With the off day yesterday, the 2018 World Series has shifted to the warmer winds of Los Angeles. The Red Sox took both games in Boston, and look to finish off their 9th World Series title before the weekend is through. Tonight’s game gets underway at 8:09 ET (the sun will still even be up in LA).
Rookie phenom Walker Buehler goes for the Dodgers, looking to get his team back on track. After the Red Sox disposed of the two big Dodger lefties in spite of the fact they were supposed to be mortal against lefties, Buehler will give them a different look in LA.
Buehler has had a bit of a mixed bag this postseason. In his first start, he allowed 5 runs with 2 outs in the second inning, but otherwise was untouchable in his 5 innings. In his second start, he cruised through 6 innings, allowing just a pair of runs. He allowed a double and a home run in the 7th and all of a sudden 4 runs in 7 innings looks like a bad start. In his 3rd start, game 7 of the NLCS, he had a lot shorter leash. He allowed a run in the 1st on a solo home run to NL MVP Christian Yelich, and then danced around danger through the next 3 innings. When he gave up a 2 out double in the 5th inning of the 2-1 game, his night was through. In total, it was 4.2 innings, 1 run, and looks like his best start of the postseason.
Red Sox Starter
The Red Sox send out former AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Porcello is making his 5th appearance and 3rd start of these playoffs, as Alex Cora has deployed him out of the bullpen a couple times to ease the load on his heavily worked relievers. He has thrown 1.2 innings of shutout baseball out of the bullpen, allowing just a hit with a pair of strikeouts.
His starts were less consistent, with a good one in the ALDS against the Yankees, and a rough one in game 4 of the ALCS against the Astros. Against the Yankees, he allowed just a run on 4 hits over 5 innings, walking none but striking out just 1. He was rocked a bit more against the Astros, as they managed to put up 4 runs in 4 innings, as Porcello allowed a pair of home runs - one to George Springer and one to Tony Kemp.
The big story in this one will be who loses their spot in the Red Sox lineup now that they’re playing without the DH. It’s obviously not going to be JD Martinez, who will instead slide to the outfield and displace someone. It won’t be Mookie Betts either, but he could slide to second base and force Ian Kinsler out of the lineup. Kinsler has just a .573 OPS in the postseason after putting up a .681 mark in the regular season. He would be the most logical, if the Red Sox believe Betts can play 2B, something he hasn’t done as a starter since 2014, although he filled in there for 6 innings this year. Or it’s Andrew Benintendi, who is 4-8 so far this World Series and had an .831 OPS in the regular season. Or maybe it’s the name that isn’t thrown around as much, Jackie Bradley Jr., who is much with the bat, but is a great defender in CF. He’d be my pick if moving Betts to 2B isn’t a comforting thought.
The Dodgers need to win this one, as 2-1 deficit is a lot more manageable than a 3-0 one in a 7 game series. Only once in the history of baseball has a team ever come back from a 3-0 deficit (the Sox in 2004, but at least it was against the Yankees), and I won’t hold my breath in hoping it’ll happen a second time. Even coming back down 2-1 isn’t easy, but the Dodgers were in a similar situation last year and forced a game 7. And they’re in Dodger Town for the next 3, where they’ve gone 5-1 since the start of game 163.
Find the Link
Find the link between Porcello, Buehler and Roberto Clemente.