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Who has the edge? WS position by position

Red Sox, Dodgers meet in Fall Classic for first time since 1916
MLB.com @castrovince

The goal here is to do a position-by-position analysis of this World Series, but that will naturally be difficult to do with so many wonderful players involved. This Fall Classic matchup has spoiled us with the likes of Dick Hoblitzell, Zack Wheat, Hi Myers, Jeff Pfeffer, Wheezer Dell, Pinch Thomas, Dutch Leonard and, of course, 21-year-old pitching sensation Babe Ruth. It's a…

Wait, I appear to have mistakenly consulted the rosters from the last time the Red Sox and "Dodgers" (then known as the Brooklyn Robins) encountered each other on baseball's grandest stage, way back in 1916.

The goal here is to do a position-by-position analysis of this World Series, but that will naturally be difficult to do with so many wonderful players involved. This Fall Classic matchup has spoiled us with the likes of Dick Hoblitzell, Zack Wheat, Hi Myers, Jeff Pfeffer, Wheezer Dell, Pinch Thomas, Dutch Leonard and, of course, 21-year-old pitching sensation Babe Ruth. It's a…

Wait, I appear to have mistakenly consulted the rosters from the last time the Red Sox and "Dodgers" (then known as the Brooklyn Robins) encountered each other on baseball's grandest stage, way back in 1916.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

While there won't be any Rube Marquard sightings when the present-day Red Sox and Dodgers begin their best-of-seven series on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, there will be plenty of star power assembled for these two iconic franchises.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

So let's break it down to see who has the edge in a rematch 102 years in the making.

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal was so passed-ball porous in the National League Championship Series that he lost playing time to a guy (Austin Barnes) who is 2-for-18 in the postseason. That said, Grandal was baseball's second-most productive catcher at the plate in 2018, while Boston's catching tandem of Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon hit a combined .192 during the regular season. (Batting average might not tell us much, but sometimes it tells us enough.) If it's still Barnes behind the plate for the Dodgers, he, like Vazquez and Leon, is at least an asset defensively.

Advantage: Dodgers

First base

Right hamstring tightness limited Mitch Moreland to pinch-hitting duties until Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, but he went 3-for-6 with a double in the series. Meanwhile, lefty-pitching masher Steve Pearce has had some big hits against lefties and righties alike this postseason and could be a weapon against Los Angeles' three left-handed starters.

But while out-of-nowhere Dodgers star Max Muncy hasn't replicated his regular season .973 OPS in the postseason, he has hit two big postseason homers. Los Angeles also has World Series hero David Freese (3-for-10 with a homer and double this October) as an option against Boston's two southpaw starters.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm6: Freese leads off Game 6 with a home run

Second base

This is where we'll advise the uninitiated that the Dodgers make these position-by-position exercises painful, because manager Dave Roberts' Swiss Army Knife-lineup style involves a lot of moving parts. So you'll see some combination of Muncy, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Brian Dozier here. That's added up to a .194/.341/.333 slash from Los Angeles second basemen this postseason.

The Red Sox have moving parts at this particular position, too, with Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt sharing time. Holt had a night for the ages with his Game 3 cycle in the AL Division Series, but on measure, Boston's postseason production hasn't been much better than the Dodgers' at second base. The X-factor is likely AL Most Valuable Player Award winner Mookie Betts, who could see time at second base in one to three games when the Series shifts to NL rules at Dodger Stadium (to keep J.D. Martinez's bat in the lineup). That possibility is enough to swing it.

Advantage: Red Sox

Video: Cora on defensive alignment, Betts at second base

Shortstop

Manny Machado has generated headlines this postseason for not hustling to first, kicking at an opponents' leg, sliding controversially into second, gesticulating rudely toward the crowd at Miller Park and being called a "dirty player." Yikes.

But if you were drafting strictly based upon what you could expect a shortstop to contribute in a short series, you would have to take Machado (.905 OPS in the regular season, .813 in the postseason) over a player even as gifted as Xander Bogaerts (.883 OPS in the regular season, .730 in the postseason).

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Machado on win over Brewers, reaching WS

Third base

Rafael Devers has made the most of limited opportunities on this postseason stage, with a 7-for-20 showing and a big dinger in Game 5 of the ALCS. It remains to be seen if Red Sox manager Alex Cora will ride the hot hand at the hot corner after Eduardo Nunez nursed a twisted right ankle against the Astros.

For the Dodgers, it's simpler: Justin Turner, in terms of career postseason on-base percentage (.425), is the closest thing this year's Fall Classic has to Babe Ruth (and not the 1916 model). He's actually had a quieter October outside the game-winning homer in Game 2 of the NLCS, but he's always a threat.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm2: Turner gives Dodgers lead with go-ahead HR

Left field

Matt Kemp's renaissance has given way to a Taylor/Joc Pederson postseason platoon for the Dodgers. In addition to making one of the most clutch catches of October, Taylor also has a 1.143 OPS in 18 plate appearances as a left fielder this postseason.

But Andrew Benintendi had an awfully clutch catch of his own, on the heels of a breakout regular season (.290/.366/.465 slash with 16 homers, 87 RBIs and 41 doubles). Taylor is by far the hottest hitter either team employs in left, but his impact is also spread across two other positions (second and center). So we'll side with Benintendi here.

Advantage: Red Sox

Video: Benintendi talks Red Sox's clinch with Braun

Center field

It's the ALCS MVP vs. the NLCS MVP. And both of them hit exactly .200 in the round! Talk about making it count.

For the Dodgers, you'll see a little of Taylor and Hernandez in this spot, but by and large, it will be Cody Bellinger, who came through with a couple of huge late-inning hits and a sensational catch in the NLCS. Meanwhile, Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 9-RBI showing on the LCS stage (on three hits) was impressively efficient, too.

Anyway, big samples matter more than small samples, and Bellinger (120 OPS+ to Bradley's 92 mark, with twice as many Wins Above Replacement) is the more productive player.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Bellinger blasts a 2-run homer in the 2nd

Right field

The erratic engine that is Yasiel Puig is running awfully hot right now (.321/.406/.536 slash in 32 postseason plate appearances), and opponents have done a terrific job keeping the monster that is Betts (.205/.295/.282) in check. So maybe this is closer than it would have appeared a few weeks ago.

But the Red Sox are going to start two guys (Betts and Martinez) who will likely finish in the top five of the MVP Award voting in right field during this Series, and, well, that's good enough for us.

