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Baseball is now down to two final teams: the Boston Red Sox for the American League and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League. In a series that has never been seen before, Boston looks to claim their ninth championship and Los Angeles goes for number seven. In a battle of red vs. blue, who will come out on top?
The Red Sox got to the postseason by winning 108 games, giving them the best record in baseball. Lead by Most Valuable Player award candidates outfielder Mookie Betts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez, their line up has featured a good mix of average and power, with defense and pitching being their speciality.
After clinching the east and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they would do battle with their rivals, the New York Yankees in the divisional series. They defeated them in four games to advance to the Championship Series. In the ALCS, Boston uprooted the defending champion Houston Astros in five games to win their 14th pennant. Boston have a good all around team, but their bullpen could get them in trouble.
The Dodgers made their marks by fighting their way with 91 games to force a tie breaker for the National League west crown with the Colorado Rockies. From there, the boys in blue took on the Atlanta Braves and beat them in four games. Making it to the National League Championship Series for a second year in a row, they faced the National League’s top team, the Milwaukee Brewers and outlast them in seven games. Los Angeles, while possessing a potent line up, have great starting pitching. Their biggest weakness however is their defense.
Position by Position Match Ups:
Catcher: Sandy Leon/Christian Vazquez (BOS) vs. Yasmani Grandal/Austin Barnes (LAD)
Advantage: BOS: Better defense at a position where it’s required.
First Base: Steve Pearce (BOS) vs. Max Muncy (LAD)
Advantage: LAD: Pearce has a nice average but Muncy has delivered more home runs and runs batted in.
Second Base: Ian Kinsler (BOS) vs. Enrique Hernandez (LAD)
Advantage: BOS: Kinsler has been better at the plate, and better in the field.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (BOS) vs. Manny Machado (LAD)
Advantage: LAD: Bogaerts has been good, Machado has been better in the postseason.
Third Base: Rafael Devers (BOS) vs. Justin Turner (LAD)
Advantage: BOS: Turner may be Los Angeles’ “Mr. October”, Devers has been able to deliver more.
Left Field: Andrew Benintendi (BOS) vs. Joc Pederson (LAD)
Advantage: BOS: Beinintendi has more weapons that can hurt the Dodgers than Pederson does the Red Sox.
Center Field: Jackie Bradley Jr (BOS) vs. Cody Bellinger (LAD)
Advantage: BOS: Both have horrible averages but Bradley has come more alive this postseason.
Right Field: Mookie Betts (BOS) vs. Yasiel Puig (LAD)
Advantage: LAD: Betts may be the Most Valuable Player this year but Puig has been more valuable in the playoffs.
Starting Pitcher: BOS vs. LAD
Advantage: LAD: While Sale and Porcello have been good, Los Angeles has three top tier starters that could shut down teams
Bullpen: BOS vs LAD
Advantage: LAD: The bullpen for the Dodgers is consistently better without the use of using a starting pitcher.
Closer: Craig Kimbrel(BOS) vs Kenley Jansen(LAD)
Advantage: LAD: While both have been perfect in save opportunities, Jansen has allowed no runs this postseason, Kimbrel’s given up five
Prediction: Red Sox defeat the Dodgers in six games
Beyond the advantages above, it’s a lot closer than one may think. The Dodgers have the advantage in pitching and the Red Sox have it at the plate. However, there’s an old saying, “defense wins championships.” Should Boston play their style of defense and continue to the way they have, the Commissioner’s Trophy could be shipping up Boston. Los Angeles’ pitching is going to have to limit Boston’s opportunities and hope their offense can provide a spark. It’s close but Boston may be the better team in this scenario.