The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly been interested in acquiring Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper, and attempted to land him via trade last season before Washington ultimately decided to keep him for the remainder of the year.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Jorge Castillo, the Dodgers offered Yasiel Puig as part of a potential deal to land Harper from Washington, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to pry the outfield slugger from the Nationals.
Washington had placed Harper on waivers but pulled him off when the Dodgers claimed him.
While the deal didn’t come to fruition, it’s fun to imagine what the Dodgers could have done with Harper in their lineup, and to wonder if it would have changed the outcome of the World Series, which they lost to the Boston Red Sox.
Dodgers Exercise Dave Roberts’ Option
The Los Angeles Dodgers have exercised the option on the contract of manager Dave Roberts and plan to continue negotiations on a long-term contract extension, according to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman (h/t Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett).
According to FanCred’s Jon Heyman, a four-year contract is likely in the works.
The Dodgers continue to address the contract status of their players, and are now focusing on their manager as they try again for a run at a World Series Championship.
Game 4 Uncertain For Boston After Previous Night’s Marathon
Anyone who attended Game 3 of the 2018 World Series on Friday night certainly got their money’s worth. The Dodgers and visiting Red Sox took the field at Dodger Stadium at 5:10 PM PT and didn’t return to their respective clubhouses until almost eight hours later. The Chavez Ravine Marathon (as it will surely become known) ended at 12:30 on Saturday morning when Dodgers’ 1B Max Muncy hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 18th off Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi, who was working his sixth inning of relief.
The longest game in MLB postseason history in terms of time at 7:20 couldn’t have ended better for Los Angeles, who risked falling in the hole 3-0, and it couldn’t have ended worse for Boston. The Red Sox had the game won in the 13th when they clawed their way to a 2-1 lead thanks to Brock Holt’s hustle and some poor defensive positioning by LA. Eovaldi forced Yasiel Puig to ground to Ian Kinsler at second for the final out, but Kinsler lost his footing and his throw was about four feet to left of 1B Steve Pearce, allowing Muncy to score to knot it at 2-2.
Kinsler struggled mightily in the game, as he was also thrown out at the plate by Cody Bellinger on a sacrifice fly attempt in the 10th and was nearly picked off twice that same inning on top of going 0-3. He blamed himself for the loss multiple times after the game ended, but he was hardly the only one at fault on Boston’s side. Boston’s MLB.com reporter Ian Browne reminded us after the game that the top four of the Red Sox order, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and JD Martinez, went a combined 0-28 with nine strikeouts and nine runners left on. Boston’s MVP of the night was unquestionably Eovaldi, who hurled six gallant relief innings despite pitching in Game 2 and received only one run of support. His performance was acclaimed by the baseball community on Twitter after the game.
As one could expect, Game 4 has already created a plethora of intrigue and the first pitch isn’t for another three hours still. Neither manager has named their starter for tonight yet as both teams had to use nine pitchers in Game 3. It was more extreme on Boston’s side as Alex Cora had used every available pitcher on his World Series roster except for Drew Pomeranz by the time it was over. Eovaldi was slated for the Game 4 start, but after 97 pitches in relief, he likely won’t be available again until Game 6 if there even is one.
Browne quotes Cora as saying that a southpaw will be on the hill for Boston tonight, and this was correct. The Red Sox announced that Eduardo Rodriguez will make the first World Series start of his career, and it’s safe to assume that Boston is praying that the Venezuelan can give his team a quality start and eat as many innings as he can. E-Rod did appear in Game 3 but threw only six pitches.
If not, Pomeranz is Cora’s only other option, and that may scare many fans as the big man struggled all year after an elbow injury and hasn’t appeared at all since September 30. Because he called on so many last night, including Game 2 starter David Price for two-thirds of an inning, Cora may have no choice but to call on Pomeranz at some point unless he wants to risk using ace Chris Sale on short rest and eliminate him from Game 5. Expect to see Big Smooth in the action tonight.
The most likely starter for Dave Roberts’ Dodgers is also a lefty, 38-year-old LHP Rich Hill, who hasn’t appeared yet in the Fall Classic. This would make for another decision for Cora. Right-handed hitting 3B Eduardo Nunez has struggled with knee issues all year long but has played very well this postseason despite it. However, Nunez was in obvious pain last night and appeared to be struggling mightily at points. Putting 22-year-old Rafael Devers at third tonight would give Nunez a chance to recover but would also put another lefty batter in the lineup, which could work to LA’s advantage.