Advantage: Red Sox

Designated hitter, bench

The Dodgers split the DH duties between Pederson and Turner last year against the Astros, and their overwhelming array of talent, which allows for so much mixing and matching, is a major asset.

But the Red Sox have a lot of versatility and platoon prowess, too, with Holt a particularly big X-factor for them. And it should go without saying that the presence of Martinez looms large. He's hitting .313 with a .946 OPS this October.

Advantage: Red Sox

Video: ALCS Gm5: J.D. Martinez smashes a solo HR to left

Starting pitchers

If you want to get quick and dirty with it, Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill combined for a 2.82 ERA in the regular season and a 3.86 mark in the postseason (as starters) and Boston's Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello combined for a 3.48 ERA in the regular season and a 3.92 mark in the postseason (as starters).

But the postseason presents plenty of nuance, beginning with the fact that we had to even make that "as starters" notation, with Kershaw and Hill both pitching out of the bullpen for the Dodgers in the NLCS, as well as the Red Sox either using or warming all of their starters as relievers at one point or another. Does Price's minor mechanical tweak that unlocked his Game 5 brilliance have staying power? Do Buehler's innings as a rookie catch up to him? Which postseason Kershaw do we get? What are the lingering effects of Sale's illness and absence?

Red Sox to start Sale in Game 1 of World Series

Lots of interesting questions in two very good rotations. In the end, for the sake of our sanity, we'll just stick with the quick and dirty math.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: ALCS Gm5: Price leads Sox to pennant with 6 scoreless

Bullpens

The Dodgers had a reputation this season for being too dependent on Kenley Jansen for their own good, and Jansen had a rollercoaster regular season. But for all the concern caused by his irregular heartbeat and inflated homer rate, he has been spotless this October, with 6 2/3 scoreless innings. And the Dodgers' bullpen as a whole has had a sparkling 1.30 ERA in 41 2/3 postseason innings after posting baseball's second-best relief ERA in September.

As evidenced by the fact that Porcello, Price and Sale all pitched in relief in previous rounds (and Price warmed up late in Game 4 of the ALCS), the Red Sox are in more of a scramble for late-inning outs. And four of Craig Kimbrel's five outings this October have been on the shaky side, though there is some thought that he's addressed a pitch-tipping issue. That doesn't mean the Red Sox can't get the job done. They've made it this far, haven't they? But Los Angeles' bullpen appears to be in a better spot right now.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Jansen racks up 3 strikeouts in Game 7

Prediction

I've given the edge to the Dodgers in seven of 11 spots. What does that mean, in real terms? Absolutely nothing, because, as we know well, baseball games and series are decided not on individual positional battles, but by the cohesion of rosters, with plenty of surprise performances sprinkled in.

The Red Sox are, understandably, considered the early favorites, because they not only survived, but thrived in an AL battle that was perceived to be a showdown of superpowers.

That said, I still like the Dodgers here. They just played an NLCS in which they looked awful in three games but won anyway. That's the story of their season, in a nutshell. They have the sheer depth of talent and the versatility to overcome everything (even themselves), and I think they'll avenge last year's Series loss.

Dodgers in seven.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

No days off: Kershaw spotted in Fenway bullpen

Clayton Kershaw closed out the Dodgers' Game 7 win in the NLCS about a half-hour before midnight ET on Saturday night. That meant he had about 48 hours before he needed to be on the mound as the likely starter for Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox.

Kershaw wasn't interested in rest and relaxation, though. Less than a day after the Dodgers' victory, the left-hander was spotted on an empty Fenway Park bullpen mound on Sunday night.

World Series Game 1: Lineups, bullpens, FAQs

MLB.com

Two of baseball's most historic teams -- the Red Sox and Dodgers -- are set to meet in what should be a thrilling World Series. The fun starts on Tuesday night at Fenway Park when arguably the two most dominant lefties in the Majors face off. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox, and the Dodgers are waiting to decide whether Clayton Kershaw will be ready to take the ball after pitching the ninth inning of the National League Championship Series clincher on Saturday. Fellow lefty Rich Hill is likely to start if the L.A. ace needs more time (although Kershaw was spotted throwing in the Fenway bullpen Sunday night).

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

View Full Game Coverage

Two of baseball's most historic teams -- the Red Sox and Dodgers -- are set to meet in what should be a thrilling World Series. The fun starts on Tuesday night at Fenway Park when arguably the two most dominant lefties in the Majors face off. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox, and the Dodgers are waiting to decide whether Clayton Kershaw will be ready to take the ball after pitching the ninth inning of the National League Championship Series clincher on Saturday. Fellow lefty Rich Hill is likely to start if the L.A. ace needs more time (although Kershaw was spotted throwing in the Fenway bullpen Sunday night).

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

View Full Game Coverage

Managers Alex Cora and Dave Roberts are good friends and former teammates. In fact, Cora and Roberts both played for the Red Sox and Dodgers. Look for Roberts to get a nice ovation when he is introduced at Fenway prior to Game 1. His stolen base in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees will never be forgotten.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

Here is a primer to get you ready for a Fall Classic that features two star-studded rosters and solid role players on both sides.

What might the starting lineups look like?
Dodgers: Roberts used a different leadoff hitter in each of the last four games in the National League Championship Series. Good luck guessing his lineup, but here's one possibility:

1. Chris Taylor, LF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Matt Kemp, DH
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Cody Bellinger, CF
8. Yasiel Puig, RF
9. Austin Barnes, C

Red Sox: The most balanced lineup in MLB this season now takes its act to the World Series. With Kershaw expected to pitch Game 1, Cora will likely stack the deck with right-handed hitters, as he's done against other lefties in this postseason. This means that Steve Pearce will start at first base instead of Mitch Moreland, and Eduardo Nunez at third base instead of Rafael Devers, who belted a three-run homer in the clinching Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros. Though Cora has more or less turned the catching reins over to Christian Vazquez of late, the slumping Sandy Leon has caught Sale all season, and that could again be the case in the World Series.

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Steve Pearce, 1B
6. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Who are the starting pitchers?
Dodgers: The Dodgers on Sunday were not quite ready to commit the start to Kershaw, who made the final 15 pitches on Saturday night in Milwaukee. Roberts said if Kershaw doesn't start the opener against the Red Sox, the nod will go to Hill and Kershaw will start Game 2 on Wednesday night. 

