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2018 World Series preview: Dodgers vs. Red Sox

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The Fall Classic begins tonight.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This is going to be a bit of an unorthodox preview of the World Series, not one that has pitcher matchups, positional matchups, the connection between the two managers or any of that sort of thing. You can get that anywhere.

Instead, I’m going to look at some of the interesting side notes attached to this World Series, and see if that leads to a useful prediction of the winner, or if they just wind up as bits of trivia.

That’s pretty interesting, except for that Cubs bit. The six wins were:

1907: Cubs (107 wins) over Tigers (92 wins), four games to none (one tie)
1927: Yankees (110 wins) over Pirates (94 wins), four games to none
1932: Yankees (107 wins) over Cubs (90 wins), four games to none
1944: Cardinals (105 wins) over Browns (89 wins), four games to two
1961: Yankees (109 wins) over Reds (93 wins), four games to one
1998: Yankees (114 wins) over Padres (98 wins), four games to none

Well now. So of those six, three were sweeps, one losing team didn’t win a game but did tie one, one losing team won one, one losing team won two.

So if there’s this big a discrepancy between the Dodgers and Red Sox, the Red Sox should be huge favorites to win, right?

Well, not so fast. On May 16, the Dodgers lost to the Marlins and dropped to 16-26, 10 games under .500, 8½ games out of first place.

From that date to the end of the regular season:

Red Sox: 79-40
Dodgers: 76-45

That would seem to make these teams a lot more evenly matched than it might appear at first glance. The Red Sox winning percentage in those games, .664, was actually a bit lower than what they had done previously (29-14, .674).

Also of interest:

It will be interesting to see how the Red Sox handle Manny Machado. There’s history between Machado and Boston that stems from this play in April 2017 [VIDEO].

Dustin Pedroia missed a few games after that incident, and hasn’t really been the same player since (he missed almost all of 2018).

The Red Sox retaliated [VIDEO].

More on all of this here. Chris Sale is quoted in that article:

“Not at all,” Sale told reporters. “We have bigger things to worry about now on both sides, on their side and on our side. We’re dedicated to winning this World Series and bringing a championship to our city. We’re not worried about any individual player. We’ve got one thing in mind and that’s winning.”

The Red Sox led the American League in runs. The Dodgers led the National League in runs. The Red Sox’ run differential was +229. The Dodgers’ run differential was +194. The Red Sox are 7-2 this postseason, the Dodgers 7-4.

In the divisional play era, seven teams have won 108 or more games, including this year’s Red Sox. Of the previous six, four won the World Series (1970 Orioles, 1975 Reds, 1986 Mets, 1998 Yankees). The other two were the 1969 Orioles, who lost the World Series to the Mets, and the 2001 Mariners, who didn’t even get to the World Series.

ESPN’s “expert” panel overwhelmingly picked the Red Sox to win.

I think the Red Sox will win, too, but this isn’t as big a mismatch as you might think.

My pick: Red Sox in seven, giving us baseball on Halloween. Yours?

Poll

The result of the 2018 World Series will be...

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Dodgers in 4
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Dodgers in 5
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    Dodgers in 6
    (8 votes)
  • 7%
    Dodgers in 7
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    Red Sox in 4
    (7 votes)
  • 27%
    Red Sox in 5
    (37 votes)
  • 42%
    Red Sox in 6
    (57 votes)
  • 8%
    Red Sox in 7
    (12 votes)
135 votes total Vote Now