So it’s all come down to this. As predicted in April, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros are set to determine who will remain standing as the champion of the 2018 baseb…wait what? The Red Sox won? Well, there goes the copy and paste strategy. Are we sure they beat the best team in baseball? But they only have one reliable starter. But Dave Dombrowski is still a jinx for good relievers. Oh right, the Offense[1]. Congrats to both teams on making it this far and to their dispatched opponents who have given us more than we could ask for this Postseason. Looking ahead to the impending match up there are a multitude of possibilities, will it be our second consecutive World Series for the ages or a trashing the likes of which we haven’t seen in 8 years?

How They Got Here:

Boston:

To this point the Red Sox’s season has been one that will long be remembered; most wins in team history, division title with an 8 game lead on their dreaded rivals, multiple MVP candidates, trounced the aforementioned rivals out of the Postseason and decidedly beat the reigning champs and best team in baseball. It would be hard to ask for more but they’re still playing to add to those accomplishments. Coming into the Postseason we didn’t know what to expect from the Boston, sure they had that Offense but was their ace Chris Sale healthy, did David Price's aparent allergy to pitching in October remain, did they have any trustworthy reliever not named Craig Kimbrel? The answer to all those questions ended up being yes, kind of. Sale had a fluke….belly button ring infection? No, not really but other than a little tummy ache he is fine. Price showed his capabilities can extend to the 10th month of the year. Oh and now we had Cardiac Craig, which is awesome and if nothing else will give team entropy and non rooting interests fans something to watch close games for.

Los Angeles:

The Dodgers had the bizarro version of their opponent’s season. Almost nothing went right, almost immediately their best players succumbed to injuries. Justin Turner was out for a substantial amount of time before the season even started. Followed up by a gut punch of losing their best player, Corey Seager, for the rest of the year to Tommy John surgery. Their ace, once heralded as the best pitcher in the universe, looked more mortal than anyone could recall and then ALSO lost time to injury. In the end they would have the most D.L. stints and lose the third most value due to injury according to roster resource, only the cursed Mets and Angels lost more. The Dodgers best strength is their depth and this season we saw that depth tested like never before. Nothing has come easy this year, they have had to battle all season, all the way to a tiebreaker game 163. Even though they have looked a lot better in the Postseason, they were pushed to the brink by the team with best record in the National League and could have just as easily not been here. This might be the only time a team with 200 million dollar payroll will be declared an underdog but if their 108-win opponents can try to claim that title why not them.

Boring Numbers for Nerds


Definitions: FRAA wRC+ wOBA

NARRATIVES!!!!!

{____} cAn’T PiTcH iN OctObeR

Each team has their own important left hander who for whatever reason has seemed to falter when the games matter most. With solid performances in the Championship Series Clayton Kershaw and David Price were able to silence their critics in the short term but if and when either stumbles again the writers and fans will be there to remind them, in the healthiest ways possible of course[2].Unfortunately for the Twitter fans calling for it the two will not go head to head, Kershaw will have the first opportunity to put these perceptions to rest in game one and Price will throw in game two. This series could hinge on whoever has the better showing. The lefties' career parallels don’t stop in October struggles; they both broke into the league in 2008, neither has won a World Championship and each one has an opt out clause at the end of this season. Expect to hear a lot about this story's developments because the TV announce crew would rather talk about literally any story instead of trying to logically analyze the game before them.

"I'm a cowboy." "I'm a dinosaur!" The teams integral starters practice some Halloween poses while preparing for the series

Enter the Bad Guy

No narrative seems to be more buzzworthy right now than that Manny Machado is a dirty player. After blatantly running into Jesus Aguilar in game four of the NLCS, Brewers players tore into Machado. The incident caused many to recall times when Manny hasn’t exactly been sportsman of the year, like the time he tried to throw a bat at another player in a game. To further fan investment I'm sure the broadcast with paint Manny’s history with the Red Sox one of most intriguing aspects of this World Series match up. He is very familiar with them from his time with the Orioles and he has some strong opinions about them as you can tell from the video in the link above. Matt Barnes, one of the pitchers who threw at Machado sending him into his tirade happens to be one of the most important pitchers in the Red Sox bullpen so the likelihood of them squaring off at a pivotal moment is pretty likely. Any moment when Machado or the Red Sox feel the other has slighted them will get heated, magnified and discussed on all the sports talk shows. Remember though no matter what Fox tells you batter vs team matchups are usually too small and inconsistent a sample size to draw any conclusions from.

Milwaukee fans graciously wish Machado well after their team's elimination

Prediction:

It feels like everyone thinks the Red Sox are the overwhelming favorites but when we look close into the numbers I'm not so sure. It would be understandable to give Boston the slight edge but given how unlucky the Dodgers were during the season the team we're watching seems like a different and more importantly much better team. According to their pythag records the Red Sox were the third luckiest team this season and the Dodgers were the unluckiest. But Boston also beat the team a lot of people thought were on their way to back to back Championships and fairly easily. So what does it all mean?! Predictions are dumb but if you've made it this far I might as well commit to something. But, I’m split, I think the series will play out one of two ways so here are my half predictions.

Red Sox in 5

Red Sox offense will manhandle Dodgers pitching. Their starters will fail to make it to the 5th in any game but the opener which Kershaw will steal, further distancing himself from his Postseason troubles. For the rest of the series Boston's MVP Mookie Betts with his all time great outfield companions; Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi, complimented with by Xander Bogaerts will show us why the Killer B’s of Boston are just too much for a team that has gone the distance two years in a row. "Just Dingers" Martinez will live up to his nickname and claim World Series MVP from under Mookie. Red Sox pitching will be serviceable and the Dodgers will score against them maybe even taking a few leads but ultimately fail to keep pace with the relentless offense that has carried Boston all season. If this is the end result I assume it will be similar to the last time a Dave Dombrowski team made the World Series the games will be close but the Series will not.

Dodgers in 7

This is the prefered outcome, not because of the winner, but because it is what gives us the possibility for the most baseball. This Postseason has been great so far, what better way than to cap it off with Kershaw and Sale dueling in the late innings of game 7 in Fenway? If they are going to finally reach their goal the Dodgers will need their pitching to power them. Their bats aren't quite as multidimensional as their opponents but they are dangerous in their own right and as we saw against the best bullpen in the Postseason, they can score when they need to. Kershaw will need to stabilize his performances and give much more game five than game one of the NLCS. Walker Buehler will need to show the poise of a seasoned veteran to wrap up his stellar Rookie of the Year worthy season with a championship. And Dick Mountain needs to shove the way Dick Mountain is capable of shoving. If those three are right and their bats give them just enough it’s not hard to see where this team might be able to outlast 2018's winniest team. Even if their bullpen is as shaky as ever we just saw the Astros bounced in large part due to bad luck, it's been an October for that kind of thing. There is a chance the Dodgers fans annual tradition of switching to their Warriors caps after October will not take place this year but it is unlikely.

Final thought:

How rad is it that Dave Roberts will try to lead his to victory in the stadium he became immortalized in? Also how awkward will it be if they do a 2004 team tribute prior one of their games.


  1. So good it’s worthy of the pronoun ↩︎

  2. Not ↩︎