Video: Debating which team has the pitching advantage in WS

Red Sox: Red Sox ace Sale (12-4, 2.11) has been the best lefty starter in the AL over the past several years, so it's only fitting he faces the guy who has that same distinction in the NL. Sale will be fired up for his first World Series game. He did have issues down the stretch, pitching just 17 innings from July 28 through the end of the regular season due to left shoulder inflammation. After Sale had an impressive showing against the Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Division Series, his velocity and command were lacking in his no-decision in Game 1 in the next round against the Astros. Sale had a stomach virus right after that start against Houston and will be on nine days' rest when the World Series starts. Extra rest has generally been a good thing for Sale this season.

Video: ALCS Gm1: Sale strikes out 5 over 4 innings in Game 1

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Dodgers: The Dodgers' bullpen had a 1.45 ERA in the NLCS. Not only is Kenley Jansen back, Pedro Baez remains unexpectedly dominant and Ryan Madson is the calm in a storm. Kenta Maeda hasn't been the impact setup man as expected, but with Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson and Alex Wood, Los Angeles' bullpen is deep and versatile. Of course, the Dodgers thought they had a superb relief corps going into last year's World Series, when Jansen and Brandon Morrow appeared to wilt under a heavy workload.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Madson K's 2 over 1 2/3, earns Game 7 win

Red Sox: Boston's bullpen, much-maligned despite finishing fourth in the AL in ERA this season, had a strong showing in the ALCS. Pitchers have found their roles, and Cora has gained confidence in them. Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the two relievers Cora trusts the most in the setup role. Closer Craig Kimbrel had struggled in this postseason until the Game 5 clincher against Houston, when he fixed an issue of tipping pitches that former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne pointed out to him, and he was dominant in closing out the Astros. The addition of Steven Wright, who missed the first two rounds of the postseason due to a right knee injury, could be a big boost for Cora and lessen the need for him to use his starters in relief.

• Wright making case to be on Sox's WS roster

Video: ALCS Gm5: Red Sox win the American League pennant

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Dodgers: No.

Red Sox: Everyone is available, assuming Wright is placed on the roster.

Any injuries of note?
Dodgers: None known. Joc Pederson started Game 7 after being hit by a 96-mph fastball on the right wrist in Game 6 but had only one at-bat, a groundout, before he was replaced after a pitcher change.

Video: NLCS Gm6: Pederson stays in after getting hit on hand

Red Sox: Nunez has been bothered by right ankle issues since the regular-season finale, so the rest between rounds will likely do him some good. Moreland injured his right hamstring in Game 2 of the ALDS and has only started once since then. He still isn't running at full speed but will probably start against right-handed starters in the World Series.

Who is hot and who is not?
Dodgers: Taylor hit a quiet .364 against the Brewers and Puig hit .333, including his crucial three-run home run in Game 7. But even in the clincher, the Dodgers went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, so there are still chinks in the offensive armor, but the one hit was Puig's blast. Max Muncy and Enrique Hernandez really struggled in the NLCS, Muncy with 13 strikeouts in 22 at-bats and Hernandez going 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts. The bullpen has been nearly untouchable, but the starting rotation unpredictable.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Puig smashes 3-run homer to center in 6th

Red Sox: Considering Bradley hit .200 in the ALCS, it's hard to classify him as hot. But he has made his hits count. The three he had against the Astros added up to nine RBIs and led to the center fielder earning ALCS Most Valuable Player Award honors. Betts has shown flashes of brilliance in the postseason, but he hasn't gotten hot yet. This probably means he will. In 39 postseason at-bats, Betts is hitting .205 with no homers and three RBIs. The Dodgers have a rotation that is lefty-dominant, so it will be interesting to see how Cora deploys left-handed hitters Devers and Moreland, who have both swung the bat well when they've played this postseason. Leon continues to be close to an automatic out. Since Aug. 25, the switch-hitter has two hits in his last 52 at-bats. He has a .149 OPS over that stretch.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Bradley Jr. named MVP of the ALCS

Anything else fans might want to know?
There's a 50 percent chance of showers in Boston on Tuesday night with forecasted temperatures in the mid-40s. … This is the first time the Dodgers have played at Fenway Park since 2010. … The last time the teams met was 2016, when Los Angeles took two out of three. … Kershaw has never faced the Red Sox. … Sale doesn't have much more history with the Dodgers. He last faced them on June 15, 2012, taking a no-decision at Dodger Stadium. Sale's only other appearance against them was in relief in 2011. ... These two iconic franchises have met just once in the World Series, in 1916, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and known then as the Robins. The Red Sox won in five games in the second of three World Series titles won in four years from 1915-1918 prior to a drought that lasted until Boston again won the World Series in 2004.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

5 key storylines for the 2018 World Series

MLB.com @_dadler

The World Series is finally set, and what a showdown: Red Sox vs. Dodgers -- a 108-win Boston team that was MLB's best team in the regular season against a Los Angeles squad returning to the World Series for a second straight season after falling just short in Game 7 a year ago.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

The World Series is finally set, and what a showdown: Red Sox vs. Dodgers -- a 108-win Boston team that was MLB's best team in the regular season against a Los Angeles squad returning to the World Series for a second straight season after falling just short in Game 7 a year ago.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

If we're lucky, this Fall Classic will be exactly that -- a classic. But before the World Series begins on Tuesday in Boston, here are five key storylines to watch.

1. Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Sale
Two of the best starting pitchers of their generation should be set to square off in Game 1. So how do they match up?

For Sale, the most immediate question is how he'll bounce back from the illness that hospitalized him after his start in the American League Championship Series opener. The left-hander was outdueled by Justin Verlander in his lone appearance in the series, the only game the Red Sox lost to the Astros. Sale allowed two runs in four innings while struggling with his command, walking four and hitting a batter.

There's also still the more general question of Sale's health after he pitched only 17 innings over the final two months of the season due to inflammation in his left shoulder and never quite regained the elite velocity the Red Sox saw from him earlier in the summer. Still, that didn't stop him from dominating in the AL Division Series, throwing 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball to beat the Yankees in Game 1 and then a scoreless inning in relief in the Game 4 clincher at Yankee Stadium.

Kershaw has had velocity concerns, too, as his fastball is at the lowest it's been in his entire career. But he's reinvented himself as one of the most breaking ball-heavy starters, and he just bounced back from a loss to the Brewers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series to dominate in Game 5 -- and close out the series in relief in the winner-take-all Game 7. Add that to his eight scoreless innings to beat the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS, and Kershaw is still pitching like an ace.

Between Kershaw and Sale, hitters on both sides will have their hands full.

