Tuesday night begins what has the potential to be an epic World Series between two of the oldest and most iconic franchises in the history of the game. The Boston Red Sox, owners of the best record in baseball during the regular season, are favorites to win the World Series. They are also -150 favorites to win Game 1.
Boston has continued their regular season dominance during the postseason. They are 7-2 in the playoffs, doing so against the Yankees and Astros, two teams that won at least 100 games during the regular season. They are also averaging more than six runs per game and have won every playoff game in which they’ve scored at least four runs.
The Dodgers, of course, haven’t been quite that impressive. However, they found a way to take four out of seven games against the Brewers and their vaunted bullpen. Los Angeles is 3-3 on the road during the playoffs, which is actually a great record. They also won Game 7 on the road, so the Dodgers should feel good about their chances of winning at least one of the first two games of the series in Boston.
What’s for Sale?
It’ll be Chris Sale taking the mound for the Red Sox in Game 1. Sale was bumped from Game 5 of the ALCS after spending a night in the hospital last weekend with a stomach ailment. However, he’s been given the green light to start Game 1 for the World Series. He hasn’t quite been his dominant self in the postseason, as he only returned from the DL midway through September. However, the Red Sox are quite confident that he’ll rise to the occasion.
Of course, outside of Brian Dozier and Manny Machado, the Dodgers have few hitters who have ever faced Sale before. Also, Los Angeles may be hesitant to start left-handed hitters like Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy against the hard-throwing lefty. However, the Dodgers have enough depth to stack the lineup with right-handed hitters. Plus, both Dozier and Machado have good numbers against Sale in their career.
Back At It
Clayton Kershaw got the final three outs of the NLCS, and the Dodgers will now look for him to get the first 15 to 27 outs of the World Series. Kershaw had some rocky moments during Game 1 of the NLCS, but other than that, he’s looked outstanding during the postseason. Of course, his career playoff numbers are a little modest, so he’s not quite a sure thing to dominate the Red Sox.
Keep in mind that Kershaw will be facing the best lineup in baseball, one that will also be stocked with right-handed hitters. Boston’s star power hasn’t needed to carry them through the postseason, as they keep getting contributions from the bottom of the lineup. That means Kershaw will be challenged in all nine spots of the order.
Oddly enough, Boston’s only two losses in the postseason have come at home. Having a longer layoff could hurt the Red Sox, especially if Kershaw is sharp. Meanwhile, Sale remains a bit of a mystery coming off his stint in the hospital, opening the door for the Dodgers to steal Game 1. Bet on the Dodgers +150 to win Game 1 of the World Series.