It was rumored in the buildup to the series that Boston was considering putting Betts at his natural position of second base in order to keep Martinez in the lineup without sending Jackie Bradley Jr or Andrew Benintendi to the dugout. The latter got the night off in Game 3 and Kinsler’s train wreck of a game made it easy to say that the decision backfired. It appears as if the 36-year-old will be in the lineup tonight, but Nunez and Holt could fill in if his struggles continue.
The action starts at 8:10 ET once again on Fox, don’t miss what is sure to be a pivotal contest!
2018 World Series: The Rematch Of A Century
2018 World Series
National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers vs. American League Champion Boston Red Sox
Venues: Dodger Stadium (Games 3-5), Fenway Park (Game 1,2,6,7)
Wild Card over, Division Series over, Championship Series over, it’s time for the Granddaddy of them all. The 2018 World Series is scheduled to begin tomorrow night, when NL Champion Los Angeles comes to Fenway Park to take on AL Champion Boston. What you may not know is that this isn’t the first meeting between the two on the October stage. In 1916 the Boston Red Sox defeated the then- Brooklyn Robins 4-1 to capture the franchise’s fourth World Championship. Now, 102 years later, the two meet again, the longest such stretch between World Series meetings according to the MLB.
The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLCS and held on to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games in the NLCS despite blowing a 3-2 lead. Dave Roberts’ squad wasn’t as dominant in 2018 as compared to the season before, but the strong performances of Matt Kemp, Walker Buehler and Kenley Jansen helped the team prosper without Clayton Kershaw, who missed significant time due to injury for the third straight season. Cody Bellinger suffered a considerable sophomore slump, but has come alive in the playoffs and was a large piece of his team’s victory over Milwaukee, taking NLCS MVP honors in the process. After falling short in Game 7 of last year’s Fall Classic vs. Houston, Los Angeles will be looking for redemption this time around.
Boston, it can be argued, had a more high-profile journey to the World Series, seeing as it had to defeat its most hated rival and the defending champions to get there. The Red Sox evened their all-time playoff record vs. the Yankees at 2-2 with a 3-1 ALDS victory. It didn’t get easier from there for Alex Cora and company, however, as they now had to face the Astros, Cora’s former team that defeated Boston in last year’s Division Series. Somewhat surprisingly though, Boston downed Houston in four straight games after losing the opening contest. Guided in the regular season by MVP candidates JD Martinez and Mookie Betts, the 2018 Red Sox won a franchise record 108 games and might go down as the greatest squad in the team’s history.
Tomorrow night’s Game 1 will see a faceoff of two of the game’s premiere left handed pitchers. The aforementioned Kershaw will make his Fenway Park debut opposite Boston’s Chris Sale, who will make his World Series debut. The October stage is not a new place for most of the Dodgers, but it will be for a majority of the Red Sox roster, including Betts, Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and many others. That gives the edge in experience to Los Angeles. The team was in this exact same position not 365 days ago and a majority of its roster is the same. Boston has quite a few players that will make their Fall Classic debuts tomorrow night, and it could serve as a wild card.
A majority of Boston’s lineup has never having played in the World Series doesn’t make it inferior, however. The Red Sox won 108 games this season for a reason, their lineup is talented and deep. In addition to AL Batting Champion Betts and RBI Champion Martinez, Boston was bolstered by a career year from Xander Bogaerts (.288, 103 RBI) and another standout performance from Benintendi (.290, 87 RBI). ALCS MVP Jackie Bradley Jr’s center field defense was outstanding as always and David Price had a Comeback Player of the Year caliber season on the mound, which helped keep the team on track with Chris Sale on the DL for a majority of the second half (not to mention his first playoff victory propelled the team in Game 5 vs. Houston). Los Angeles obviously didn’t come this far with a lineup full of slouches, but it is the Red Sox who appear to be the deeper and more resilient team.
Game 1 is tomorrow night at Fenway Park in Boston, don’t miss what’s sure to be a classic!
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