Video: ALCS Gm6: Cora on Sale's availability for Game 6

2. Betts and Machado head two deep offenses
The Red Sox have a relentless lineup -- ALCS MVP Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit eighth or ninth all postseason -- but their offense still flows from the one-two punch of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, maybe the best combination in baseball this year. Betts won the AL batting title by hitting .346, led the league in slugging at .640 and joined the 30-30 club with 32 homers and 30 stolen bases. Martinez chased the AL Triple Crown and finished with a .330 average, 43 homers and a league-leading 130 RBIs. Martinez has also hit Kershaw particularly well -- he's 5-for-11 in his career against the Dodgers' ace, with a pair of home runs, including one in last year's NLDS, when Martinez was on the D-backs.

JBJ's 9 RBIs vs. Astros earn him ALCS MVP

Video: ALCS Gm5: Bradley Jr. named MVP of the ALCS

Los Angeles has a superstar, too, in Manny Machado, who hit .297 with 37 home runs and a .905 OPS in the best offensive season of his career. Add such hitters as NLCS MVP Cody Bellinger (a walk-off hit in Game 4 and the go-ahead homer in Game 7), Justin Turner (a career .310 postseason hitter), Max Muncy (35 homers in his out-of-nowhere breakout season) and the dynamic Yasiel Puig, and you get two of the deepest lineups in the game opposing each other. The Red Sox averaged 5.41 runs per game this season to lead the AL (and MLB); the Dodgers averaged 4.93 to lead the NL.

Bellinger's turnaround results in NLCS MVP honor

Video: NLCS Gm7: Bellinger wins NLCS MVP Award

3. How do the relief corps compare?
It'd be easy to look at the two closers' contrasting Octobers -- Kenley Jansen's dominance for the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel's roller-coaster ride for the Red Sox -- and say that Jansen and L.A. have the advantage. But it's not so simple.

Video: Cora on confidence in Kimbrel

Yes, Kimbrel has been scored upon in four of his five postseason appearances (despite getting the save in all five), with a 7.11 ERA and six walks and two hit batters in his 6 1/3 innings. That said, he's coming off his best outing in the ALCS clincher -- a scoreless inning with two strikeouts to close out the defending champion Astros. And yes, Jansen has yet to allow a run in these playoffs, with 6 2/3 scoreless innings, just two hits allowed and 10 strikeouts. But he's not untouchable, as Houston proved in last year's World Series, when it handed him a blown save in Game 2 and a walk-off loss in Game 5.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Jansen racks up 3 strikeouts in Game 7

Most important, though, is that given bullpens' outsize importance in October, the matchup goes far beyond the two closers. Such pitchers as Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez have all played key roles for the Red Sox, as have Ryan Madson, Pedro Baez, Alex Wood, Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda for the Dodgers. Both teams have also demonstrated a willingness to use their starting pitchers out of the bullpen -- Sale and Rick Porcello have both pitched in relief for Boston this postseason, and Kershaw and Rich Hill have done so for Los Angeles. In the World Series, it'll likely be "all hands on deck" again.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Kershaw seals Game 7 as Dodgers win pennant

Something else to monitor: Red Sox relievers' walk rate has spiked to 15.2 percent this postseason, from 9.8 percent in the regular season (which was MLB's ninth-highest) -- thanks to Kimbrel's shakiness, plus Barnes (6 1/3 innings, six walks), Heath Hembree (3 1/3 innings, four walks) and Brasier (7 innings, four walks). The Dodgers are well equipped to take advantage of strike-zone issues, having led the Majors in walk rate this season (10.2 percent). L.A. also swung at the lowest percentage of all opponent pitches (43.5 percent) and had the lowest chase rate out of the zone (23.8 percent). So don't expect the Dodgers to help out opponents struggling with control.

4. How will the Red Sox manage their lineup in a National League park?
Martinez will play every game for the Red Sox. He's too good a hitter not to, and manager Alex Cora confirmed as much on Saturday. That will create some interesting questions for Games 3-5 at Dodger Stadium, where Boston will have no designated hitter. If Martinez plays right field, who will be the odd man out of the lineup?

Against a left-handed starter, Betts would likely move to center field, and either Bradley or Andrew Benintendi would sit. Bradley seems the likelier option to sit. But against a righty -- and Walker Buehler seems likely to start one of the games in L.A. -- when the Red Sox might want both left-handed bats in the lineup? Well, maybe they could go unconventional ... and play Betts at second base, where he used to play in the Minors and has filled in in emergencies in the Majors. Cora left the door open, but Boston would have to weigh a lot of factors.

Video: Cora on defensive alignment, Betts at second base

"I don't know, man. He already played second during the regular season, so there's always a chance, I guess," Cora said on Saturday, adding, "[Contact at second base], turning double plays in a big moment, him not playing second base in a while, him being the best right fielder in the league. All that stuff comes into consideration."

Putting Martinez in the outfield at the expense of Bradley or Betts would temper what could otherwise be a sizeable Boston advantage in outfield defense. Betts and Bradley have both been worth 11 Outs Above Average defensively this season (that's Statcast™'s range-based metric for outfield defense), tying them for 10th-best among all MLB outfielders. Martinez has a negative-7 OAA mark.

5. Can the Dodgers' lefty arms give them an edge over the Red Sox bats?
The Red Sox handled J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Dallas Keuchel well this postseason. But in a much larger sample during the regular season, Boston ranked first in the Majors in OPS against right-handed pitchers (.817), compared with 18th against southpaws (.719). That gap was less severe when looking only at starting pitchers (.802 vs. .759), but still significant. Among the Red Sox's hitters, only Betts, Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Steve Pearce had at least a .750 OPS off lefties.

The Dodgers likely would put three southpaws in their four-man rotation: Kershaw, Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Los Angeles also can choose from Wood, Urias, Caleb Ferguson and Scott Alexander to stock its bullpen.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

'Battle tested' Dodgers ready for Red Sox

MLB.com @kengurnick

MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers won't have the home-field advantage in the World Series as they did last year, but they do have an advantage over last year's World Series appearance.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers won't have the home-field advantage in the World Series as they did last year, but they do have an advantage over last year's World Series appearance.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

View Full Game Coverage

:: World Series schedule and results ::

"It feels we're a little more battle tested this year. Last year was more of a joyride," general manager Farhan Zaidi said while being showered with expensive alcoholic beverages during the clubhouse celebration after Saturday night's 5-1 win over the Brewers clinched a second consecutive National League pennant.

"We haven't taken anything for granted this year. We understood how hard it was, but also knew what it took to get here."

