Key storylines to the Series
- Sale vs Kershaw: These two square off tonight, in what could be an epic game 1. They’ll also most likely face each other again as starters, and both guys will make at least one relief appearance…especially if their team faces elimination. Sale is great…I love him, but Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball since peak Pedro. He is also a great postseason pitcher, no matter what the stat-peepers say based on his career playoff ERA. He’s nails. No pitcher in history has more than 5 playoff starts with 7+ innings and 1 run or less. He has 8! Don’t overlook this guy…not that you would.
- Craig Kimbrel: Did this guy really fix himself with his game 5 save? Truth be told, he looked good getting outs 1 and 2, but he wasn’t completely unscathed. Is this the puddle of a man we proclaimed the Sox should leave home, or is he the guy who has been one of the best relievers in baseball for the past 5+ years?
- Manny Machado- Supervillain: This guy said hustling was “not my cup of tea”. He spiked Little Dusty last year (and DP acted like a punk afterwards). He spiked Jose Aguilar in the NLCS. He probably spiked the punch at the Jr Prom. He’s hated universally. But he is AWESOME. One of the best players in the game, and like any true Supervillain, he seems to feed off the energy. Sox pitchers are used to seeing this guy, so hopefully they can limit his damage.
- Mookie at Second Base: I DO NOT ENDORSE THIS…especially when the reasoning is to keep freakin’ JBJ in the lineup. I know he had huge hits in the ALCS, but he hit .200. It’s not a bat you need to change your entire game plan for. A game, or even the series, can really turn on one play…do you really want one of the best 3 fielders in MLB out of position- weakening your defense in two spots? We can talk if JBJ is on fire after two games. Or if you want to move Mookie to 2B for an inning or so, with defensive replacements, etc, sure. But I don’t want to see him there for 27 innings in LA.
- The Look: These are the best two home uniforms in baseball. And two of the better parks, visually (Fenway is horrible to actually watch a game in). Beyond the players, this series will be great for TV.
Bold Predictions- Wacky Version
- David Price will pitch an absolute gem in Game 2. We’re talking 7+ of No- or 1- hit baseball. A start for the ages. He’ll have re-written history, made a market for himself, and then will opt out…the minute Sox fans actually accept him. – Courtesy of T. Slavin, Beverly, co-signed by Le Cap
- A game will start on time, and finish in under 3 Hours. This is arguably our wackiest prediction- Courtesy of J. Patrick Cunnion, Melrose
- The Dodgers- perhaps confused by the AL rules and the big stage- will submit a lineup card with no DH, thus forcing the pitcher to bat. – Another from Cunnion
- James Taylor begins his National Anthem performance by announcing “Fuck Warren Beatty, that song IS about me.”
- A fan- believed to have bet the under in one of Kimbrel’s playoff outings- jumps into the bullpen and attempts to assault Craig Kimbrel, eventually thwarted by a Ryan Brasier haymaker. The fan was able to nearly succeed, because Bullpen Cop was busy singing along to Sweet Caroline and offering incessantly to take pictures with fans.
Winner: Sox in 6
I just think they are the better team, and their supporting cast is rolling. Martinez looked good as the Astros series moved on. Betts, despite the numbers, has been hitting the ball well, and the hits will start to fall. I think Cora has shown he can overcome a lack of depth in the ‘pen, by using his starters creatively, and with a week left in the season…there is no reason to hold back.
MVP: David Price- I think he’ll pitch one absolute gem (as highlighted above), has a successful relief appearance as well, and then gives them a solid start in the Game 6 clincher…completely redeeming himself in Boston.
The X-Factor: The X factor will be none other than Xander Bogaerts. He’s been great all season, doesn’t seem to get fazed easily, and he’s a Boras client entering his walk year. Expect big things.
Unsung Hero: The Sox went out to get a veteran piece to solidify 2B defense, when it was clear Pedroia was done, Nunez turned into a pumpkin after ’17, and Brock Holt is better as a bench player. Ian Kinsler has done his job, and he’s delivered some big hits this postseason. I expect a good series out of him, more specifically- one “game-saving” type play in the field, and one “huge hit” to drive in runs and set the table for a big rally.