Geoff Flynn.com


Dodgers Return to the Series—This Time vs.Boston
October 22, 2018

There will not be a World Series rematch for the first time in four decades, but for the first time in that same period, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made it to the fall classic for the second consecutive year. Instead of the Houston Astros, the Dodgers will take on the fabled Boston Red Sox, who had the best record in the American League.

The Dodgers needed a game seven to get by Milwaukee, but won the game 5-1 Saturday night. Brewers manager Craig Counsell did the Dodgers a favor by pitching his best reliever Josh Hader in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, and with the Dodgers leading 2-1 at the time. Series MVP Cody Bellinger homered off of starter Jhoulys Chacin in the second inning, and Yasiel Puig went deep with a three-run shot off of Jeremy Jeffress in the sixth. Apparently just to use him because he said he would, Dodger manager Dave Roberts ran Clayton Kershaw out for a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation. Kershaw gets the start for the World Series opener tomorrow at Fenway Park against Chris Sale.

A Houston-LA series would have had some good storylines—mostly about rematch and redemption. This one will have several. The Green Monster at Fenway, the cold weather in Boston, the Red Sox playing outfielder Mookie Betts at second base in Los Angeles to keep DH J.D. Martinez' bat in the lineup, and the managers. Dave Roberts and Alex Cora were teammates as players in LA in 2004, Roberts was traded to Boston that year and had the most famous stolen base in franchise history against the Yankees.

There's more. Dodger fans know that Kershaw's post-season record isn't that great, but Boston's David Price's is worse. Price will start game two against Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was the loser in game six against Milwaukee. Manny Machado has some history against the Red Sox and will get booed, and Yasiel Puig might be the first player to ever hit a ball through Fanway's left field wall. Both teams hit for power, both teams have good starting pitching, and both teams have shaky bullpens.

It wasn't that long ago (okay, 14 years now) that the Red Sox had the 'curse of the Bambino', and hadn't won a World Series in 86 years. Now they are trying for their fourth championship in 15 years, while the Dodgers have gone an even 30 years (in a season that was so improbable, the impossible has happened) without a ring. Boston-LA reminds sports fans of the Lakers and the Celtics—Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Johnson is now part-owner of the Dodgers.

There's also the unspoken media angle. You know Fox executives were (more than elated) when the Dodgers won at Milwaukee on Saturday. This could be a coast-to-coast big market bonanza, and the highest rated series in many years. The billion-dollar plus lottery jackpot may still be up for grabs, but the networks hit it big with this one.

The Red Sox are favored. They won 108 regular season games to the Dodgers' 92 and had the best record in baseball. The Dodgers had the best record last year but didn't win it all.

On Opening Day at Dodger Stadium this year, Kirk Gibson threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Orel Hershiser. That '88 club was a longer shot than this one. Maybe, after 30 years for LA fans, this is the year.


Rockin' Robins: Don't let those Fox guys tell you that the Dodgers faced the Red Sox in the World Series in 1916. It was actually the Brooklyn Robins (who became the Dodgers in 1931) that lost to the Red Sox in five games that year. Also, according to baseball-almanac.com, even though Fenway Park opened in 1912, the Boston home games were played in cross town Braves Field to accommodate a larger crowd. Over 41-thousand would pay to watch game two, which the Red Sox won 2-1 in 14 innings. A Red Sox lefty named Babe Ruth was the winning pitcher, going all 14 innings. His only run allowed was an inside-the-park homer by Hy Myers in the first inning. The game, which is still tied for the longest World Series game in terms of innings, was played in 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Angel of the morning: Lost in the Dodger hoopla, LA's other team, the Angels, officially named Brad Ausmus as the 17th manager in their franchise history today. The former catcher (who briefly played for the Dodgers in 2009 and 2010) succeeds Mike Scioscia, who stepped down after 19 seasons. Ausmus managed Detroit from 2014 to 2017. According to the Angels website, Ausmus beat out nine other candidates to become the club's first skipper since 1999.

Like a rolling stone: We understand Dodgers radio guy Charley Steiner was a disc jockey before his sports days, but he still apparently carries with him an affinity for a certain Bob Dylan song. In what is an apt description when a team is down and needs to try anything to get on the scoreboard, he'll say “When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose.” In Saturday's NLCS game seven when Milwaukee was bringing in relief pitchers at weird times, Steiner dropped “the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you”, without mentioning Dylan or the song title.





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