After winning 104 games in the regular season and cruising through the first two rounds of the postseason, the Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in last year's World Series Game 7.

Zaidi said that experience better prepared his club for the NL Championship Series clincher and will better prepare it for the best-of-seven World Series against the Red Sox, whom the Dodgers haven't faced in the Fall Classic since 1916, won by Boston.

"The crowds, the media attention, everything that goes with being in the World Series, it will all be familiar to us this time in the same way as being on the LCS stage for the first time in '16 and winning at that stage last year," said Zaidi. "We played a very worthy opponent last year and the Red Sox are terrific, too. It's going to be just as tough and we'll be prepared."

Zaidi said winning the World Series this year is more about unfinished business than redemption for last year's missed opportunity.

"It's just about trying to win it all," he said. "Certainly last year, there were long nights in the offseason thinking about how close we got. We feel really fortunate to have an opportunity to go at it again. We earned it. It wasn't handed to us."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Roberts gives victory speech in clubhouse

Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, said the Red Sox pose a new set of challenges.

"It's a really good team. It's a really tough lineup," he said. "It's probably the best defensive outfield I've ever seen. Every time I go to look at them, I had to go back to focusing on the Brewers. That's a really good team. They didn't allow us to really look beyond them. I know Boston is really good. I know their pitching is really good. I know it's a deep, well rounded team. We'll take two days to cram and do everything we can to be ready to play them."

Justin Turner said the subtle benefits of having played in the World Series so recently shouldn't be underestimated.

"I just think we have a lot of experience, guys that have been there and done it," said Turner, "and that helps you control your emotions, control your anxiety, slow your heart beat down."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Fun facts about only other Red Sox-Dodgers WS

The two franchises previously met in 1916 Fall Classic
MLB.com @dohyoungpark

The Dodgers have won the National League pennant 23 times. The Red Sox have been kings of the American League 14 times. But surprisingly, for all that success, the teams have only met once before in the World Series -- all the way back in 1916, when the Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins (named after manager Wilbert Robinson) in five games for the club's fourth championship.

The Dodgers have won the National League pennant 23 times. The Red Sox have been kings of the American League 14 times. But surprisingly, for all that success, the teams have only met once before in the World Series -- all the way back in 1916, when the Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins (named after manager Wilbert Robinson) in five games for the club's fourth championship.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

Needless to say, baseball has changed a lot since then -- there's more than one team playing west of the Mississippi now, for one -- and when the Dodgers and Red Sox clash in Game 1 of the 114th World Series on Tuesday, it won't be anything like their last meeting in the Fall Classic more than a century ago. Here's a look back at some fun facts from the last time these teams met in October, all those years ago.

1. The Red Sox didn't play their World Series home games at Fenway Park
It's tough now to imagine a Red Sox home game anywhere other than America's oldest ballpark, but a five-year-old Fenway Park in 1916 hadn't yet developed the hallowed place in baseball culture that it occupies today. Still one of the smallest ballparks in MLB today, Fenway Park only seated 35,000 until 1947. With that in mind, the Red Sox chose to play their home games for both the 1915 and 1916 World Series at nearby Braves Field, home of the NL's Boston Braves, which could hold more than 40,000 people.

2. The Robins were led by a young outfielder named Casey Stengel
Long before he was the Hall of Fame manager for seven World Series-winning Yankees teams, a young Stengel was the 26-year-old right fielder for the first-place 1916 Robins, second on the team with eight homers and third in hitting with a .279 average. He was 4-for-11 with two runs scored in the World Series, though he didn't start Games 2 and 4 because the Robins were to face a pair of tough left-handers: 18-game winner Dutch Leonard and the American League's ERA leader, a 21-year-old Babe Ruth.

Video: Stengel inducted into the Hall of Fame as manager

3. Ruth threw 13 scoreless innings in Game 2
In one of the greatest World Series games ever pitched, Ruth, a budding star, threw a 14-inning complete game as the Red Sox outlasted the Robins, 2-1. After allowing an inside-the-park homer to Brooklyn center fielder Hi Myers, Ruth threw 13 shutout innings to close out the contest, scattering five more hits and three walks while striking out four in the longest pitching performance of his career. The 13 scoreless frames started a then-record streak of 29 2/3 scoreless innings in the World Series for the Bambino, which stood for 43 years until Whitey Ford broke it in 1961.

4. Game 2 was the longest World Series game (by innings) until 2005
Ruth wasn't the only pitcher with a titanic performance in that marathon Game 2; Brooklyn starter Sherry Smith also went the distance, pitching 13 1/3 innings until finally allowing a pinch-hit, walk-off single to Del Gainer in the 14th. (The first run off Smith was driven in by Ruth himself, on a third-inning RBI groundout.) When all was said and done, the 14-inning contest was the longest in World Series history by innings -- a record that has been tied twice, by Game 3 of the 2005 World Series and Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Being that it was 1916, the game was still over in a snappy two hours, 32 minutes.

Video: Hosmer, Blum hit World Series game-winners in 14th

5. Boston used a total of five pitchers in the series
This wasn't uncommon in the era -- in fact, Boston only used three pitchers in the 1915 World Series -- but it's worth noting for comparison's sake to today's bullpen-heavy games. Don't tell Craig Counsell, but the Red Sox squeezed 49 innings out of only five arms during the five-game series: Ruth, Leonard, Ernie Shore, Carl Mays and Rube Foster. Ruth, Leonard and Shore pitched complete games in Games 2, 4 and 5, while Shore also lasted 8 2/3 innings in Game 1 before he was relieved by Mays, the Game 3 starter, for a one-out save. Foster pitched three innings of relief in Game 3 after Mays was lifted for a pinch-hitter. In comparison, the 2018 Red Sox have used five or more pitchers in seven of their nine games this postseason.

6. It was the first World Series in which both teams recorded a save
Since starting pitchers went so deep into games in the early days of baseball, the save -- so prominent in the modern day -- wasn't yet a significant factor in most World Series games. In fact, prior to 1916, there had only been one save recorded in the World Series in total, when Doc White of the White Sox registered a three-inning save against the Cubs in Game 5 of the 1906 World Series. Mays' one-out save in Game 1 of the 1916 Fall Classic was followed by Brooklyn right-hander Jeff Pfeiffer, who closed out Game 3 with 2 2/3 perfect innings. The feat wasn't repeated until 1924.

