The Dodgers just dispatched the upstart Brewers and move on to face the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series. Cue the grainy black and white photos of The Babe in a Red Sox uniform. Let us see the Dropkick Murphy’s grinding rendition of Tessie.
Cue fans using the Brooklyn Robins in barroom and water cooler talk, and a million google searches for ‘Red Sox-Dodgers world series history’ hitting the 1916 World Series page on Wikipedia. Cue every old Brooklyn Dodger fan coming out of the woodwork, and the slightly less grainy photos and videos of Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, and Pee Wee Reese. A mountain of content on the 1988 LA Dodgers World Series winners will come out.
Cue Fever Pitch where the old guy counts off the string of Red Sox world series wins in 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918. Prompt Dave Roberts making his fateful steal in the bottom of the 9th in game 4 against Mariano Rivera. Cue pictures of Alex Cora in an LA Dodgers uniform. The rating of this series is through the roof!
It’s an old-school, original 6 type of World Series that will be chock full of intrigue and potential controversy.
THE RED SOX
With a resounding thud, all the doubting and putting down of the 2018 Red Sox has been pushed off the desks of commentators nationwide. This team is an absolute wagon with a horseshoe, four-leafed clover, and all the baseball gods in their back pocket.
All the beautiful poignant vignettes of warm feelings are still cascading around the Red Sox: The Alex Cora birthday serenade in the clubhouse after beating the Houston Astros in 5 games. David Price’s moment with friends and family that choked everyone up. Alex Cora talking about the Red Sox sending supplies to his storm-ravaged homeland. Alex Cora is the first manager from Puerto Rico to take his team to the World Series.
Yes, changing managers can make a world of difference in the day to day operations clubhouse and team. It doesn’t hurt that Cora is batting, oh, around .800 with his in-game and lineup decisions so far in the playoffs.
There’s every reason in our provincial New England bubble to expect a romp over the Dodgers in the World Series. The bats are batting: JBJ! JD! PEARCY! MITCHY! The gloves are catching: BENNY! MOOKIE! The pitchers pitching: PRICE! BRASIER! KELLY! BARNES! PORCELLO! Even maybe SALE! Possibly KIMBREL!
And yet, there is a reason to pause.
When it comes to the match-ups there’s not much, but what there is tends to favor the Dodgers. Of the four starting pitchers on LA (Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, local boy made good Rich Hill, Walker Buehler), there’s only one player on the Red Sox who have any history. That’s JD Martinez against Kershaw. It’s a minuscule 8 at-bats, but JD has managed a home run, double and .375 average against the talented lefty.
On the other side are two individuals that show up again and again.
We’ll start with Brian Dozier. He may not be what he once was, but he has a boatload of experience against the suddenly vaunted Red Sox staff. Dozier’s batting average doesn’t jump off the page, but the power does: Against Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, and Rick Porcello, Dozier has 9 doubles and 9 home runs in 146 at-bats. If we push those to a full season that’s a 36 double and 36 homer pace.
And he’s the appetizer.
The main man, the designated villain of Red Sox fans and now most of Baseball, is none other than Manny Machado. The side stepper, the slide stabber, the very very bad man.
Commissioner Rob Manfred needs to step up and do something about dirty players like Manny Machado
— tina klamert (@tosa_tina_) October 17, 2018
And he’s a force against the Red Sox pitchers: 4 doubles, 9 homers, 108 at-bats. That’s a projected 18 doubles and, gulp, 41 home runs, and also hits a combined .298 against the Boston starters.
Throw in the fact that the Sox batters haven’t seen the Dodgers pitchers and it could be an edge for the boys in blue.
We finish with one more subtle note on Alex Cora’s staff. The hitting coach of the Red Sox is Tim Hyers. If that name doesn’t leap off the page, it’s not your fault. Hyers does what the best coaches do, he lets the players shine and stays in the shadows.
It turns out Mr. Hyers was the Dodgers assistant hitting coach last year. That means he has the inside track on the Dodgers best hitters, including Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Yasiel Puig among others.
It’s going to be a fun series, why do we have to wait until Tuesday?