Game One is in the books! How do the Red Sox and Dodgers stack up!
Time for some grades!
Red Sox Starters: Chris Sale is coming back from a stomach illness and should see an increase in velocity tonight. David Price got his first postseason win in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros. Eovaldi has been the dark horse this playoff and ons would expect Eovaldi to do the same against the Dodgers. Porcello has been excellent coming out of the pen, which has been a life saver for the Red Sox.
Dodgers Starters: Clayton Kershaw hasn’t been dominant against teams in the playoffs, like he is in the regular season. I don’t see the Red Sox having any trouble against him. Hyun-Jin Ryu is another lefty that we will see in this series, but I could see him finessing the Red Sox in this series. Walker Buehler is a hard throwing righty that was dominant in the regular season, but struggled in the postseason posting a 5.40 ERA. Old friend Rich Hill has had an alright postseason this year, but will return home to Boston.
Red Sox Relievers: Instead of Hembree being on the roster, I would want to see Bobby Poyner take his spot. We can not rely on Eduardo Rodriguez to hold down the pen against lefties. The Red Sox will need to have a second option and Poyner is a good option to have. Brandon Workman has struggled immensely, despite being a hero in 2013.
It’s likely that we see Steven Wright on the World Series roster, but there is legitimate concern about cold weather and the knuckleball that Wright throws. Barnes, Kelly, and Brasier have been lights out. Kimbrel has been Cardiac Craig, but should see an improvement after a mechanical tweak.
Dodgers Relievers: The Dodgers best postseason relievers this season have been Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro, and Ryan Madson. Madson has experience in the postseason and gives the Dodgers good anchor in the bullpen. Caleb Ferguson is a young guy that might feel the pressure of a World Series appearance and the Red Sox need to jump on that when he comes out the pen. Obviously, at the back end of the bullpen, they have an elite closer in Kenley Jansen.
Jansen has the postseason experience that you would look for; however he’s proven to have hiccups throughout his career. You never know if the pressure of pitching in Fenway will get to a closer.
Red Sox Infielder: As we all saw in the ALDS, the Red Sox had Steve Pearce play at 1st base a lot in the series. Mitch Moreland has been largely relegated to a pinch hitting role and will yield more of Pearce at first. Ian Kinsler will probably get the majority of playtime at second base when they are at Fenway.
Xander Bogaerts seems to be short arming his throws as of lately, and that’s where Pearce comes in big. Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez have been a solid combination throughout the playoffs and may continue to split time; however Devers’ bat gives him the upper hand.
You can’t forget about Brock Holt, either. He was arguably one of the best pinch hitters in all of baseball this season.
Dodgers Infielders: Cody Bellinger has been quiet at the plate this postseason, he is only hitting .139. Max Muncy has also been struggling at the plate, but we will probably see him the most at first. Bellinger has been playing majority of the Postseason in CF. Brian Dozier has also been struggling at the plate and has not seen much play time, with only 11 plate appearances this postseason.
Justin Turner is a wizard in the field and at the plate. He’s a solid defender and a valuable member of this club. Additionally, David Freese is an important veteran to have in the playoffs, he is a nice guy to come of the bench and come into hit. Then, their is our old friend Manny Machado who has been on a tear in the postseason. Machado is the only guy in the lineup starting today that I would be scared to pitch to.
Red Sox Outfield: Andrew Benintendi has made some nice plays against the Astros which saved the Red Sox playing more games in the ALCS. It is time for Benny to unleash his power and my prediction is that he will get 2 home runs in the World Series. Jackie Bradley Jr was the most clutch player that we had in the ALCS, hitting two moonshots.
Mookie Betts also doesn’t have any home runs this postseason, which is the biggest shocker in the postseason right now. JD Martinez made his mark off of Justin Verlander, and the ball still hasn’t landed. We will see JD Martinez play games 3-5 in the outfield.
Dodgers Outfield: Yasiel Puig is the hottest hitter in the outfield that the Dodgers have. Puig is hitting .333 with 1 home run and 4 RBI. Enrique Hernández is a valuable platoon asset for LA, similar to Brock. Matt Kemp is a nice guy to have off the bench and pinch hit in a situation. Joc Pederson is the assassin the Red Sox should worry about at the plate, because we have seen the power he has generated in the last 2 seasons.
Red Sox Catchers: No surprise here, but this is the Red Sox weak spot in the line up. However Vazquez has stepped it up at the plate and his defense is their as well. Expect him to get the majority of the starts again. Sandy Leon needs to get hot at the plate, as it would provide a huge lift in an effort to stretch the lineup.
Blake Swihart should get more playtime in the field, but we probably won’t see him play that much or at all.
Dodgers Catchers: Just like the Red Sox Catchers the Dodgers’ catchers seem to be struggling at the plate this postseason. Yasmani Grandal will probably get the most play time behind the dish for the Dodgers, but not much over Austin Barnes.
Defensively, they’ve both struggled with passed balls. The Red Sox must take advantage of that.