Rich Hill.
Both teams have a strong one-two punch, before turning the ball over to the other two. For the Sox, Porcello and Eovaldi are the other guys. Both are solid mid-rotation options. Eovaldi’s pitched a bit better than that for the Sox both in the regular season and his two postseason starts. Porcellos is the definition of average, with a 102 ERA+. He’s done better in his relief stints than as a start here in October.
For the Dodgers, Kershaw and Buehler are the big names, but Hill and Ryu may be the ones to give L.A. the edge over Boston.
Hill is a dependable arm. He’s allowed just three runs in 10.1 innings this postseason and while he doesn’t go deep, he gives the Dodgers two quality times through the order. He’s got a 3.66 ERA in the regular season which is better than both Porcello and Eovaldi, too.
Ryu’s regular season ERA is better than all four. He pitched to a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts. He followed that up with a lights-out Game 1 of the NLDS. He was touched up for a bit in the NLCS, but he’s got shutout stuff when he’s on his game.
Going to the big guns, Sale and Price matchup well with Kershaw and Buehler. Price has been handled by the Yankees but pitched well otherwise this season.
Interestingly, both Kershaw and Price are big name pitchers with lackluster postseason resumes. To this point, Kershaw has done more to re-write that narrative than Price.
Kershaw and Sale likely meet in Game 1.
Kershaw’s got a bunch more postseason experience than Sale though that experience comes with mixed results. His playoff numbers aren’t that bad at a 4.11 ERA, but they’re not Kershaw like. He, however, was just that in his NLDS start this year.
On the year, Kershaw finished an injury shortened year 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.041 WHIP and 3.19 FIP. Sale went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA, 0.861 WHIP and 1.98 FIP in nearly the same number of innings. The latter of the two had the better year, but Sale could be a bit hindered which closes the gap. Sale’s only thrown 10.1 innings the post season so he may not be able to go as deep in the game as Kershaw.
As for the other two starters, Price still has a career 5.04 ERA in 85.2 postseason innings. He did get his first postseason win as a starter in his last start, beating the Astros. That might count for something. His 16-7 record and 3.58 ERA this year were impressive, too, though his 4.02 FIP is closer to league average.
Buehler was 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA and 0.961 WHIP and 3.04 FIP in 137.1 innings here in his rookie season. That’s quite impressive.
The Dodgers and Red Sox had nearly identical bullpens in the regular season, each sporting a 3.72 ERA and a total of six innings difference in usage, too.
Both teams also boast elite closers in Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen though Jansen struggled down the stretch, giving up more than his share of homers after coming back from an irregular heartbeat that cost him a couple weeks.
Given that, the edge would appear to go to Boston, but the postseason numbers say otherwise. The Dodgers have pitched well out of the pen in the playoffs, allowing only six runs in 41.1 innings. The Sox have allowed 16 runs in four fewer innings pitched. Kimbrel’s been part of the problem. He’s managed to save all five games he’s pitched, but he’s given up five runs on six hits and six walks in 6.1 innings in the process. He’s been given some larger leads to saves, giving him a buffer that he’s needed.
While Boston has had some good outings, the closer’s supposed to be the strength of the bullpen and there are questions there.
Coming into October, Jansen had questions about him, but he was great against the Brewers in Game 7 of the NLCS on Saturday night and has seemingly gotten his control and homer issues straightened out in time for October.
It also appears that Jansen has more support setting him up. Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Ryan Madson and Julio Urias as options. Boston has been forced to use Porcello twice along with one appearance each of Eovaldi and Sale out of the pen. That’s four uses of the postseason starters in nine total games. If that doesn’t show a lack of trust in the pen by Alex Cora, I’m not sure what does.
The Dodgers had the best offense in the NL during the regular season and belted the most home runs. That’s impressive, but based on the numbers, the Red Sox have the advantage here. They scored 876 runs while Los Angeles barely broke 800.
L.A. did slam more homers than the Red Sox, but Boston certainly didn’t lack power. They had a higher slugging percentage due to a ton of doubles are were far less homer-or-bust than Los Angeles.
In the postseason, the Sox continued their offensive dominance. They’ve scored more postseason runs than any other teams.
Boston’s offense has been getting a boost from guys like Jackie Bradley Jr. who was the hero on two separate occasions in the ALCS. Brock Holt, Mitch Moreland, and Rafael Devers have also been having strong postseasons to date.
That’s helped mitigate some of the struggles of Mookie Betts. Betts atop the order has been one of the biggest strengths of the Sox this year. The slugging right-fielder has been as good as anyone with the stick in 2018. He ended the year with a .346/.438/.640 slash line. Those numbers are astronomical and the only players who really come close are Mike Trout and teammate J.D. Martinez. Martinez ended the season with 43 homers and 130 RBIs as a middle-of-the-order presence for Boston. He produced a .330/.402/.629 slash line though he was more prone to the strikeout.
The Sox will have to figure out what to do with Martinez for the three games in Los Angeles. Martinez has been the primary DH. He will start, but that means either Betts slides to the infield which brings a slew of defensive questions or Jackie Bradley Jr. sits despite being one of the most influential players in the ALCS.
For the Dodgers, the offense went cold for stretches here in the playoffs. The Brewers’ pitchers took care of business against them early in the NLCS though the bats started to wake a bit late.
L.A. can get a big homer from anyone in the order. The team’s lineup is deeper than Boston’s, meaning the Dodgers can easily find someone to DH when the games are at Fenway.
There are eight players for the Dodgers with at least 21 regular season home runs. In addition to those, Justin Turner and Chris Taylor provide a spark with good on base skills a ton of doubles. They both can hit the ball out, too, of course.
L.A.’s lineup is very matchup based, leading to plenty of pinch hitting and platooning. The offense is better against righties but will face two difficult lefties in Sale and Price.
Dodgers vs. Red Sox Picks
Despite recent years, it’s not all that common to see a Game 7 in the World Series. Given all the Game 7 madness we’ve enjoyed the last two years, it would seem likely that this one wouldn’t make it that far, but these two teams are evenly balanced, and it could certainly go the distance.
Look for the Dodgers’ starters to out pitch the Boston rotation. Kershaw has emerged as more of a postseason force than he was earlier in his career. Ryu will need to bounce back from his last start, but Hill is reliable, and Buehler’s stuff is amazing. Sale, of course, is a beast, but is he fully healthy?
While Price was good last time out, can he build off that or does he regress to the lofty postseason ERA he’s exhibited in the past?
In the end, there are too many questions about the Red Sox pitching. The Dodgers have a few more answers on the mound and an offense that is a bit to homer dependent, but one that doesn’t rely on a small group of players, but instead can get that big homer up-and-down the order.
The offense can compete with the Sox’s offense, particularly with the bats heating up and the pitching gives them the slight edge.
Dodgers vs. Red Sox World Series Pick: Dodgers at BookMaker.eu
Dodgers vs. Red Sox World Series Prediction: Dodgers in 7