The World Series is finally upon us, and beginning Tuesday, two historic franchises will battle for it all. The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have only met once in the World Series, and that was 102 years ago, back when the Dodgers were known as the Brooklyn Robins. The Red Sox won that series in five games, went on to win again in 1918, and didn’t win it again until 2004. The Dodgers, on the other hand, won it all in 1955 with the fabled “Boys of Summer” team. They moved to California a few years later. In Los Angeles, the Dodgers secured the World Series in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988.
However, that is the past, and we are talking about the present. The Dodgers are in the World Series for the second consecutive year after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in a thrilling seven game series. The Red Sox are in after eliminating the defending champion Houston Astros in five games. Will Boston bring home the World Series, or will Los Angeles end its 30-year drought?
The Red Sox finished the regular season with 108 wins and the best record in all of MLB. They were able to get past their arch rival New York Yankees in a four game ALDS, thanks to a combination of timely starting pitching and clutch offense. They advanced to the ALCS for the first time since 2013, where they had to contend with the aforementioned Houston Astros.
Game One went to Houston, thanks to an elite performance from Justin Verlander. He went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits while striking out 6. The biggest blemish on his state line was his walk total, as Verlander walked 4. Game Two looked to be another Astros victory, thanks to another struggling performance on the hill from David Price. However, the Red Sox stormed back from 4-2 down to win it 7-5. Game Three saw the series shift to Houston, but it was all Boston. Steve Pearce hit a solo shot and Jackie Bradley Jr contributed a grand slam to lead the charge in a 8-2 victory. Game Four was another 8-run performance from the offense, and Game Five clinched the Pennant thanks to a great performance from an unlikely source.
David Price had started 11 previous postseason games, and his teams were 1-10 in those games. That changed in Game Five, as he pitched 6 scoreless innings, striking out 9 and surrendering just 3 hits. Price expressed his happiness that he will no longer have to answer questions about his postseason woes.
“That’s awesome,” he said. “I don’t have to prepare myself for it in spring training on Feb. 20 or September when I’ve still got five regular-season starts. I don’t have to answer that question anymore. And man, it feels good.”
Jackie Bradley Jr was named ALCS MVP.
The Dodgers struggled out of the gate in the regular season, but rebounded to defeat the Colorado Rockies in the NL West tiebreaker. The Dodgers then took on the Atlanta Braves, who won the NL Central. It took just four games to dispatch them, and it was onto Milwaukee to face the Brewers.
Game One went to the Brewers, and the offense received an unexpected contribution. Reliever Brandon Woodruff hit a solo home run in the third inning off of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, and the Brewers scraped by with a 6-5 win. Game Two was almost another Brewer victory, but Jeremy Jeffress gave up a late two-run home run to Justin Turner. Game Three saw the series shift to Chavez Ravine, and the Brewers stifled the Dodgers offense shutting them out. Game Four saw the Dodgers once again bounce back, claiming a 2-1 victory to tie the series.
Game Five featured another dominant performance from Clayton Kershaw, and the offense provided him 5 runs as they took the series lead. The Brewers offense responded by throwing a 7 spot on the Dodgers in Game 6, before the Brewers saw their Cinderella season die in Game 7, 5-1.
Cody Bellinger was named NLCS MVP.
Both squads feature high octane offense, stellar defense, and great pitching. The wild card in this series is Boston southpaw David Price. The Red Sox need him to repeat his performance from ALCS Game Five if they want a chance at winning the World Series. I think he will, and that combined with Bradley Jr’s postseason performance will lead the Red Sox to a World Series title.
Prediction: Boston Red Sox in Six Games
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa