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World Series history dates back to 1903, but two MLB franchises who have been around for at least that long (the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers) have never faced each other in the Fall Classic despite making it that far a combined 35 times through 2017.
That will change this season after the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday to take the league pennant for the second straight year. The Red Sox were awaiting the NL winner after beating the defending World Series champion Houston Astros in five American League Championship Series games.
Here’s a look at the World Series schedule and television guide, as well as a quick categorical breakdown of both teams to determine who has the edge. A World Series prediction can be found at the end.
Schedule of Dates
Tuesday, October 23 (Game 1): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 24 (Game 2): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Friday, October 26 (Game 3): Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:09 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 27 (Game 4): Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:09 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 28 (Game 5, if necessary): Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, October 30 (Game 6, if necessary): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 31 (Game 7, if necessary): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Television and Live-Stream Info
All games will take place on FOX. Fans can live-stream the action through FOX Sports Go. Pregame coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET each day with the exception of Game 5. If that game takes place, pregame coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET.
The Red Sox finished first in MLB in batting average (.268), runs (876) and OPS (.792).
They finished atop the league in those rankings in part because right fielder Mookie Betts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez had career years. Betts smacked 32 homers alongside a 1.078 OPS, while Martinez led the team in homers (43), RBI (130) and finished second in OPS (1.031) behind Betts.
The question is how manager Alex Cora will play Martinez when the World Series shifts to Dodger Stadium sans the designated hitter. In a press conference, Cora didn’t rule out the possibility of moving Betts to second base and sending Martinez to right field. The exact call isn’t final or official yet, but Cora made it clear that Martinez would play.
The Dodgers’ lineup is fantastic in its own right (third in OPS, second in home runs), but Betts and Martinez are clearly the two best hitters in this year’s World Series and help give the Red Sox the lineup advantage.
Edge: Red Sox
The Dodgers have a significant advantage off the bench thanks to the additions of shortstop Manny Machado and second baseman Brian Dozier before the trade deadline. That made the Dodgers’ offense the deepest in the league, as they now have 12 players who hit 11 or more home runs this season.
L.A. has two significant edges over the Red Sox and the rest of the league.
First, the Dodgers have no problem making lineups in response to the starting pitcher. If a left-hander goes, L.A. can throw out players like Kike Hernandez and David Freese. If a right-hander gets the call, then outfielder Joc Pederson becomes the team’s leadoff hitter.
Second, L.A. has remarkable positional versatility, and that’s in part because Hernandez is a Swiss Army knife who can conceivably play any position outside pitcher or catcher (although he did pitch one-third of an inning this year, so maybe he can do that successfully with some more practice).
Chris Taylor is also an infielder/outfielder with a great glove as seen when he robbed Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich of extra bases with a diving catch in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the NLCS.
The Red Sox can play the matchups at first base with right-handed Steve Pearce and left-handed Mitch Moreland. They also have two catchers to call upon (Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez) and a few infielders too (Rafael Devers, Eduardo Nunez, Ian Kinsler) to mix and match. However, the Dodgers are so deep at the plate and in the field that L.A. gets the advantage.
No starters have been announced yet, but we can safely assume Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw will go for the Red Sox and Dodgers, respectively. The two left-handed staff aces anchor their respective pitching staffs, with Sale striking out 237 batters in 158.0 innings and Kershaw posting a sub-three ERA for the 10th straight season.
Good luck finding an edge in that matchup and throughout the rest of the rotation. David Price of the Red Sox has the best career resume, but he’s struggled in the playoffs during his career (5.04 ERA). That being written, he just punched out nine Astros in six innings in a pennant-clinching win, so maybe those worries have been washed away. If he shows that form again in the World Series, then Boston should have the slight edge.
Overall, the starter ERA on both sides have been near even in the playoffs (3.86 for L.A., 3.92 for Boston), making this a hard category to pick. Call this one a tie.
The Dodger bullpen has been phenomenal this postseason, with a 1.30 ERA, 51 strikeouts in 41.2 innings and a .180 batting average against being the highlights.
L.A. is fortunate enough to call upon starters-turned-relievers (Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda) out of the pen. Maeda led all Dodger starters in strikeouts per nine innings (11.0), and Wood is a 2017 All-Star who had a 3.68 ERA this season.
Furthermore, any issues that closer Kenley Jansen experienced during the regular season (he posted a career-high 3.01 ERA) have disappeared in the playoffs as he’s thrown 6.2 scoreless innings while allowing just two hits, two walks and a .091 batting average against.
Boston has a 3.62 playoff ERA, and closer Craig Kimbrel is struggling right now with a 7.11 ERA in 6.1 postseason innings. He’s given up at least one earned run in four of five appearances.
If this series becomes a battle of the bullpens, the edge goes to L.A.
Although the Dodgers get the nod in two of four categories above compared to Boston’s one, the bottom line is the Red Sox are a 108-win team who just beat the Astros in five games. Houston is arguably the second-best team in baseball.
Betts and Martinez may cause significant problems against the litany of left-handed pitchers L.A. can throw at teams, and one can argue that they are two of the best three hitters in baseball (the other one being Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Boston also has homefield advantage in this series.
This could be an all-time classic. Look for the series to go seven games but for the Red Sox to win.
Pick: Boston 4, Los Angeles 3