The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox are two of the most prestigious clubs in the Major League Baseball, each representing the National and the American League. The two clubs are going head to head in the World Series for the first time in 102 years, making baseball fans around the world more excited than ever. Los Angeles and Boston will have their first round for the World Series at 9:09 a.m. on Wednesday (Korean time) at Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox. On Monday, mlb.com introduced an article titled “5 key storylines for the World Series.”
Each year, the faceoff between the ace pitchers draws heated attention from the viewers of the World Series. Admittedly, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Chris Sale of the Red Sox are some of the League’s best pitchers. “Two of the best starting pitchers of their generation should be set to square off in Game 1,” the mlb.com article said. While Boston announced Sale as their starting pitcher for Game 1 after the Championship, LA has yet to reveal their starting pitcher. Considering the rotation, Kershaw is likely to show up.
In the Sunday game against Milwaukee, Kershaw took the mound in the ninth inning and successfully blanked the Brewers. It was only three days after he had conceded only one point in seven innings in the Championship Game 5 last Thursday. If Kershaw takes the plate on Wednesday as well, it will be his third appearance on the mound in the span of a week. Remarkably, Kershaw was the first to show up for practice at Fenway Park on Monday, attesting to his determination to win World Series. During the Post Season, Kershaw pitched in four games (starting pitcher in three), keeping his ERA at 2.37 over 19 innings.
The scoring average of Los Angeles stood at 4.93 in regular season, the highest in the National League, and Boston too topped the list in the American League with 5.41 runs per game. The Los Angeles Dodgers boast a watertight batting lineup. With Manny Machado at the center, who is having his best season with 37 homers and .297 AVG, the lineup is laced with strong batters such as Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Yasiel Puig. With the best team batting average in the Major League, the Red Sox is notorious for their precision and agility on the bases.
Boston has a strong “one-two punch”: Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. This season, Betts claimed a batting title in the American League with .346 AVG, hitting 32 homers and stealing 30 bases. Martinez was ranked as the second best home run batter and claimed the title of the best RBI in the American League, with 43 homers and 130 runs batted in. In regular season, Boston’s .817 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) against right-handed pitchers was the best in the Major League, but against lefties, their OPS stands at .719, ranked 18th in the league.
Among the four starters, the Dodgers have three left-handed pitchers – Clayton Kershaw, Ryu Hyun-jin, and Rich Hill. They also have strong lefties in the bullpen such as Alex Wood and Julio Urias.
“Boston fared well against southpaws in postseason, but in regular season, the gap was significant when they were dealing with righties or lefties,” said the mlb.com article. “Whether the left-handed pitchers of Los Angeles will hold a lead against the batters of the Red Sox will decide the fate of the World Series.”