Well, folks, after a long season, we finally have our two competitors who will square off in baseball’s most exciting series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the Fall Classic just one year after falling to the team the Boston Red Sox beat in order to reserve the American League’s slot, the Houston Astros.
Let’s break down how these teams look against each other.
The Dodgers overcame the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 7 of the NLCS 5-1. We saw Clayton Kershaw enter to close out the game and relief pitchers starting the game in this intense matchup.
Yasiel Puig sealed the Dodgers’ ticket to the World Series with a sixth-inning three-run home run to put them up by four.
Rookie starting pitcher Walker Buehler went 4.2 innings, giving up the Brewers’ only run in the first and gathering seven strikeouts as well.
The Brewers only showed life when left fielder Christian Yelich slammed a solo home run in the first inning.
In the other series, the Boston Red Sox obliterated the Astros’ hopes for a repeat championship season, taking the ALCS 4-1 against the defending champs.
Rookie manager Alex Cora is looking to make a statement in the American League as he looks to become the first manager from Puerto Rico to lead a team to a World Series victory.
The Sox have a lot of advantages heading into Tuesday’s matchup.
Fenway Park will host Games 1 and 2, while All-Star left-hander Chris Sale gets the call to start Game 1.
Sale, who has been known to struggle in the postseason, has proven skeptics wrong by only allowing one hit in each series.
The Red Sox also had more rest and time to prepare for the Fall Classic than the Dodgers.
Let’s take a look at what each team needs to do in order to overcome the other this week.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Dodgers come into Tuesday in the same position they were in last year, so they are no stranger to the Fall Classic.
However, they were unable to overcome the 2017 AL champions from Houston. Adding salt to the wound, they gave up the world title in their own stadium.
With this being said, they need to come out firing on all cylinders in the opening games. They won the majority of games last year at their opponents’ ballparks.
Next, they need to make sure they focus on each bat in the Red Sox lineup.
Mookie Betts has not had the postseason he expected, only tallying a batting average of .217. However, this doesn’t mean he can’t snap out of his slump and take advantage of the L.A. rotation.
The real fear is within J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers. They can drive runs in with any mistake pitch thrown.
Both add up to .663 BA, and they both have the power to hit the longball.
Boston Red Sox:
There are a few things the Sox need to keep in mind this week.
They need to flash the leather.
The Dodgers hit the gaps fairly well and can take extra bases without hesitation, and if Andrew Benintendi can give motivation for the other fielders around him to stop anything no matter what, run production will cease to exist.
Secondly, they need to take down Clayton Kershaw. Like Sale, Kershaw has had an exceptional postseason, defying what critics were saying before they entered October.
If they can stop his hot streak, the rest of the rotation will crumble since they view him as the ultimate arm on the pitching chart.
Sure, they have other stud arms, but Kershaw’s is the most elusive seen since the days of Nolan Ryan.
They can bring his performance down by being careful at the plate.
Taking extra pitches and not chasing pitches will come in handy in the series.
Finally, umpire Joe West was credited for helping Boston’s success, after some of his calls during the ALCS.
With West being a veteran in the game, it is likely we will see him in the officiating crew during the week. If this is the case, be ready for controversial calls, and pray he isn’t behind the plate.
It’s not over until the fat lady sings. However, she may look to pay tribute to Neil Diamond by singing “Sweet Caroline” all throughout Boston.
It’s time for the season’s final series. Who’s your pick to win it all?