2017: The year of the Dodgers. A funny way to start off a Red Sox dedicated piece by a die hard Sox fan, I know, but this year has been anything but. Los Angeles is sitting at 91-38 (As of August 29th, 2017), a record that is 11 games higher than the second best record in the MLB (Washington). They are 30-9 in the second half and are poised to make a very deep, if not, complete run through the playoffs. So what if the Red Sox manage to make it to the gates of the World Series and see the Dodgers on the other side? Let’s take a look.
I am going to analyze this based off of two obvious components; Batting and pitching. The Dodgers have 44 more home runs than the Red Sox, which is not surprising, but only 15 more runs scored. Los Angeles is a team that relies heavily on the long ball in order to score a good portion of their runs. Boston has a collective batting average of .262 vs Los Angeles’ .255 and have 135 less strikeouts. The only aspects that the Dodgers excel at more than the Red Sox are walks, home runs and striking out. The rest, Boston is either very similar or better.
Pitching is where things get a little tricky, and the evidence of how dominant the Dodgers have been and can be is very clear. To put it plainly, this is an excellent pitching team. They lead the league in Runs Allowed per Game, ERA, Earned Runs, Home Runs, Walks and WHIP. Let us not forget, however, that the Dodgers have Yu Darvish, and in his only start against the Red Sox this year, he let up 7 runs off 11 hits in 4.1 innings and deservedly took the loss. Some would say this was just one bad game, but maybe Boston has his number just like how the Indians have Sale’s. As a fan, I feel a lot more comfortable knowing that Darvish suffered from that stat line against Boston. Kershaw and Wood are scary and Rich Hill is beatable, so it would take some masterful performances by every pitcher that pitches for the Red Sox just to keep up with this team.
All in all, the Red Sox should be going into this post season with some vengeance after last year’s performance. They should feel like they have unfinished business to settle. Surely there will be some great competition in the way, and the greatest competition that any team has seen for a very long time if they make the Fall Classic. However, if the Red Sox just keep playing the way they have been all year by not relying on home runs to score, and grinding out every at bat and every pitch, maybe there is a chance that this analysis will be brought back up in late October.