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THIS IS CERTAINLY A WONDERFUL SIGHT: Dodgers celebrating their 5-1 Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers to clinch the pennant and book their trip to the World Series. Photo courtesy of post-gazette.com
THE 114th WORLD SERIES
LOS ANGELES DODGERS vs BOSTON RED SOX
Number of World Series Played:
- DODGERS: 20
- RED SOX: 13
Number of Championships:
- DODGERS: Six, most recently in 1988
- RED SOX: Eight, most recently in 2013
Regular Season Records:
- DODGERS: 92-71 (99-75 overall), First place in the National League West, finished one game ahead of the Colorado Rockies
- RED SOX: 108-54, (115-56 overall), First place in the American League East, finished eight games ahead of the New York Yankees
How They Got Here:
- DODGERS: Beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS 3 games to 1, beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS 4 games to 3
- RED SOX: Beat the New York Yankees in the ALDS 3 games to 1, beat the Houston Astros in the ALCS 4 games to 1
Games (NOTE: All games begin at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time)
- GAME 1: Tuesday, October 23rd at Fenway Park
- GAME 2: Wednesday, October 24th at Fenway Park
- GAME 3: Friday, October 26th at Dodger Stadium
- GAME 4: Saturday, October 27th at Dodger Stadium
- GAME 5 (if necessary): Sunday, October 28th at Dodger Stadium
- GAME 6 (if necessary): Tuesday, October 30th at Fenway Park
- GAME 7 (if necessary): Wednesday, October 31st at Fenway Park
Highlights of the Dodgers’ 5-1 NLCS Game 7 win, courtesy of YouTube (click on the link)
- Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF – .260 average, 25 HR, 76 RBI
- Justin Turner, 3B – .312 average, 14 HR, 52 RBI
- Manny Machado, SS – .273 average, 13 HR, 42 RBI (with Dodgers) /.297 average, 37 HR, 107 RBI overall
- Matt Kemp, LF – .290 average, 21 HR, 85 RBI
- Max Muncy, IF – .263 average, 35 HR, 79 RBI
- Chris Taylor, IF/OF – .254 average, 17 HR, 63 RBI
- Yasiel Puig, RF – .267 average, 23 HR, 63 RBI
- Clayton Kershaw: 9-5, 2.73 ERA, 155 strikeouts
- Walker Buehler: 8-5, 2.62 ERA, 151 strikeouts
- Hyun-Jin Ryu: 7-3, 1.97 ERA
- Rich Hill: 11-5, 3.66 ERA, 150 strikeouts
- Kenley Jansen (closer): 1-5, 3.01 ERA, 38 saves
- J.D. Martinez, DH – .330 average, 43 HR, 130 RBI
- Mookie Betts, RF – .346 average, 32 HR, 80 RBI
- Xander Bogaerts, SS – .288 average, 23 HR, 103 RBI
- Rafael Devers, 3B – .240 average, 21 HR, 66 RBI
- Andrew Benintendi, LF – .290 average, 16 HR, 87 RBI
- Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF – .234 average, 13 HR, 59 RBI
- Chris Sale: 12-4, 2.11 ERA, 237 strikeouts
- David Price: 16-7, 3.58 ERA, 190 strikeouts
- Rick Porcello: 16-7. 3.58 ERA, 177 strikeouts
- Craig Kimbrel (closer): 5-1, 2.74 ERA, 42 saves
The Dodgers’ World Series Game 1 starter, Clayton Kershaw, dominating the Brewers in Game 5 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium. Photo courtesy of japantimes.co.jp
SOME THOUGHTS AND AN OFFICIAL PREDICTION:
This is the World Series that America – not counting Wisconsin and South Texas – wanted.
Two iconic franchises that got much attention in Ken Burns’ wonderful 1994 Baseball documentary precisely because they are so iconic, with enough history (along with the Yankees, of course) to fill a thick textbook.
