WELCOME TO THE FALL CLASSIC 2018!!By the time the Dodgers and Red Sox square off in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series, it will have been 356 days since the Dodgers went down in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. It will be 30 year’s this month since the last Dodgers WS victory. This year’s WS can make all of those bad memories go away (at least for me). It has been 102 years since the Dodgers (Robins) faced off against Red Sox and Babe Ruth. The Red Sox beat the Robins 5 games to 1, including a 14-inning complete game 2-1 victory by the Babe. My how things have changed in 102 years.This year’s WS matches two former teammates as managers. The first year Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and third year LA Dodgers manager Dave Roberts were once Dodgers teammates from 2002-2004 (until Roberts’ deadline trade to Boston, 07-31-04). It also matches two high salaried franchises. The Red Sox led all MLB organizations with a projected salary (per Cots Contracts) of $237,354,363, while the Dodgers (#4) are projected (per Cots Contracts) to be $194,175,972. The Dodgers projected salary is high due to Kenta Maeda’s incentives being projected to be $5MM; about $2MM to $3MM too high. The Red Sox were already over the luxury tax threshold when they signed JD Martinez. I think it can be argued that the Red Sox are not in the WS without JDM. Once successfully dropping below the threshold, FAZ chose not to go above it. Both teams made deadline trade transactions that benefited the teams. The Red Sox acquired Nathan Eovaldi from the Rays, and Ian Kinsler from the Angels. The Dodgers acquired Manny Machado, Brian Dozier, John Axford, and Ryan Madson (August).I kept reading how this year’s team was a repeat of last year so after winning 104 games in 2017 why shouldn’t the Dodgers be in the WS in 2018? It might surprise some but this year’s NLCS roster only had 13 players on last year’s WS roster.Players on last year’s team not on this year’s roster: Charlie Culberson – UtilityAndre Ethier – PHLogan Forsythe – 2BCorey Seager – SSChase Utley – 2B/PHYu Darvish – RHSPJosh Fields – RHRPBrandon McCarthy – RHRPBrandon Morrow – RHRPRoss Stripling – RHRPTony Cingrani – LHRPTony Watson – LHRP 2018 Replacements: Brian Dozier – 2B/PHDavid Freese – 1B/PHMatt Kemp – OF/PHManny Machado – SSMax Muncy – 1B/2BWalker Buehler – RHSPHyun-jin Ryu – LHSPPedro Baez – RHRPCaleb Ferguson – LHRPDylan Floro – RHRPRyan Madson – RHRPJulio Urias – LHRP 2018 Carryovers: Justin Turner – 3BYasiel Puig – OFCody Bellinger – 1B/OFChris Taylor – IF/OFJoc Pederson – OFYasmani Grandal – CAustin Barnes – CKike’ Hernandez – IF/OFClayton Kershaw – LHSPKenley Jansen – RHRPKenta Maeda – RHRPAlex Wood – LHPRich Hill – LHSP That is a change of 5 position players, 2 starting pitchers, and 5 relief pitchers.
Offensive Playoff Stats: Batting:Boston – .253/.341/.404/.745LAD – .218/.324/.367/.691 Batting wRISP:Boston – .370/.495/.658/1.152LAD – .190/.330/.333/.663 HRs:Boston – 9LAD – 13 GIDP:Boston – 3LAD – 11 Strikeouts/BB:Boston – 67/38LAD – 117/50
Pitching Playoff Stats: Overall ERA:Boston – 3.79LAD – 2.79 Overall WHIP:Boston – 1.30LAD – 1.07 Overall Batting Average Against:Boston – .217LAD – .206 Overall K/9 and K/BB:Boston – 8.22 and 1.85LAD – 9.99 and 3.58 Starter ERA:Boston – 3.92LAD – 3.86 Starter WHIP:Boston – 1.24LAD – 1.15 Starter Batting Average Against:Boston – .235LAD – .224 Starter K/9 and K/BB:Boston – 8.04 and 2.60LAD – 9.26 and 3.33 Relief ERA:Boston – 3.62LAD – 1.30 Relief WHIP:Boston – 1.37LAD – 0.96 Relief Batting Average Against:Boston – .194LAD – .180 Relief K/9 and K/BB:Boston – 8.44 and 1.40LAD – 11.02 and 3.92 Overall it appears that the Dodgers have slightly better pitching, while the Red Sox have slightly better offense. Where theBIGdifference is in batting with RISP. The Red Sox have done a tremendous job of driving in runs in scoring position, especially with 2 outs. We all know this is not a LAD strength. The Red Sox will trot out Chris Sale (L), David Price (L), Rick Porcello (R), and Nathan Eovaldi (R), while the Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw (L), Rich Hill (L), Walker Buehler (R), and Hyun-jin Ryu (L). The Red Sox have a predominantly RH batting team. Only Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland are LH batters. In addition to the 2 LHSP, the Red Sox only have 1 LHRP. Will FAZ and Doc make any changes? The only LH batting options to be considered are Chase Utley, Alex Verdugo, and Andrew Toles. I do not see any changes in this regard. With the very heavy RH hitting Red Sox team, I think it is possible the Dodgers could make a change with Fields or Stripling. This Dodgers team seems more determined than last year’s. Last year’s team seemed like they were in awe of being at the WS, while this year’s team seems to battle more when things seem to go awry. The Red Sox have a formidable lineup especially with JD Martinez, and the likely AL MVP Mookie Betts. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rafael Devers have had a good playoffs and may continue. JDM will need to play defense in LA. That will put Betts at 2B and Kinsler or Holt on the bench. The Dodgers get to counter by getting Muncy/Kemp/Freese in at DH while the games are in Boston. I figure that Kemp will be the DH in Boston with Freese at 1B against Sale and Price. Good pitching should cancel out good hitting, and the Dodgers just might have the pitching to counter the Red Sox bats. The Dodgers did a great job of minimizing the damage of the likely NL MVP, Christian Yelich. I like Kershaw/Hill/Buehler/Ryu over Sale/Price/Porcello/Eovaldi. Both teams have formidable bullpens. While Kimbrel may be struggling, Barnes, Brasier, Kelly, and Rodriguez have pitched well in the playoffs. As good as the Red Sox pen has been, I think the Dodgers pen of Jansen, Baez, Madson, Floro, and Ferguson have been even better than the Red Sox group. CT3 and Yasiel Puig have been very solid during the playoffs, and I look forward to seeing if they can continue. But I will be watching more for Manny Machado to have a great WS. He appears to thrive in the spotlight, and hopefully the biggest spotlight will be the WS that will help him to shine. Pre-trade 2018, he batted .278/.333/.472/.806 against the Red Sox. This compares very close to his career batting against the Red Sox – .277/.321/.475/.796. The 2018 World Series projects to be a great one between 2 storied franchises. The last two WS have been fantastic. Hopefully, the 2018 WS will be even better, except in 2018 the Dodgers win.