Coming into this series, the Los Angeles Dodgers had reason to believe that Clayton Kershaw may have shaken off his postseason woes. Kershaw has historically always struggled in the playoffs, but this season he has had some success. It hasn’t been all great for the future Hall of Famer, he did get lit up by Milwaukee in the NLCS. But he pitched eight shutout innings in the ALDS against the Atlanta Braves, and he closed out the Brewers series with a seven-inning gem in game five and then turned right around and came in to close out game seven with a perfect ninth inning in game seven. So, it looked like the Dodgers might have Kershaw at his best for the World Series, something they were going to need if they wanted to steal homefield advantage away from the Red Sox.
Well, it didn’t go that way for Los Angeles. Kershaw struggled badly again, as he lasted just four innings and allowed five runs, all earned. When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came out to pull Kershaw out of the game in the fifth, he refused to even look at the manager as he was so steaming hot. In a series that the Dodgers were hoping to get three starts from Kershaw, it hasn’t started out great.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale struggled as well, but his struggles were somewhat understandable as he missed his last start and was actually hospitalized with an illness last week. So, to see him not be at top form was somewhat expected. This game itself was actually much closer than the scoreboard showed as the Red Sox led just 5-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Boston was able to put the game away for good on an Eduardo Nunez three-run bomb in the seventh. With the win, Boston hangs on to home field advantage and has to love the fact that Kershaw looks to be battling demons once again. In a game where we all thought nobody would score with two of the best pitchers of their generation on the mound, we ended up with a combined twelve runs on the board.
Starting tonight for the Dodgers in game two is Hyun-jin Ryu (7-3 1.97 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is David Price (16-7 3.58 ERA). The Red Sox are once again favored at home at -135. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:09 PM PST from Fenway Park in Boston.
Coming into this series, there were two big named pitchers that had a history of blowing it in the playoffs. We already talked about Clayton Kershaw, now we switch focus to tonight’s starter for Boston, David Price. Going into his last start against the Houston Astros, Price had a lifetime record of 0-9 as a starter in the playoffs. But against Houston, he threw six strong shutout innings and picked up his first career playoff win.
So, what will we get out of Price tonight? Will he look like the guy he was in his last start where he dominated one of the best lineups in baseball? Or will he look like the guy he was in his first two postseason starts this year where he threw just six and a third innings and allowed seven earned runs. I tend to think that last start was more of fluke and that his long history of struggling in the playoffs will show back up and bite Boston at the worst time possible.
The Dodgers will start Hyun-jin Ryu, trying to get back into this series. Ryu was great all regular season long but has struggled in the playoffs in his last two starts. Ryu opened the postseason with a seven-inning masterpiece against the Atlanta Braves but has really struggled since them. In his last two starts, he has allowed seven earned runs in just seven, and a third innings worked. Los Angeles is going to need a much better performance tonight out of Ryu if they want to steal game two in Boston.
I have reason to believe that both of these starters will struggle tonight. Price has almost always, his last start excluded, been terrible in the postseason. His career postseason ERA is above five runs. I am not going to let one decent start distract me from the fact that this guy just never gets it done late in the year. And for Ryu? He just looks in over his head. He missed several months of the season with an injury this year and in his last two starts has looked completely lost. I would be shocked to see Ryu still in the game by the time the fifth inning rolls around.
I see this game as another back and forth slugfest. Both teams can certainly hit, and I doubt either one of these starters will see the sixth inning. This game has long relief written all over it. We saw twelve runs hit the board last night, and that was with Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw on the mound. I expect a similar game tonight with Price and Ryu pitching.
In a game where there should be plenty of runs hitting the board, it could go either way. And to see David Price as a big favorite in the postseason is quite surprising. It is always hard to win on the road in the playoffs, but I think that is just what happens tonight. Getting to bet against David Price and getting a bunch of dog money is just too much value to pass up on. So, I will give you two bets in this one. The over eight and a half runs, and the Dodgers as big road underdogs.