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World Series Game 1 Preview

Dodgers (0-0) at Red Sox (0-0)

MLB: World Series-Workouts David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We have made it to the final round, where no more than seven games will determine 2018’s best team as these two juggernauts will go head to head in Fenway Park tonight. The game gets underway at 8:09 ET, when two of the best pitchers of the 21st century go head to head.

Red Sox Starter

Chris Sale has been missing his regular dominance this postseason, and he isn’t pitching nearly as deep into the game, likely due at least in part to the bullpen taking over games in the playoffs. He has made 2 starts plus a perfect relief inning, and in total has thrown just 10.1 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, striking out 14 while walking un-Salean 6 while also hitting a batter. That is a very concerning number for a pitcher who has a career 2.08 BB/9, and got it down to 1.94 this season.

Sale was supposed to start game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros, but had his start bumped due to a stomach ailment that he jokingly called complications from excessive insertion and removal of his belly button ring. In reality, it must have been a very serious stomach illness, as he missed games, was hospitalized, and lost weight because of it. But he’s back now, and supposedly ready to go.

Dodgers’ Starter

Going for the Dodgers is 3-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has put together, on the whole, a pretty good postseason so far. He has made 3 starts, with 2 great ones and one stinker in game 1 of the NLCS, where he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits with a pair of walks over just 3+ innings. The other two starts, however, went much nicer. He pitched a combined 15 innings, giving up just a run on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 12. Throw in a perfect relief appearance in Game 7 of the NLCS, and Kershaw is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in the playoffs.

Kershaw just set a Major League milestone that I’m sure he isn’t proud of, and will look to give back over the next 9 days.

Probable Lineups gives us their probable lineups, among other tidbits, as the Dodgers get to use a DH for the first time this fall.

1. Chris Taylor, LF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Matt Kemp, DH
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Cody Bellinger, CF
8. Yasiel Puig, RF
9. Austin Barnes, C

Seeing Austin Barnes written in there makes me feel bad for Yasmani Grandal. Grandal has struggled, to put it lightly, behind the plate and at the plate this postseason, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised that it would come up in negotiations for the pending free agent.

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Steve Pearce, 1B
6. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

After torching the Astros driving in 9 runs with 2 outs from the bottom of the order, the Red Sox probably can’t rely on that kind of production from Bradley in the 9 hole going forward. They are going to have to find a way to get production out of the catcher’s spot, whether it’s one of the 3 catchers they have actually stepping up, or if they take advantage of having 3 catchers on the active roster and pinch hit a bit more.

Find the Link

Find the link between Kerhaw, Sale and a man named Brian.