World Series Game 2 Betting Preview: Dodgers vs. Red Sox
Game 1 of the World Series lasted nearly four hours. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had emptied his bench by the 7th inning. Neither starting pitchers recorded an out in the 5th inning. And at the end of the night, with relief pitchers trudging to the mound as if coming off a factory assembly line, and pinch hitters being used like a flu sufferer going through Kleenex, the Boston Red Sox got an Eduardo Nunez three-run, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the 7th inning to beat the Dodgers 8-4 at frigid Fenway Park.
Yes, the World Series is a best-of-seven series, with the winning team needing four victories to win the title. But in recent years, teams that take the opener are generally the ones involved in a parade the following week.
The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the #WorldSeries 17 of the last 21 times (81%). pic.twitter.com/Zoeb5w8X7n
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 24, 2018
And if you go back throughout the history of the Fall Classic, teams that win Game 1 of a best-of-7 World Series have gone on to win the series 63.3% of the time (69-40). Clearly, the advantage belongs to the Red Sox.
Both offenses forced the two aces, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale, out of the game before either could record a single out in the 5th inning, ruining what had been a highly anticipated pitching duel. Tonight in Game 2, however, two more outstanding left-handers will take the hill for their respective teams, David Price for Boston, and Hyun-jin Ryu for L.A.
Dodgers vs. David Price
Price's postseason struggles prior to Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros have been well documented. He was the only pitcher to start at least 11 postseason games and for his team to win none of those games. Prior to Game 5, he had posted a 5.42 ERA in 79.2 career playoff innings, including relief appearances.
However, in Game 5, he was dominant against an outstanding Astros lineup, going six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts, helping his team advance to the World Series. On the season he went 16-7 over 30 starts, with a 3.58 ERA and a 4.02 FIP with a 24.5% strikeout rate that was right in line with his career average. Opponents hit just .228 against him, and he was especially good at home, with a 2.98 ERA at Fenway Park, compared to 4.31 on the road.
Price also dominated against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .210/.291/.381 slash line during the regular season, so it's likely the Dodgers will counter with a lineup similar to the one they used in Game 1 featuring as many right-handed hitters as possible. That, of course, means Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Yasmani Grandal and Cody Bellinger, some of their top hitters (but all lefties) could be on the bench to start the game.
Those four players, by the way, were the top four home run hitters for L.A. this season, with Muncy hitting a team-best 35 bombs. One would think he might get added to the lineup, given that he also had an .891 OPS against left-handed pitching this year. As a whole, the Dodgers were a middle-of-the-pack team against left-handers this year, with a wOBA of .317 that was tied for 14th.
Red Sox vs. Hyun-jin Ryu
Ryu struggled with injuries during the regular season, but posted an outstanding 1.97 ERA in 15 starts, whiffing 27.5% of hitters faced. He comes into Game 2 with a career 3.56 postseason ERA in 30.1 innings of work, and this October, he's had mixed results. He tossed an outstanding seven innings against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS in which he struck out eight and didn't walk a batter. In Game 2 of the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers, he allowed just two runs but also lasted just 4.1 innings, striking out four, and in Game 6, he got hit around by Milwaukee, giving up five runs on seven hits in just three innings.
And while Ryu's road ERA this year of 3.58 is not bad, it is nowhere near as good as his 1.15 ERA at Dodger Stadium in 2018. But if Boston has one weakness, it is their struggles against left-handed pitching, with a team wOBA of .313 that ranked 18th in the Majors this season. However, don't expect to see the Red Sox swapping a bunch of right-handed hitters into the lineup to replace stars like Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers. It's likely they'll feature the same lineup for Game 2 that everyone saw in Game 1.
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