After two games of the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, it feels like the outcome is a foregone conclusion. In order to come back and win, the Dodgers would have to win four of the next five games against a team that won 108 regular season games and has handled LA fairly easily in games one and two.
The task is more daunting when you consider that winning 108 games means exactly 2/3 of Boston’s games ended in victory–and they had only one streak of losing four of five throughout the regular season. They are 9-2 this post season, have won 14 of their last 16 World Series games going 8-1 at Fenway Park. For Dodger hopefuls, two factoids give them a punchers chance: the next three games of this series are at Chavez Ravine and the the Red Sox have already lost a World Series where they up 2-0 in 1986 to the New York Mets.
The statistics through the first two games don’t bode well for a Dodger comeback. They’ve been outscored 12-6, outslugged .406 to .222, and are hitting .175 as a team versus the Red Sox .175.
As far as pitching, the Red Sox have a staff ERA of 3.00 while the Dodger hurlers are at 6.75. This postseason, Boston is 17-for-40 with two outs and runners in scoring position. They relentlessly work the count on every batter and will take a base anyway they can. They lead the Dodgers in total bases through the first two games 26-14. Getting 27 outs and outscoring them at the same time has been a difficult proposition for most teams this whole year.
Rookie Boston manager Alex Cora has continued to confound opponents with some unconventional decision making. The most notable of which is using starting pitchers out of the bullpen even if they are scheduled to start a game in a day or two. He no doubt realizes that the Red Sox Achilles’ heel has been their bullpen all year long. Using starters such as Nathan Eovaldi have stabilized games when the opponent begins a rally. There have been some whispers out of Boston that if Eovaldi continues pitching the was he has, he has a chance for an MVP award at the end of the series. In fact, it can be argued that the bullpen has been a strength and not a liability in this World Series so far.
The Boston Red Sox are in a good position as far as trends go. Of the 54 teams that have gone up 2-0 in the World Series, 43 have gone on to win the title (80%). The Dodgers don’t face an insurmountable task but it probably would be a good idea for them to win game three. If not, those Red Sox fans who hold tickets to games six and seven are either going to get a quick refund or own an expensive bauble for their trouble.
The champagne is not quite on ice yet but the locker room goggles are probably in Los Angeles.