After a thrilling Game 7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers return to the World Series for a second consecutive year and face the Boston Red Sox in the opening contest at Fenway Park.
The Dodgers are 3-3 on the road this October while the Red Sox are sporting a 2-2 record at home thus far. Game 1 of the Fall Classic figures to be a doozy with two of the best left-handed pitchers in Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale opposing each other.
Kershaw makes his fourth start and fifth appearance of the 2018 postseason. He last appeared on the mound in the deciding Game 7 against the Brewers, to which he tossed a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner was additionally excellent in his most recent start against Milwaukee, allowing only one run across seven innings of work in a Game 5 win at Dodger Stadium. All-in-all, Kershaw is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason.
Kershaw has never faced the Red Sox and makes his first career start at Fenway Park. Opposing him is seven-time All-Star Chris Sale, who’s coming off a solid but shortened outing against the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
The southpaw allowed only two runs in four innings pitched, striking out five while issuing four walks. Sale made just the one appearance against the Astros, as he was hospitalized shortly after his start with a stomach infection.
In three combined starts this October, Sale is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA over 10.1 innings pitched. He was dominant at home during the regular season, posting a 2.11 ERA and 1.00 WHIP across 64 frames.
Kershaw and Sale have faced off on just one previous occasion. On June 15, 2012, the two countered each other at Dodger Stadium and received no-decisions for their efforts.
Somewhat predictably, the Dodgers lineup is stacked with right-handed batters. As such, Brian Dozier receives the start at second base and is batting leadoff. Dozier has three career home runs off Sale.
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2B: Brian Dozier
3B: Justin Turner
1B: David Freese
SS: Manny Machado
LF: Chris Taylor
DH: Matt Kemp
CF: Kiké Hernandez
RF: Yasiel Puig
C: Austin Barnes
Red Sox lineup:
RF: Mookie Betts
LF: Andrew Benintendi
1B: Steve Pearce
DH: J.D. Martinez
SS: Xander Bogaerts
3B: Rafael Devers
2B: Ian Kinsler
C: Sandy Leon
CF: Jackie Bradley Jr.