7. Three homers were hit in the series, but only one left the yard
We have funky early 20th-century ballpark dimensions to thank for this one. Myers' inside-the-park homer in Game 2 off Ruth was a shot to right-center at Braves Field, where straightaway center field was 550 feet from home plate and the left-field and right-field foul poles were both situated at 402 feet, leaving a cavernous expanse in which balls could roll. When the series moved to Brooklyn, Boston third baseman Larry Gardner took advantage by clubbing a homer over the short 301-foot wall in right at Ebbets Field. A day later, Gardner took advantage of the marked asymmetry at Ebbets by knocking an inside-the-park homer to left-center, with left field at 419 feet and center at 450 feet away from home plate.

8. Red Sox manager Bill Carrigan retired after the series ...
... to become a banker. Carrigan was the player-manager of the Red Sox for four seasons from 1913-16, leading the team to a fourth-place finish in '13 before finishing second in '14 and winning a pair of World Series rings in 1915-16, becoming the only Red Sox manager to win multiple titles until Terry Francona won a pair in 2004 and '07. Despite that success, he chose to step away from baseball immediately following the 1916 World Series to go into banking in Maine. He tried to make a comeback in the late '20s, but his teams finished in last place in all three seasons.

9. The Red Sox and Dodgers wouldn't meet again until 2002
The 86-year drought between meetings makes more sense when you consider that the Red Sox only won four AL pennants between 1918 and 2004, and Interleague Play wasn't introduced until 1997. The Dodgers swept the Red Sox at Dodger Stadium when the clubs finally met again in 2002, and they've only faced off 12 more times since then. Since that 1916 World Series, the Dodgers are tied for the second-fewest games against the Red Sox in MLB, ahead of only the Reds. In fact, the Dodgers have only won once at Fenway Park since it opened in 1912.

10. The series began the longest gap between World Series meetings in MLB history
Given how infrequently the Dodgers and Red Sox meet in general, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, then, that the 102 years between matchups in the World Series between the franchises is the longest in Major League history. In second place, the A's and Giants went 76 years between Fall Classic showdowns, while the Phillies and Yankees round out the top three, having played 59 years apart.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

Red Sox to start Sale in Game 1 of World Series

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- As of Sunday, the only thing that Red Sox manager Alex Cora had decided for sure about his starting rotation was that ace Chris Sale will start Game 1.

BOSTON -- As of Sunday, the only thing that Red Sox manager Alex Cora had decided for sure about his starting rotation was that ace Chris Sale will start Game 1.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

David Price started Game 2 in each of the first two rounds, but Nathan Eovaldi has been arguably Boston's best starting pitcher in this postseason. Rick Porcello is the other starter in Cora's four-man October rotation.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

Sale continues to feel better by the day, a week after he was hospitalized with a stomach illness.

"He's good to go," Cora said. "He's our Game 1 starter. I think everything works out for a reason, and Game 5 [of the ALCS] happened and he gets a few more off-days so he can take care of his belly button, and he'll be ready to go."

The "belly button" comment was a joke in reference to Sale mockingly saying on Saturday that his stomach problem was related to a belly button ring causing irritation.

"But he's ready to go," Cora said. "He's excited to pitch Game 1. He's been our guy since Day 1. Obviously, the other guys did an outstanding job, but him pitching that game, it's something we mapped out through September. This was the plan all along. Happy that he's going to be able to go out there and perform."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale

Dodgers weighing Kershaw, Hill for G1 starter

MLB.com @kengurnick

BOSTON -- The Dodgers on Sunday were not quite ready to commit the World Series Game 1 start to Clayton Kershaw, who made the final 15 pitches in Saturday night's pennant clincher against Milwaukee.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

BOSTON -- The Dodgers on Sunday were not quite ready to commit the World Series Game 1 start to Clayton Kershaw, who made the final 15 pitches in Saturday night's pennant clincher against Milwaukee.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said if Kershaw doesn't start Game 1 against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, Rich Hill would start the opener and Kershaw would start Game 2 on Wednesday night. Boston has announced lefty Chris Sale as its starter for Game 1.

Kershaw works out at Fenway

If Kershaw starts Game 1, Hill would likely be held back to start Game 4. In that case, the Dodgers must weigh whether to start Walker Buehler in Game 2 and Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 at home, or start Ryu in Game 2 in Boston and Buehler in Game 3 so he would be lined up to start Game 7, as he did in the NLCS.

Dress for Fall Classic: Get NL champs gear

Ryu started two games on the road in the National League Championship Series with an 8.59 ERA, highest on the staff.

Video: WS 2018 Gm1: Cora sizes up a talented Dodgers tea

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw

Nine comeback stories for this Fall Classic

Here's 5 Dodgers, 4 Red Sox who bounced back to get here
MLB.com @RichardJustice

BOSTON -- If someone had tapped Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy on the shoulder a year ago and told him he would be playing in the 2018 World Series, he might have needed a minute to get his mind around those words. Even his dreams hadn't gotten that far.

Same thing with Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier. At this time last year, Muncy and Brasier had more modest goals. You know, like proving they belonged in the Major Leagues. First things first, right?

BOSTON -- If someone had tapped Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy on the shoulder a year ago and told him he would be playing in the 2018 World Series, he might have needed a minute to get his mind around those words. Even his dreams hadn't gotten that far.

Same thing with Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier. At this time last year, Muncy and Brasier had more modest goals. You know, like proving they belonged in the Major Leagues. First things first, right?

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tue., 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

:: World Series schedule and results ::

That's one of the many things that makes this Red Sox-Dodgers World Series so special. Beyond a matchup of two of baseball's iconic franchises, it's about second chances and rebirths. About players who refused to give up on their dreams when pretty much everyone else had.

It's a reminder to all of us -- and to scouts and executives and instructors -- not to underestimate very basic things like work ethic and determination and drive.

Dress for Fall Classic: Dodgers | Red Sox

Here's hoping that at some point, one or two of these Dodgers and Red Sox -- hopefully all of 'em -- will take a moment to look around at the sights and sounds and beauty of a World Series and appreciate how far they've come.

Let's consider nine:

1. Chris Taylor, Dodgers OF -- Two years ago, he had a .239 career batting average with the Dodgers and Mariners. He returned to work that offseason and remade, not just his swing mechanics, but his mental approach at the plate. When the Dodgers summoned him to the big leagues early last season, he was ready. He has 69 doubles, 38 home runs and an .812 OPS since in 295 games. He's hitting .360 this postseason and made what might have been a series-saving play in left in Game 7 of the NLCS.

