When the Major League Baseball season began in April, it looked as if we were headed for a massive showdown between the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros. As the season went along, the Red Sox became favored as the Indians and Yankees solidified their spots as contenders. And as the playoffs came into frame, small teams like the Brewers and Rockies gave us hope that the MLB was setting up for a Cinderella run in October. Instead, Cinderella was sent home early.
The World Series begins tonight, as the Los Angeles Dodgers face off against Boston Red Sox.
This should be an OK World Series, and I am going to be watching. But what this World Series is lacking is the underdog, or some team that you cheer for just because. The 1991 World Series had the Twins and the Braves, two teams that had finished dead-last in their divisions the year before.
The Twins won in walk-off fashion in the 10th inning of a game 7 at the Metrodome, making it arguably the greatest sports moment in Minnesota history (sorry, Case Keenum). In 2004, the Red Sox won their first championship in 86 years after coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS, winning four straight against the Yankees to advance to the World Series.
Even recently, we saw the Cubs break a championship drought over 100 years old. This World Series doesn’t have any special reason to root for one team or the other, but it will provide some quality baseball that shouldn’t be missed.
The Boston Red Sox went 108-54 in the regular season, and they are maybe the most well-rounded team in the MLB.
Their pitching staff is rock solid and has three of the best starters in the game; Chris Sale (237 strikeouts), David Price (3.58 ERA), and Rick Porcello (17 wins).
Their offense came to life this year, fueled by two MVP candidates in right-fielder Mookie Betts and designated hitter JD Martinez.
Betts put up an AL-high .346 batting average, while Martinez blasted 43 home runs, second in the MLB to Oakland’s Khris Davis.
After sweeping through the regular season, they dispatched the New York Yankees and the reigning champion Houston Astros with ease, winning the series by tallies of 3-1 and 4-1, respectively.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a completely different story from the Red Sox.
The Dodgers came in favored to win the National League, and proceeded to limp to a 16-26 record to start the season. They responded in kind with a furious rally as the Arizona Diamondbacks, their main competition in the NL West for most of the year, crumbled down the stretch.
They added Twins 2B Brian Dozier and Orioles SS Manny Machado to an already loaded roster, and players like Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen returned from injuries.
However, they had to fend off a red-hot Colorado Rockies team that ended up tying the Dodgers for the division title.
In a decisive game 163, the Dodgers won 5-2 and sent the Rockies to the NL Wild Card game. They followed that with a 3-1 series win over the Atlanta Braves. They again faced the Brewers in the NLCS, and had the series go to a game 7 in which Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler pitched an excellent seven innings, winning the game and series with a 5-1 win.
This World Series won’t have the feel-good story, or the underdog, or the snow we could have gotten from a Boston-Colorado series, but what we will see is a quality, exciting series where the difference between winning and losing could come down to star pitchers and a couple of MVP candidates.