World Series: Dodgers’ narrow path to winning it all rides on Clayton Kershaw and getting to David Price
LOS ANGELES — The World Series might seem over. After all, the Red Sox need to win just one more game before they lose three in a row. They won 108 games in the regular season and have gone 10-3 so far in the playoffs. It just doesn’t seem possible. Still, the Dodgers aren’t dead yet.
While the deficit feels insurmountable, let’s consider this. The last time a team was down 3-1, facing a home game followed by two road games was 2016. Yes, just two years ago. The Cubs were down 3-1, won a nail-biter at home before blowing the Indians out in Game 6 and taking an all-time great Game 7. Can the Dodgers do the same? Let’s see how it could unfold.
First, it’s Clayton Kershaw. He’s been alternating good and bad starts in the playoffs this year. It’s inexplicable, but it keeps happening. If things stay on the same path, he’ll be stellar in Game 5. Let’s say seven strong innings. It seems unlikely Kenley Jansen will go again, but if he’s available, Dave Roberts surely won’t try to get two out of him. Pedro Baez, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias can surely do some work here, too.
Offensively, the Dodgers are going to face someone possibly compromised. David Price is on short rest after starting Game 2. That’s true even if we ignore the further context, but there is more. He threw 13 pitches in relief in Game 3 and also warmed up in Game 4.
Price was excellent in ALCS Game 5 in a somewhat similar situation and he was very good in Game 2 of the World Series. But it just seems like the Red Sox are unnecessarily playing with fire. If the Dodgers jump on Price early, it really sets them up well because Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been so aggressive with his pitching staff. Would he throw Chris Sale and/or Rick Porcello in relief? I wouldn’t put it by him. It’s worked so far so I’m not knocking it, but the reality is he’s been managing every game in the playoffs like it’s either Game 7 or they are down like 0-2 in the series.
Again, I’m not knocking it. They are 10-3. The reality here, though, is the Dodgers can take advantage by putting some crooked numbers on the board and really tiring out the entire Red Sox pitching staff before possible Games 6 and 7.
If that all happens, the Dodgers have a day off and then get back to Boston with a fresh Hyun-Jin Ryu and likely rested bullpen. Who knows the state of the Red Sox pitching staff if Cora keeps managing every game like it’s Game 7. If the Dodgers manage to win Game 6?
Walker Buehler, the man morphing into the Dodgers’ ace, awaits the Red Sox. The Dodgers would have to feel good about that one, especially riding the wave of two straight wins, right? I’m not even sure who starts Game 7 for the Red Sox. Maybe Nathan Eovaldi, though I feel like he’d get work in Game 6.
See? The Dodgers can still win the World Series. It’s a tall order and uphill battle. If I had to bet, I’d go with the Red Sox rather quickly.
It would, however, be folly to count the Dodgers out. They still have a realistic shot. It’s laid out above.
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