Video: Must C Catch: Taylor ranges to make run-saving grab

2. Brasier, Red Sox reliever -- This is what happens when a team hires great personnel people and trusts their judgment. Brasier was signed in early March last year after two seasons in Japan, where he reshaped his pitching mechanics and confidence. He was a month away from his 31st birthday and approaching the fifth anniversary of his last Major League appearance when the Red Sox called him up from Triple-A Pawtucket in July. He was mostly lights-out in 34 regular-season appearances and hasn't allowed a run in seven postseason games.

Video: ALCS Gm2: Brasier gets Gurriel to ground into FC

3. Muncy, Dodgers 1B -- They make movies about guys who do what he has done. The Dodgers signed him to a Minor League contract after he'd been released by the A's in the spring of 2017. He spent the entire season in the Minors, and like Taylor, took advantage of every tool and every instructor the Dodgers offered. He led them with 35 home runs this season.

Video: NLCS Gm5: Muncy gives Dodgers lead with single in 6th

4. Steve Pearce, Red Sox 1B -- He has been so good for so long that it's easy to forget he was released by two teams and that the Red Sox are his seventh organization. His breakthrough came in 2012, when he began as a productive platoon player for the Orioles, but in six seasons since, he's hitting all kinds of pitching. Originally an outfielder, he has also made himself into a very good defensive first baseman. He had a .901 OPS in 50 games after the Red Sox acquired him from the Blue Jays in June.

Video: MLB Tonight on Pearce's big ALCS Game 3

5. Rich Hill, Dodgers LHP -- This 38-year-old lefty is likely to get nothing but good vibes being back at Fenway Park, because it was the 2015 season with the Red Sox that marked a turning point in his career. He was 35 at the time, and until then, his career had been marked by injuries and frustration. In three seasons since, he has a 3.09 ERA and is part of the reason the Dodgers, his eighth Major League organization, are going back to the World Series.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Hill strikes out 6, allows just 1 run

6. David Price, Red Sox LHP -- He was never the postseason failure he was portrayed to be. His complete-game victory in Game 163 of the 2013 season got the Rays to the postseason. He was tremendous in relief for the 2017 Red Sox and had a string of solid performances for the Rays and Tigers. But he had never been credited with a postseason win and said that until he did that he would accept whatever criticism he received. All that changed on Thursday with six shutout innings on short rest to beat the Astros and clinch the American League pennant. He'll enter the 2018 World Series writing a different script.

Video: Cora on Price getting first postseason win as starter

7. Matt Kemp, Dodgers OF -- The Dodgers had no intention of keeping their former franchise player when he was acquired as part of a complicated payroll-cutting trade with the Braves last offseason. But he showed up at Spring Training in great shape and began slapping baseballs over the fence. He ended up helping the Dodgers to a sixth straight National League West championship with 25 doubles and 21 home runs.

Video: NLCS Gm1: Kemp rips an RBI single to left-center

8. Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox RHP -- He has been Boston's best pitcher this postseason and seems to have reached a turning point in a career that includes a release by the Yankees and trades from the Marlins and Dodgers. With a big helping hand from Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie, Eovaldi appears to have harnessed all that velocity and is about to become a free agent at an interesting time.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Eovaldi fans Bregman with 101.6-mph heater

9. Justin Turner, Dodgers 3B -- Long before he arrived in Los Angeles in 2014 and began to establish himself as one of the best players in the game, he spent time with three organizations (Orioles, Mets, Reds), having been traded once and selected off waivers once. Those days are long gone. He has an .889 OPS since 2014 and is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.

Video: Must C Clutch: Turner blasts a go-ahead 2-run homer

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Brasier, Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, Matt Kemp, Max Muncy, Steve Pearce, David Price, Chris Taylor, Justin Turner

MLB's Breakthrough Series advances at WWBA

Young players garnering attention from scouts, colleges
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- All week, Major League Baseball's Breakthrough Series squad has shown it can compete with the elite at Perfect Game's talent-rich World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) World Championship at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex.

In their first ever appearance in the prestigious 18U tournament, Breakthrough Series has advanced into bracket play, and the players have caught the attention of the dozens of college and professional scouts who have flocked to one of the marquee wood bat events.

JUPITER, Fla. -- All week, Major League Baseball's Breakthrough Series squad has shown it can compete with the elite at Perfect Game's talent-rich World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) World Championship at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex.

In their first ever appearance in the prestigious 18U tournament, Breakthrough Series has advanced into bracket play, and the players have caught the attention of the dozens of college and professional scouts who have flocked to one of the marquee wood bat events.

Sunday morning, Breakthrough Series rallied from four runs down in the first inning to defeat the Dallas Patriots Scout squad, 13-4.

"At the end of the day, all the kids down here, we really want them to have the opportunity to have a chance to play in front of the scouts and the college coaches," MLB senior director of baseball development Del Matthews said. "So, I'm extremely pleased with how we competed [Saturday], and how we fought back from a four-run deficit [Sunday] in the first inning."

The win in the morning was on Field 4 of the Roger Dean complex, which is the Spring Training home of the Marlins and Cardinals. That particular field has seen its share of history. Such stars as Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Delgado and Giancarlo Stanton once scrimmaged in Spring Training on it. In 2005, Delgado, then with the Marlins, blasted a home run to right field that bounced across the street and shattered a window in the housing development. On the same field in spring of 2013, the late Jose Fernandez accidently pegged Stanton in the back of the helmet with a pitch.

Since Thursday, more than 80 teams have been using the same back fields that are training grounds for big league and Minor League players.

"This means a lot," Breakthrough Series outfielder Emanuel Dean said. "We're just going out there to have fun and lead the way for everybody else, and set an example."

Dean, 18, is from Anaheim, Calif., and he's a UCLA commit.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is no stranger to big stages. In July, he participated in the high school Home Run Derby at Nationals Park during the All-Star festivities. He finished with a respectable 18 homers in the home of the Washington Nationals. He also had the chance to meet All-Stars Adam Jones of the Orioles and Aaron Hicks of the Yankees.

"I didn't come out on top, but it was so much fun," Dean said. "It was amazing. You've just got to keep working to get better as a baseball player. You can't let it get to your head, you've got to be humble and just keep on moving forward."

Video: Mental preparation at the WWBA U14 Pitching Trials

Breakthrough Series launched in 2008 as a joint partnership between USA Baseball and Major League Baseball. Their performance in Jupiter has grabbed the attention of the scouts.

"The scouting has been great," Matthews said. "Everybody has been very pleased by the style of play, and how well the players are competing. They're talking about how they like the players, and how they have progressed. College coaches are asking about the players, asking about the uncommitted players. So, it's been positive in all aspects."

