The Los Angeles Dodgers are a great team, and they preserved in a long season that featured so many injuries. They deserve respect just for being in the World Series for the second straight season after making it last year just to fall short to the Houston Astros in seven games.
Still, doesn’t anyone get the feeling the Dodgers may be overmatched against a powerful Boston Red Sox team in this year’s Fall Classic from watching Game 1 on Tuesday night?
It is one game, but the Red Sox’ 8-4 victory over the Dodgers at Fenway Park had the perception of a series that is going to be short and sweet. This has a making of a sweep.
The Red Sox are loaded offensively, and they have more depth in the starting rotation and bullpen than their World Series counterparts. That was the story of Game 1, and it will be the story for the rest of the World Series.
The Dodgers made it interesting couple of times when they tied it at 2 in the third inning and when they cut the deficit to 5-4 in the seventh inning. But it was hard to see them winning it in the end. Not in the first game at Fenway Park where the Red Sox fed off the crowd’s enthusiasm.
It’s hard to think they can pull it off again in Game 2 when Red Sox fans can smell vulnerability on the Dodgers’ side. There’s no question the Fenway crowd will be even louder than in Game 1 knowing that they can break the Dodgers’ spirit.
The Red Sox will be motivated to get it done. They want to end their season as quickly as possible after enduring a long season. They know they have so much to gain in winning Game 2 Wednesday night before the series shifts to Dodger Stadium on Friday night. They can play free and easy heading to Game 3, and the pressure will be on the Dodgers to start winning a game and avoid being swept.
Here’s why the Dodgers don’t want to go home down by two: Teams that win the 1st two games at home go on to win the World Series 81.6% of the time (31-7). So the pressure is on the Dodgers to make this a series while the Red Sox can go for the kill.
The Dodgers had to play from ahead than behind against the Red Sox for them to have a chance. It did not happen. The Red Sox scored the first two runs of the game in the first inning, and when the Dodgers tied it in the third inning, the Red Sox responded by taking a 3-2 lead on MVP candidate J.D. Martinez’s RBI double that scored Steve Pearce in that same inning.
The Red Sox provided the knockout blow in the seventh inning when Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run home run to give them an 8-4 lead. Game, Set, Match.
The Red Sox know now what they have to do to beat the Dodgers. What will the Dodgers do about it? That will be intriguing heading to Game 2. If they don’t respond here, they won’t at all for the rest of the Fall Classic.
For the Red Sox, it seems like the World Series is like playing in an exhibition game. They had it easy against the Yankees and Houston Astros in the first two rounds of their playoffs. One can make a case those two teams that the Red Sox faced are better than any NL team that made the playoffs.
Beating those two elite AL teams should make the Red Sox feel confident about their chances against the Dodgers. The Red Sox also know they can win on the road by being undefeated this postseason, which is why they are in a position to win their fourth championship in 15 years. This is another reason a sweep is not out of the question.
In the last three World Series the Red Sox played in, it’s been a mismatch for their National League counterparts. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals in 2004 and the Rockies in 2007, and they won the World Series in six games against the Cardinals in 2013.
Right now, the trajectory points to another mismatch.
Game 2 will be about what the Dodgers will do to respond. If they are going to win the World Series, it has to be this game. They need to win at least two games at Fenway to finish off this 108-win team.
The Red Sox are in great shape, and the Dodgers know it.
From the eye test, this World Series is the Red Sox to lose.
In fact, the only thing intriguing about this series is this: Will there be a sweep?