The 2018 MLB is almost finished, as the Fall Classic has arrived and only two teams are still standing. Last year, we saw an incredible seven-game series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, with many thrilling moments and jaw-dropping plays. The Astros took the series in 2017 and were destined to reach the World Series once again this year, but the Boston Red Sox had other plans and defeated them in five games in the ALCS. The Los Angeles Dodgers, on the other hand, defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games and are back in the World Series, as they are looking for their first World Series trophy since 1988. This will be a high-energy series filled with many star players and different x-factors, so let's jump right into the overview for each team leading up to the Fall Classic.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are back in the World Series for the first time since 2013, when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals. This team is arguably better than the 2013 team, as they recorded 108 wins in the regular season led by first-year manager Alex Cora, and went on to beat the New York Yankees in four games in the ALDS and the Houston Astros in five games in the ALCS. The ALCS MVP was unsung hero Jackie Bradley Jr., who batted a mediocre .200 but blasted a grand slam in Game 3, to help the Sox win 8-2, and added another home run and 9 RBI's with incredible defense in center field. The Sox are also led by J.D. Martinez who batted .278 and Rafael Devers who batted .385 with 6 RBI's, and the outfield of Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, and Mookie Betts played outstanding defense throughout the ALCS as well. Betts hasn't really been able to get his bat going this postseason, but he always capable of taking games over with one swing of the bat and will look to do just that against the Dodgers. It is also rumored that Betts may play second base when the series goes to Los Angeles, which should be fun to watch as he hasn't played much second base since he was in the Minors. While the bats were able to dominate Houston's arms, the Red Sox pitchers also performed at a high level and exceeded many expectations. The big story of the pitching staff was David Price, who erased all memories of the ALDS and shined in the ALCS, including a terrific Game 5 performance and another good Game 1 outing. While Chris Sale didn't have the best series and is recovering from some stomach illness (there's no way he has a belly button ring), he is still one of the most dominant pitchers in the league and will look to be effective in his first World Series. Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello both had great outings against the Astros, and the bullpen staff of Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Eduardo Rodriguez were all terrific. Craig Kimbrel was shaky at times, but still managed to convert on all of his save opportunities.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Led by manager Dave Roberts, the Los Angeles Dodgers recorded 92 wins and another NL West title after defeating the Colorado Rockies in Game 163. The Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves in four games in the NLDS and then narrowly beat the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games in the NLCS, with Cody Bellinger taking home the NLCS MVP, even after batting only .200 for the series but adding a homer, 4 RBI's and two stolen bases. Manny Machado added controversy to the series after his incident with Brewers 1B Jesus Aguilar, but he still had a productive series, batting .296 with a homer. The Dodgers were also led by Chris Taylor, who batted .364 and had an incredible catch in Game 7 that saved the series and eventually led Los Angeles to the fall classic. The Dodgers were also led by Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner throughout the NLCS and have other players like Max Muncy and Matt Kemp who didn't do great during the series but were very dangerous during the regular season. The pitchers on the Dodgers' staff performed well for the most part, and it starts with Clayton Kershaw. He had a rough outing in Game 1 but had an incredible Game 5 and closed out Game 7 in Milwaukee to send the Dodgers to the World Series. Walker Buehler pitched a great Game 7, only giving up one run, and Rich Hill was great in his lone start but Hyun-Jin Ryu was knocked around in both starts, which was not a good sign for LA. The starting pitchers were serviceable in the NLCS, but the Dodgers' relievers were unstoppable, led by Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Madson and Pedro Baez. Closer Kenley Jansen was untouchable in each of his appearances and recorded two saves as well.
Both of these teams have such a rich history and have been around for a while, which is why it is surprising that this is the first time the Red Sox and the Dodgers will be meeting in the Fall Classic since 1916, when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and were also known as the Robins. The game has changed immensely since 1916 and these changes will be on display during the World Series, including the DH rule. It would make sense for the Red Sox to pitch Rick Porcello in Los Angeles, as he has had success at the plate this season. One match-up that everyone will have their eyes on is the Chris Sale- Clayton Kershaw pitching duel, which will be fun to watch in Game 1 especially after Sale has recovered from his stomach incident. While the Red Sox have been the more dominant team all season long, I'm expecting the Dodgers to put up a good fight, as players like Machado and Brian Dozier have plenty of experience at Fenway. In the end, I believe Boston will be loving that dirty water as the Red Sox defeat the Dodgers in the 114th World Series.