The Los Angeles Dodgers have found themselves in a pretty steep hole in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Down 2-0 in a best of 7 series, the Dodgers are in need of a win, and fast.
In the Fall Classic, 43 out of 54 teams that have had a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the series, which includes the last 10 teams to do it. The Dodgers know what it’s like to be on both sides of the ball in a 2-0 series. The last time a team was down 2-0 after losing the first two games on the road was the Dodgers, when they beat the Yankees in the 1981 World Series. Three years prior, however, the Dodgers blew a 2-0 lead to the Yankees, and saw the Yankees win four straight to claim the 1978 championship.
Games 1 and 2 went absolutely great for Boston. The games were fairly close almost the whole time, and Boston never felt out of it when they were down or tied. This kept the crowd in the game, and when Boston took the lead for good, Los Angeles couldn’t get anything going. Boston had a phenomenal pitching performance in game 2, holding the Dodgers to just 2 runs on 3 hits all night long.
Games 1 and 2 were very slow going for the Dodgers. In game 1, Clayton Kershaw saw his poor postseason play return, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings pitched. The bats never really got going for the Dodgers either, seeing just a total of 3 hits in game 2. If LA is going to have a chance to make a comeback in this series, their bats had better start waking up.
Game 3 can and will change the outlook of the series for both teams. Either Boston is up 3-0 and can win any of the next four games, or Boston is up 2-1, with the Dodgers having new life and seemingly breathing on the Sox necks. The Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, has said he plans to shuffle the lineup for the crucial game 3, but will stick with his main guys who got them to the World Series. However, some of this lineup shuffling may just be the change seen from moving from an AL stadium to an NL stadium, so we’ll see the kind of lineup changes Roberts has in store when the starting lineups come out.
In games 3 and 4, the Dodgers will have the advantage in starting pitching over the Red Sox. In game 3, the Dodgers hand the ball to Walker Buehler, who pitched very well in LA’s game 7 win over the Brewers a week ago. He will being facing Rick Porcello, who has only started 2 games this postseason and has looked shaky in both. The Dodgers want to score enough runs on him early before Boston goes to their bullpen, which has shut down the Dodgers so far this series. In game 4, the Dodgers’ Rich Hill will go against Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi, who came out of the bullpen in games 1 and 2. While this may not have a huge effect in how he pitches game 4, it could be a factor in terms of pitch count and recognition of pitches from the Dodgers’ hitters.
All in all, it’s the Red Sox series to lose right now. They finished 16 games better than the Dodgers in the regular season, and the Dodgers seem to be overmatched. Game 3 will be the most pivotal game of the first 4, as the Dodgers look to inch their way back into the series, and the Red Sox look to knock on the door of another championship.