By Enrique Gutierrez and Kyle Moates
The Boston Red Sox eliminated the defending 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers won a tough 7-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers to clinch a World Series birth for two consecutive years.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have been favored to win the 2018 World Series all season long. After the regular season ended, the Red Sox finished with a 108-54 record, one of the best marks in MLB history. They came into the playoffs knowing where they stand as a team and their goal was to win a World Series this year.
The Red Sox first took on their rival New York Yankees in the ALDS. The Yankees had an outstanding team this year, yet they were still no match for the Red Sox and lost the series 3-1.
Next, the Sox took on the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros in the ALCS. The Astros looked very strong this year again, finishing with one of the best records in baseball once again and winning the tough AL West. This series was expected to be a very exciting one and one that people would talk about for years. Sadly, the Red Sox showed their dominance and gentlemen swept the Astros 4-1.
Houston stood no chance as Chris Sale, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi had clutch performances on the mound for the Red Sox. Key players such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and J.D. Martinez were just ripping the cover off of baseballs for the Red Sox offensively. The Sox roster only seems to be heating up more and more as we progress throughout the postseason.
The Red Sox have one of the best rosters in baseball history this year. Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, David Price, Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, Craig Kimbrel, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Joe Kelly headline some of the talent they have up and down the scorecard. Postseason pitchers and hitters from opposing teams have struggled to find success against this stacked team.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was named the ALCS Series MVP due to his clutch performance and three home runs in key situations for Boston. The Red Sox have seemed to deliver at every key point in each game this postseason, driving in runners in scoring position and running the bases well.
Needless to say, the Red Sox are going into this year’s World Series with a lot of confidence.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers in a 7-game NLCS that culminated this weekend. The Dodgers proved to have a winning mentality in the last stretch of the regular season that has now carried over to the postseason. LA has now been crowned National League champions for two consecutive years, their first time winning back-to-back pennants since 1987-1988, which was also the last time the Dodgers won the World Series.
After going on an 11-game winning streak, the Brewers were set to face off against a Dodger team that was somewhat unknown. Before the series began, the strengths for Milwaukee was their offense and bullpen. Throughout the series, it was shown that the Brewers bullpen was their weakest link, as they were completely outmatched against the Dodgers. Any time right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was put into the game by manager Craig Counsel, he would struggle and give up runs in key situations.
Despite this, the Los Angeles Dodgers struggled in many key situations, leaving too many runners on base. Max Muncy, Enrique Hernandez, Yasmani Grandal, and Matt Kemp played extremely poorly in the series. During the NLCS, Yasmani Grandal was the worst player on the field at times, racking up multiple passed balls and errors behind the plate. After Game 3, Grandal was benched and backup catcher Austin Barnes took over the starter position, proving that he is the better defensive and overall catcher of the two.
Surprisingly, the Dodgers bullpen was the key to success in the NLCS. The unit held the Brewers in check, allowing less runs than the starting pitchers altogether. Some relievers that helped shut down the Brewers were Ryan Madson, Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, and Julio Urias.
The Dodgers are going back to the World Series this year with a new look team and a different mindset. The Dodgers enter this World Series with the hope of shortstop Manny Machado and second baseman Brian Dozier to go off offensively against the Red Sox. Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, and David Freese need to continue their hot hitting this series as well to give the Dodgers a chance.
World Series Matchups
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have only faced each other once in the regular season in the past decade. The two ball clubs have many strengths and this World Series is due to be high-powered and exciting. The pitching matches are extremely intriguing, with Game 1- Chris Sale vs Clayton Kershaw, Game 2- David Price vs Hyun-Jin Ryu, Game 3- Nathan Eovaldi vs Walker Buehler, and Game 4- Rick Porcello vs Rich Hill. The Dodgers starting rotation consist of all lefties and the Red Sox consists of two lefties and two right handers.
Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Steve Pearce, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. headline some of the star bats the Red Sox have in their lineup this year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lineup consists of many platoon players who are set out to play depending on whether the opposing starter is a lefty or righty. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has seen the players who have struggled in the postseason and also those who are carrying a hot bat. Three players who are bound to have a big series are Manny Machado, Brian Dozier, and David Freese.
The 2018 World Series will be a hard fought series as both teams have had a successful year and have incredible young talent. The Boston Red Sox had the best record in all of baseball meanwhile the Dodgers were the underdogs until the month of September. Both offenses will be tough to contain, but the Dodgers pitching staff has been unbelievable in the postseason. Both offenses have woken up recently and can give issues and stress to opposing pitchers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers return to the World Series to get redemption after being one game away from winning it all last year. The Boston Red Sox have been hungry for a championship for the past few years as they have developed their roster and prepared for the big stage.
The Dodgers are overlooked in this series, as many predict that the Boston Red Sox will win the 2018 World Series. But being one game away from winning the World Series in 2017, the Dodgers will look to prove everyone wrong and come away as champions this year.
This series will go down to the wire and probably end in a game 6 or 7, but I ultimately believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the 2018 World Series champions.