After an impressive 4-2 win in the second game of the 2018 World Series, Boston took a commanding 2 games to 0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Key moments happened in both games that provides plenty of discussion heading to Chavez Ravine for Game 3 and 4. You know what happened in Game 1 and Game 2, but do you know why? Let’s dig deep!
Game 1’s Biggest Takeaways
Roberts Didn’t Figured Out How to Use his Bullpen
You’d think after 4 games in the NLDS and a 7-game NLCS, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts would have figured out how to use his bullpen. So far in 2 World Series games, it’s apparent he hasn’t.
In the Game 1 loss, he squandered a decent start from ace Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw didn’t dominate the Red Sox, but he pitched as well as Red Sox ace Chris Sale. That’s all Roberts wanted.
L.A.’s manager left Pedro Baez in for .2 innings, 2 outs, forcing him to use Ryan Madson for an inning, Julio Urias for more than an inning, and former starter Alex Wood for an inning. Madson walked a batter and advanced a couple of base runners off a wild pitch, Urias gave up a run off a double, and Wood gave up a 3-run home run.
Baez allowed a run as well, but his run was off an intentional walk. Baez looked great striking out Mitch Moreland and Xander Boegarts. Why Roberts didn’t leave Baez in longer before going to Wood is anybody’s guess.
Red Sox Are Unreal Under Pressure
Red Sox are great under pressure. Eduardo Nunez hit the home run that broke the game open when the count was 1-0 and with 2 outs. Dodgers had Alex Wood follow up the knuckle curve he threw on the first pitch with another knuckler. Nunez saw it was the same pitch and blasted it into the stands.
That wasn’t the only time the Red Sox came through under pressure. J.D. Martinez doubled to deep center with 2 outs in the third. That put the Red Sox ahead 3-2 after the Dodgers had tied it 2-2 at the top of the third.
Game 2’s Biggest Takeaways
David Price Has Burned Postseason Ghost’s Bones
Anyone who watches Supernatural knows that the way to kill a ghost is to burn its bones. David Price splashed lighter fluid on his postseason ghost’s bones in the fantastic Game 5 ALCS performance that propelled Boston into the World Series. He lit the those bones on fire in Game 2.
Price pitched 6 innings, struck out 5, walked 3, and earned only 2 runs. He lost a bit of his control, and a bit of the game, when the bases were loaded but was able to escape with just two earned runs. Alex Cora knows that if he can get quality innings from his starters, he’s got the edge.
The best part? Price only threw 88 pitches. If Red Sox are in position to close the door on the Dodgers this weekend, Cora could roll the dice and have Price throw a bridge inning from Joe Kelly or Matt Barnes to closer Craig Kimbrel.
Roberts Didn’t Learn from Game 1
Roberts must have felt the wild pitch Madson threw in Game 1 of the World Series was meaningless because he had his reliever head to the mound after starter Hyun-Jin Ryu loaded up the bases in the bottom fifth.
With 2 outs on the board, all Madson had to do was get the third out for the Dodgers to escape disaster. Instead, he threw a fastball in the same exact spot 5 times in a row, missed all 5 times, and walked in the tying run.
J.D. Martinez, the very next batter, hit a deep single to center off Madson that brought in 2 runs. That’s all Boston needed. What’s alarming if you’re a Dodgers fan is that Madson had a 5.57 ERA and 1.41 WHIP heading into the postseason.
Even after Madson’s Game 1 performance, Roberts stuck to the script. By the time Baez got to the hill, it was pretty much over.
A Look Ahead To Games 3 & 4
Cora sends Rick Porcello to the mound while Roberts starts rookie Walker Buehler, who should throw well in the early innings. After that, who knows? Buehler allowed 5 earned runs in only 5 innings in a 5-6 loss to Atlanta in the NLDS.
In the NLCS, he allowed 4 earned runs in 7 innings. Roberts has a problem because he can’t give Buehler too much run never knowing when the rookie might implode. He most definitely can’t pull him too early because he failed to figure out which reliever can take Madson’s place as the first pitcher from the bullpen.
Game 3 means more than Game 4. If Dodgers lose Game 3, Red Sox should close them out. Nathan Eovaldi, Game 4’s starter, has been brilliant for Boston.
Pay attention on Friday. If Roberts’ makes the necessary adjustments and Dodgers pull out a win, it’s up to Alex Cora to adjust. If Roberts doesn’t, the sweep is on.
Game 3 of the 2018 World Series is Friday, October 26th at 5:09pm ET. Boston is currently a +135 road dog against the favored Dodgers, valued at -165 as the series heads back west.
Game 4 is set for Saturday, October 27th at 5:09pm ET. Game 5, if necessary, will be played on Sunday.