Great result for us in our Conference Series preview and tips as we hit on tips of the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers to win their respective matchups. The two teams will now face off in the Major League Baseball World Series getting underway this Wednesday from 11am AEDT.
We take a look at the series in full and give our betting tips below!
The Red Sox will be attempting to win their fourth World Series title since breaking an 87-year drought in 2004. They went on to claim two further titles in 2007 and 2014 and have been the most dominant team in all of the Major Leagues throughout the 2018 season.
The Dodgers will be hoping that they can break their own drought this season, having not won a World Series trophy since 1988. An unsuccessful trip to the World Series against Houston last year will have left them severly disappointed and hungry to do one better this season.
We break down the key aspects of the roster below and give the edge in each category.
While the Dodgers batting records throughout the 2018 season are nothing to glance over, Boston’s were on another level. The Red Sox led all of baseball in runs scored, total hits, RBI, team batting average, OBP, slugging and OPS to make for one of the most dominant seasons with the bat by a team in recent memory.
The trade to acquire J.D Martinez at the start of the year was a masterstroke by the Red Sox front office. The former Astro, Tiger and Diamondback has been arguably the best hitter in the Majors this season, finishing second in total home runs behind only Khris Davis and second in batting average behind teammate Mookie Betts.
Betts, Martinez, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts all finished inside the top 20 in American League batting averages in 2018, while the Dodgers boasted just one player in Matt Kemp who accomplished that feat in the National League.
Manny Machado, Yasiel Puig, Jordan Pederson and Cody Belinger all add match winning ability to the Dodgers attack but they haven't been as consistent as the talented Red Sox batting line-up this season, not by a stretch.
Edge: Red Sox
One thing that these two starting rotations have in common is that they both feature a lot of lefties. Of the Red Sox’s four man starting rotation that has featured prominently so far in October, two of them are left handers, while the Dodgers add another three.
It was hard to faulter the Red Sox starting rotation in the regular season, led by arguably the most consistent pitcher in baseball in Chris Sale and backed up by two Cy Young award winners in David Price and Rick Porcello. However, they have faltered a touch so far in the postseason, alleviating some of their air of invincibility and relying on the talented batting line-up to get them out of some trickey spots.
Fourth string starter Nathan Eovoldi has arguably been the Red Sox best pitcher so far, this post-season and will round out the four-man rotation. Sale was hindered by a stomach bug in the conference series, pitching in only one game so will come into Game 1 of the World Series on a nine day break, which is huge at this time of year.
Clayton Kershaw has probably been the most dominant pitcher in baseball since the start of the decade. In that time, he has racked up three Cy Young awards, a National League MVP and has made seven all-star appearances. While his ERA in 2018 was the highest it has been since the 2012 season, he is still arguably the scariest pitcher in baseball on his night and helped the Dodgers to a 2-1 record in his three starts so far in the postseason. He was dominant in a crucial Game 5 win over the Brewers in the conference series, allowing just three hits and one run through seven innings.
Kershaw will be joined on the starting mound throughout the series by Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler who have been fantastic of late, both maintaining a ERA under 2.0 over their last seven games. However, we have to give the slight edge to Boston in this department once again, Price seems to have really found some form that made him a Cy Young winner in Tampa Bay while nine days rest for Sale should have him fired up for Game 1.
The bullpen is where the Red Sox have really fallen away during the 2018 post season. After the likes of Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman were reliable in the regular season, they have struggled to provide valuable innings in October and the form of closer Craig Kimbrel is the most worrying of all.
Kimbrel has looked in danger of giving up a lead every time he’s stepped onto the mound so far, this post-season, carrying a ridiculous ERA of 8.44 with five walks in just over five innings before a decent performance in Game 5 of the ALCS got him somewhat out of trouble. Look for Red Sox manager Alex Cora to continue to use his off-day starters in relief throughout this series. Regular season starters Eduardo Rodriguez and potentially Steven Wright will also play a part.
The Dogers bullpen is where they seem to have a clear advantage over the Red Sox in the lead up to the World Series. They were fantastic in the NLCS, combining for an ERA of just 1.45 over 31 innings pitched in the seven-game series.
Closer Kenley Jansen was a perfect 3/3 on saves from opportunities in the NLCS while Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood and Pedro Baez were also fantastic.
Edge: Los Angeles
We think this is certainly Boston’s title to lose. They have been the dominant team in all of baseball in 2018 and open at around $1.60 at most outlets. Depsite their recent problems, their starting rotation boasts two Cy Young Award winners and another guy who is unlucky not to have one. They boast three of the most dynamic hitters in all of baseball in Martinez, Betts and Benintendi and they have one of the best defensive outfields in the history of baseball.
A slight concern for Cora will be the having to get usual designated hitter J.D Martinez into the line-up when the Red Sox travel to LA for games 3, 4 and 5* (if required). Due to the rules of the World Series, games in National League ball parks will not have a designated hitter, which could make it tough for Cora to slot Martinez into the line-up given how dominant the Red Sox outfield has been. It’s likely, however, that Mookie Betts will move to second base, allowing Martinez to play in the outfield. It means that the Sox will take a slight hit in defensive production but Martinez’ bat is just too important.
We think if the Red Sox can get a hold of Kershaw in Game 1 and win at home, it becomes very tough for the Dodgers to win this series. Kershaw will need to have one of the all-time great pitching performances at Fenway Park and potentially again in Los Angeles for the Dodgers to break a 30 year drought.
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