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2018 World Series: Boston Red Sox position-by-position breakdown

The Dodgers love to work with the platoon advantage-57.3% of the time, a few notches above both baseball's average and…

The Dodgers love to work with the platoon advantage-57.3% of the time, a few notches above both baseball’s average and Boston’s 52.4% -and their roster reflects that, with plenty of mix-and-match pieces that can be configured in drastically different fashion from one game to the next. The Dodgers also love to pinch-hit more than any other team in baseball: 303 times in the regular season, compared to the National League’s average figure of 241. (That’s also more than any team since the 1992 Dodgers, with 304.) In Andre ord, klubben lineup er meget meget ikke en statisk konstruktion, og du kan forvente mange eller forskellige bevægelige stykker. So what’s going to look like?

Dodgers lineup

There are just two players who have started each of L.A.’s 1

1 postseason games as far: Justin Turner at third base, and Manny Machado at shortstop. Now, there are four more who have appeared in each of the team’s postseason games-remember that obsession with pinch-hitting? -But as far as the starting lineup goes, there’s not necessarily much in the way of a sure bet outside of Turner and Machado. Það spilar ekki bara við hver sem er að spila, en að where they’ll be playing. The Dodgers have fully embraced positional versatility, which gives them maximum flexibility to tweak the lineup on the fly. In this postseason alone? Enrique Hernandez has started at second base, centerfield, and right field. Chris Taylor has started at second base, leftfield and centerfield. Max Muncy has started at first and second. All that switching around makes it difficult to predict exactly how the team will be arranged on the diamond, to say nothing of how they might look on the lineup card, but much of it depends on the opposing pitcher. Based on what they’ve done so far, then, here’s a loose idea of ​​what to look for against the Red Sox.

Versus Boston’s lefties

The Dodgers will kick off the series against them- Chris Sale in Game 1 , followed by David Price in Game 2. The team’s most successful hit against southpaws in the regular season, albeit in a small sample, was David Freese. The 35-year-old postseason icon was on fire from the moment he was acquired at the end of August, tearing up left-handed pitching with a 1,331 OPS. He should get the nod here at first base. Enrique Hernandez is likely to be seen at second; The outfield should feature Matt Kemp in left, Chris Taylor in center and Yasiel Puig in right. Austin Barnes, finally, is probable behind the dish. That’s more or less the starting line-up that trotted out against Milwaukee’s lefties in the NLCS, and it makes sense that the team will stick with that general idea here.

Versus Boston’s Righties

Now for something almost completely different. Boston’s Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for Game 3 and Game 4. At first base, they’ll probably face Max Muncy, L.A.’s only player with multiple home runs this postseason besides Machado. Hernandez will probably still be at second, as the righty does not have a huge platoon split. As for the outfield: Joc Pederson in left, Cody Bellinger in center, and again, Puig in right. One potential swap? Bellinger for Taylor. The former was the slightly superior hitter in the regular season, but that has not been the case lately. Bellinger has struggled to get hot in October, 5-for-36 through the NLDS and NLCS. Meanwhile, Taylor has led the team in postseason hitting-1.067 OPS and he is the more impressive fielder. Like Hernandez, he only has a modest platoon split, and it should not be too surprising to see the right-hander snag more playing time, even against fellow righties.

At catcher, look for the switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, Selv om dette er et andet som kan være underlagt forandring. Given his defensive woes throughout the postseason, L.A. might be hesitant to lean on him too much.

Versus Boston’s bullpen

The Red Sox’s relief corps is extremely righty-tilted, with just one left-hander. (That would be Eduardo Rodriguez, who threw a single inning in the ALCS.) In Games 1 and 2, then, expect more of the aforementioned righty-facing line-up to come off the bench to pinch-hit against them. [19659017] Boston’s bullpen creates a far different situation from what Dave Roberts & Co. just facing Milwaukee in the NLCS. The Brewers called to the pen early and often, and their relief crew was anchored by a major lefty threat in Josh Hader. The Red Sox are far more likely to lean on their starting pitching-granted, nowadays, “leaning on starting pitching” will probably mean a maximum of about 6.0 IP, but still! -And there’s no frightening lefty lurking. Boston’s biggest bullpen presences in the postseason have been Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes, along with closer Craig Kimbrel; Heath Hembree and Joe Kelly have taken much of the rest. Compared to Milwaukee, this is a set that’s certainly easier to manage against.

Red Sox lineup

In contrast to the Dodgers’ jigsaw puzzle of a lineup, the Red Sox batting order is a more stable group. Alex Cora does not seek platoon benefits like Dave Roberts does-only that he fiddles with his starting nine less than Los Angeles’ skipper, a man who cycles through lineups like the rest of us go through socks.

The core of Cora’s lineup-Mookie Betts at leadoff, followed by Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts should remain unchanged throughout the series. All four are regulars regardless of the handedness of the pitcher on the mound, and they are the best hitters Boston has to offer. The only question will be Martinez’s position or presence when the series moves to Los Angeles and its retrograde National League rules for Games 3, 4 and 5.

The 31-year-old Martinez, who is Boston’s second best hitter behind Betts , played 93 of his 150 regular-season games this year (and every inning of the postseason) as the designated hitter. Der er god grund til at: Han er en katastrofe med en handske på hånden. But Cora will not have that luxury at Dodger Stadium; to keep Martinez’s bat in the lineup, he’ll have to put him in the field.

The safest and most likely scenario involves sitting Jackie Bradley Jr., the ALCS MVP but also the worst hitter in Boston’s outfield, and sliding Betts over two centers and starting Martinez in right. The wildest and arguably superior option, though, is moving. Betts to second base, his original position in the minors but one he has spent just 15 games since 2014 (including six emergency innings this season). But Betts kan hack det at Keystone, og Cora bør seriøst overveie dette valg, så det ville tillate ham å spille Martinez, hold defensivt utmerket Bradley i midten, og erstatte en inferior bat i enten Ian Kinsler eller Brock Holt at second.

