October 23, 2018

World Series Predictions (ESPN, USAToday, CBS): Red Sox 33, Dodgers 6

Here are World Series predictions from USA Today, CBS Sports, and ESPN, and a couple of other things.

The 39 picks below break down like this:
                 Five Games   Six Games   Seven Games
Red Sox  (33)        13          15           5
Dodgers  ( 6)         0           4           2
USA Today
Bob Nightengale: The Red Sox clearly are the best team since they won the most games in MLB, and steamrolled through the American League playoffs. ... [T]he disparity is huge between the two leagues, and it will be exhibited in the World Series. Red Sox in 6.

Ted Berg: It's never good business to bet against a 108-win team ... [but] the Dodgers simply seem due. Dodgers in 6.

Steve Gardner: Entering the postseason, the one glaring weakness on the Red Sox roster was its bullpen ... However, the power trio of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly has combined for a 0.96 ERA (2 ER in 18.2 IP) in the postseason. ...Red Sox in 5.

Gabe Lacques: Forcing J.D. Martinez into the field neutralizes perhaps the Red Sox's biggest strength - outfield defense - for three games at Dodger Stadium. But the precision with which the Red Sox dismantled the Astros indicates their 108-win season - now at 115 and counting - was far from a mirage. They are baseball's best team. Red Sox in 6.

Jesse Yomtov: Boston has silenced the haters (of which there are many) so far ... and are peaking at exactly the right time. The AL champs are batting .370 with runners in scoring position during the postseason, compared to the Dodgers' paltry .190 mark. That timely hitting is going to be the key in this series. Red Sox in 5.
CBS Sports
Katherine Acquavella: The Red Sox ... haven't showed signs of slowing down during their playoff run. ... I just don't see this Dodgers team, after having been in peril at multiple points during the season, overcoming the Sox's starting rotation or slowing down the Sox's offense. Red Sox in five.

R.J. Anderson: Boston ... dismissed the Yankees and Astros without too much effort. The Dodgers have a ton of talent and anything can happen in a four-to-seven game series, but ... Red Sox in five.

Mike Axisa: Alex Cora has done a nice job using his starters as setup men to mitigate their occasionally shaky middle relief. I believe the Dodgers are better than their 92-70 regular season record would lead you to believe. I also believe they're the worst team the Red Sox will face this postseason by a decent margin. I'd probably pick the Red Sox over a combined Dodgers-Brewers superteam. Red Sox in five.

Jonah Keri: [The Dodgers] led the majors in park-adjusted offense, fared better by advanced defensive metrics than the Red Sox did, and saw their starting pitchers outpace Boston's in park-adjusted ERA, park-adjusted defense-independent pitching, and strikeout rate. ... I still like Boston's young Killer B's to prevail, because the Sox have just a bit more top-line talent. But it'll be a close, really fun series. Red Sox in seven.

Matt Snyder: After watching them crush the Yankees and pretty much embarrass a 103-win defending champion, I'm convinced this is the team. I can see the Dodgers take one and maybe even two, but I'd be beyond shocked if this goes seven or the Dodgers win. ... Red Sox in five.
ESPN
Red Sox: 20 votes
Dodgers:  5 votes

Red Sox in 7   ( 3 votes)
Red Sox in 6   (12 votes)
Red Sox in 5   ( 5 votes)

Dodgers in 7   ( 2 votes)
Dodgers in 6   ( 3 votes)
Sam Miller: A matchup between a 108-win team and a 92-win team shouldn't be this hard to decide, but ... the Dodgers are also an exceptionally good, maybe even elite, team ... [T]hey won 104 games last year and mostly upgraded their roster ... Red Sox in (for purely selfish reasons) seven.

David Schoenfield: The Red Sox hit much better against right-handed pitching this year, so L.A.'s lefty starters -- not to mention the plus-plus stuff of Walker Buehler -- could be an advantage for the Dodgers. Likewise, all the right-handed relievers for Boston matched up well against the right-handed lineup of Houston, but the Dodgers have more quality left-handed hitters to present some problems. ... Dodgers in six.
Way back on October 2, Jack Dickey of Sports Illustrated correctly picked the World Series match-up:
Prediction: Red Sox over Dodgers in 7. What L.A. and Boston share is power from both sides of the plate (each team had its league's highest slugging percentage), the ability to get on base (the Dodgers' team OBP, .333, was third in baseball; the Red Sox, at .339, were first), bullpens on which you might not want to bet your rent money, and a history of recent postseason disappointment. It comes down to the rotations then, and I'd give Boston's the slight edge ... It'll be close, though.

World Series MVP: Mookie Betts
ESPN's Tim Kurkjian (ESPN) has "three reasons the Red Sox will beat the Dodgers in the World Series":
1. Offense. The Red Sox knocked around a great Astros pitching staff for 29 runs in five games; Houston had not allowed seven runs in three consecutive games this year until the ALCS. ...

The Red Sox are especially good at home, where they went 57-24 this season, the best record in the major leagues. They averaged 5.8 runs per game at Fenway Park, and allowed 4.0 runs, the second-largest disparity by any team in the past 15 years. Fenway can be especially dangerous for left-handed pitchers, and the Dodgers likely will start three left-handed pitchers.

2. Outfield defense. ... With all the strikeouts in the game today, defense has been de-emphasized ... because fewer balls are put in play, but no team can win with a lousy outfield defense, and a great outfield defense such as Boston's can mean the difference in not just one game, but a seven-game series.

3. Chemistry. It is corny, it is clich├ęd, it is difficult to quantify, but in the case of the Red Sox, the togetherness they show is real. ...
In ALCS Game 5, Nathan Eovaldi, pitching in relief, struck out Alex Bregman with high heat. David Price yelled out from the dugout: "Post that!"

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