I’ll comfortably bet anything that MLB was ecstatic that the Red Sox and particularly the Dodgers, having taken seven games to beat the Brewers, made the World Series for this particular reason:
A Dodgers-Red Sox series for the championship of baseball will, without a shadow of a doubt, attract a h**l of a lot more national interest than any series that the Brewers and Astros – with all due respect to those two teams – would garner as if Milwaukee had won Game 7 of the NLCS, no one would care about the World Series outside of Wisconsin and New England.
And no one outside of New England would give a care about the World Series outside of South Texas if the Astros had knocked off the Red Sox with a chance to repeat as champs.
Indeed, with the national following that the Dodgers and Red Sox have enjoyed for many decades, a following that the Astros and Brewers simply cannot match, this World Series will be great for the TV ratings, which haven’t been at all good in recent years.
In short, the Dodgers and the Red Sox in the World Series – which hasn’t happened since 1916, when Babe Ruth was still primarily a pitcher (he established a record for most shutout innings in that Series) and the Dodgers were not only entrenched in Brooklyn, they weren’t even called the Dodgers as they were known as the Robins – is great for baseball.
Yasiel Puig rounding the bases in a flamboyant fashion after his three run home run essentially ended the Brewers’ season. Photo courtesy of nytimes.com
Now, as for the Dodgers’ chances to do what they tragically failed to do a year ago – get that fourth win and the Commissioner’s Trophy…
On paper, they don’t match up too well.
First of all, those Red Sox, who set an all time franchise record for most wins in a regular season before brutalizing their longtime hated rival Yankees and dethroning the now-former championship Astros, had two players who drove in over 100 runs this year – J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts.
The Dodgers’ RBI leader? Matt Kemp with 85.
Second, that Red Sox team had two guys who batted well over .300, Martinez at .330 and Mookie Betts, who’s the odds-on favorite to win the American League MVP, at a whopping .346.
Justin Turner is the only Dodger who can say that he had a .300 batting average (.312), and nobody else batted better than .290, with the bulk of the Dodgers batting in the .260s
As for the pitching, three hurlers on the Red Sox won at least 12 games, led by Rick Porcello with 17 wins.
While Rich Hill is the only Dodger whose win total was in double digits.
It is only in the bullpen that the Dodgers have the edge, as at 3.38, good for second in the majors, their earned run average outshone Boston’s who ranked 8th at 3.75.
No wonder that these Red Sox are considered the overwhelming favorites to win their ninth World Series and fourth in the past ten years.
Which is quite extraordinary, considering that they famously went 86 years without a championship, enduring the “Curse of the Bambino” through at least a couple of generations.
All right, here’s my official prediction of whether or not the Dodgers will end their thirty-year championship drought…
My head – the impartial, objective, realistic, and honest part of me – says that the Red Sox will win in six games.
My heart – the part of me that’s been a longtime Dodger fan and who knows Dodger Stadium so well I can give tours of that place – says that the Dodgers will pull off the epic upset in seven games.
I’m going to go in the middle of those sentiments and officially state that,
This World Series will go the full seven games, but because of the intangibles and the Dodgers’ ability to fight in a Rocky Balboa-underdog way, combined with Red Sox’ Apollo Creed persona, it all leads me to declare that it will be a…
I know that looks like an easy cop-out of a prediction and just plain lame.
I also know that the biggest thing that those Dodgers have to do, if they are to have any chance of beating the Red Sox, is to…
Win one of the first two games at Fenway Park – GET THE SPLIT!
Because if they don’t and the Red Sox take Games One and Two, then the Series WILL end in six games at best, with a good chance of them doing their dog piling and champagne spraying on the Dodger Stadium turf after Game 5.
Just like the Astros did last November 1st.
THE BOTTOM LINE, AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED:
I’m very much looking forward to an epic World Series.
With a different result, of course, as if the Dodgers do win it all, I’ll be sure to go to the parade in downtown L.A.
But first things first.
The Dodgers’ 21st post-National League pennant winning celebration in their history, and 11th while in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of fredericksburg.com