As for the rest of the lineup, Cora will mix and match, depending on who’s pitching for the Dodgers.

Versus LA’s lefties / righties

Against lefties, Boston’s order will probably include Steve Pearce-who mashes southpaws-at first base, Kinsler at second (assuming Cora does not employ the Mookie Gambit), and Eduardo Nuñez at third. Versus righties, you’ll see Mitch Moreland at first, Holt at second, and Rafael Devers at third. Rounding it out will be Bradley in center and Christian Vazquez behind the plate, having displaced noodle-bat Sandy Leon there.

Cora’s biggest complication is at third. Nuñez (a righty) and Devers (a lefty) create a sensible platoon there, but the former is such an unsteady defender that Cora may shy away from using him. There’s also the fact that Devers is hitting .350 / .409 / .500 in 22 record appearances this postseason, including a big three-run homer off Justin Verlander in Boston’s ALCS clinching Game 5 win. Nuñez, meanwhile, is slashing a meager .188 / .278 / .250 in 18 PA to go along with his Keystone Cops routine at the hot corner-oh, and he’s been dealing with ankle pain since ALCS Game 3.

But With Los Angeles starting three lefties in Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu and Rich Hill, Cora may take the hit on defense with Nuñez in order to gain the platoon advantage. That feels like a mistake-not just because Nuñez has not hit or fielded well, but also because adopting a hard left / right strategy gives ample playing time to Kinsler, who’s barely produced since coming to Boston in an August waiver deal (.242 /.294/311 in the regular season, .250 / .280 / .375 in the playoffs). That last fact is another vote in favor of playing Betts at second, as Holt (a 109 OPS + this season) is better than Kinsler but still rather average on the whole.

Boston’s southpaw hitters should get plenty of work in the late innings , though, as the Dodgers bullpen is righty heavy, especially in high-leverage situations. Alex Wood, Caleb Ferguson and Julio Urias are Roberts’ only lefty arms in relief, and Wood and Urias are starters by trade. These three probably will not appear in critical situations late, though Urias or Ferguson could work as spot LOOGYs for Benintendi, the Red Sox’s best lefty hitter. Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Kenta Maeda, Ryan Madson and Dylan Floro will log the majority of the close-and-late innings, and those last three are vulnerable to lefthanded hitters. Moreland, Holt and Devers (and Bradley, if he does for Martinez) could play crucial roles off the bench against Los Angeles’s relief corps.

One last thing Cora will have to figure out: pinch-hitting for the pitcher. Det er ikke noe han har å gjøre mye i sin rookie årstid på bænken, men det vil bli et problem i den midterste del av serien. This is where the last piece on Boston’s bench, third catcher Blake Swihart, may finally come into play. Mostly unused against the Yankees and Astros, Swihart’s positional flexibility-he can play the outfield and has appeared at first, second and third in his brief major league career-gives Cora options to replace just about anybody if he needs to make a double-switch and reduces the likelihood of an empty bench late or having a pinch hit with Leon, one of the worst hitters in the majors.

X-Factors

For the Red Sox, it’s tempting to go with Devers , som har vist alvorlig upside på platen, når den er givet, og som forlænger en allerede tough lineup. Men med Dodgers starter tre lefties, hans muligheter kan være begrænset. Instead, I’ll go with Rick Porcello, who will start either Game 3 or 4 but will probably appear before that in a relief capacity. The veteran righty surprisingly helped stabilize a shaky bullpen in the ALDS and ALCS, giving Cora an extra trustworthy arm to join Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier. That said, Porcello in relief is a weapon that can only be used once at the start of the series, either in Game 1 or 2; otherwise, his start would be sacrificed. Men han kunne håndtere det syvende eller åttende i en av disse spillene for at give Cora nogle nødvendige dybde, og kan spille en større bullpenroll efter Game 4.

As for the Dodgers, the best bet is to expect something from David Freese, who will start Games 1 and 2 at first base against Chris Sale and David Price. Hans innflytelse kan være begrænset til det han kan gjøre imod disse to kasser, da Boston ikke har nogen højlængde i hans bullpen.

Manager’s Corner

Alex Cora’s 108-win campaign has already been one of the most impressive ever by a first-time manager. Now, he’s trying to become just the fifth rookie skipper to steer his team to victory in the World Series. (He’d join Bucky Harris of the 1924 Senators, Eddie Dyer of the 1946 Cardinals, Ralph Houk of the 1961 Yankees, and Bob Brenly of the 2001 Diamondbacks.) After showing a fairly cautious approach in many regards during the regular season-a Relatief snelknecht met zijn starters, een hesitantie om te gebruiken reliëvers op samenhangende dagen, een diepe aversie aan de bunt-hij’s dialed up de aggressie als de postseason heeft gebeld voor het. See: Cora’s decision to call on Chris Sale, his projected starter for Game 5 of the ALDS, to instead finish out Game 4. It’s hard to get much bolder than that .

Dave Roberts, meanwhile, has been here before. It’s just his third season as a manager, but it’s his second consecutive year in the Fall Classic. Perhaps the best summary of his style is the previously mentioned pinch-hitting figure-after all, you do not rack up the most-plate substitutions in more than two decades by accident. That deliberate nature extends to other areas of the game, with an eye to protecting against risk. Roberts is no great fan of stealing (99 attempt, 22nd in baseball) or signaling for a hit-and-run (248 baserunners going on a swing, 23rd in baseball). The Red Sox ranked third and second, respectively, in those two measures. De kontrast mellem disse områder kan bare være et af de mest interessante kamp-ups af serien.

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