Breakthrough Series has 26 players on the roster, and at least 16 have commited to either Division I colleges, or junior colleges.

"These are some of the top players in the country," Matthews said.

Because the Perfect Game tournament is during the school year, Breakthrough Series requires its players to attend study halls at night, to not fall behind in the classroom.

They also have top-notch coaches, including former big leaguer Marquis Grissom, whose son, Marquis Jr., is a pitcher at Counterpane High School in Atlanta.

"There's an edge when you've played in the big leagues, or you've played in the Minor Leagues," Matthews said. "You've had an opportunity to tell the kids how it's going to be. This is what you need to expect. This is how you go about your business. Who better to give that information to than somebody like Marquis Grissom, who played in the big leagues for 15 years, and has four or five Gold Gloves.

"That's really what separates us from everybody else. We are development-oriented. That's ultimately what we want to see. We want to see the players get better, and we want to give them the information right after the game, to let them know how they can continue to improve themselves."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Rumors: Mesa brothers, Corbin, Eovaldi, Machado

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season
MLB.com

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

Mesa brothers expected to sign with Marlins
Oct. 20: The Marlins are expected to announce the signings of Cuban outfield prospects Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. in a news conference Monday in Miami, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Victor Victor Mesa, 22, will receive a more than $5 million signing bonus, and his 17-year-old brother will sign for nearly $1 million, per Sanchez.

The Marlins have about $6.6 million of international bonus pool money and have made clear they intend to be aggressive on the international market this winter. Victor Victor Mesa is ranked as the top international prospect on the market, per MLB Pipeline.

Miami has also been linked to Cuban right-hander Sandy Gaston, but it's unclear if it will be able to sign all three players. More >

Instagram from @victorvictormesa: 5 de octubre 2018Representando 🇨 #victorvictormesa

Free agent market for starting pitchers headlined by Corbin, Eovaldi
Oct. 20: In a relatively thin starting pitcher market this year, the field will be headlined by left-hander Patrick Corbin and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. Corbin, 29, is coming off a breakout season for the D-backs, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA over 33 starts, earning his second career All-Star selection. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Corbin will be sought after by the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. Cafardo also posits Corbin could be offered a deal in the neighborhood of at least five years and $20 million to $25 million.

Eovaldi, 28, has boosted his stock ahead of free agency this winter with two stellar postseason starts for the Red Sox, Cafardo notes. The right-hander has a 1.88 ERA over two starts between the AL Division Series against the Yankees and the AL Championship Series against the Astros. Cafardo compares Eovaldi to Alex Cobb, who also returned following Tommy John surgery and landed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Orioles last offseason.

Cafardo also mentions J.A. Happ, the veteran left-hander who may garner interest from the Yankees and Astros. Happ posted a 2.69 ERA in seven starts for New York after being acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays. Two other notable free-agents-to-be are Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. Keuchel, 30, posted a 3.74 ERA in 34 starts for the Astros. Morton, 34, had another solid season (3.13 ERA over 30 starts), and could draw interest from the Yankees and Red Sox, according to Cafardo.

Machado's controversial week not expected to impact value to free agent suitors
Oct. 20: Milwaukee fans at Miller Park weren't all too happy to see impending free agent Manny Machado in Games 6 and 7 of the National League Championship Series after his controversial week, and they made their displeasure known with a hearty round of boos as Machado stepped to the plate, which turned to cheers when Wade Miley struck Machado out swinging during Game 6. Machado was seen gesturing to the crowd as if to egg them on as he walked into the dugout following the strikeout.

After hitting a solo homer and two-run single in Game 1 and following that up with a 2-for-3 showing in Game 3, Machado cooled down over the course of the week, going 1-for-12 with two walks (one intentional) in Games 4, 5 and 6. But he had a 2-for-4 showing with a pair of singles in Game 7, which the Dodgers won to advance to their second straight World Series. The first hit was particularly significant, a bunt single ahead of Cody Bellinger in the second inning. Bellinger proceeded to launch a two-run homer to give Los Angeles the lead.

The week, of course, also included the incident in which Machado clipped Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's foot while running through first base, prompting Christian Yelich to call Machado a "dirty player," and his interview with MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in which Machado called hustling not his "cup of tea."

But through all of the controversy, Machado is still one of the most tantalizing talents in baseball entering free agency at the young age of 26, and as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi points out, Machado's 175 homers through his age-25 season ranked fifth all-time among infielders, behind only Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Mathews, Jimmie Foxx and Orlando Cepeda.

Video: NLCS Gm6: Machado on Game 6 loss, handling the boos

Those accomplishments, as well as Machado's bounceback defense with the Dodgers, his positional flexibility and his contact rate, make it difficult for the controversy to move the needle on his free agency significantly -- a high-ranking club executive told Morosi that the impact to Machado should be "minimal," with agreement from others around baseball.

The market as a whole -- not individual front offices -- will ultimately dictate Machado's overall value come free agency, meaning that as long as interest from other clubs holds steady, his ultimate contract shouldn't be too highly affected by all the recent news.

As MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted in an article for Fancred Sports, the Yankees should be firmly in play for Machado, especially with Didi Gregorius' recent Tommy John surgery. New York has tried to land Machado before, and Machado's interest in joining the Yankees was documented back in August, when Heyman reported that people close to the slugger were suggesting that the club was his first choice in free agency.

Heyman also said in an appearance on "The Rundown" on Thursday that the Phillies are prepared to pursue Machado and fellow uber-free agent Bryce Harper, and many expect them to come away with at least one.

"People around baseball are going to be surprised if [the Phillies] don't get at least one of these two players, and maybe both," Heyman said.

Will Grandal's struggles boost market for Ramos?
Oct. 20: There are going to be a slew of teams in the market for a catcher this offseason, possibly including playoff hopefuls like the Dodgers, Rockies, Rays, Brewers, Red Sox, A's, Astros, Braves, Phillies and Nationals.

Even in light of his well-documented struggles this postseason, Dodgers backstop Yasmani Grandal should still be one of the most highly coveted catchers in free agency -- though any loss to Grandal's stock from his October performance figures to benefit Wilson Ramos, the other premier catcher on the market entering 2019.

The 29-year-old Grandal could hardly have drawn up a worse postseason to cap his walk year. After going 1-for-13 with five strikeouts in the NL Division Series against the Braves, Grandal was 2-for-8 with five strikeouts in his two NLCS starts, but more concerningly, he had three passed balls in those two starts and also committed two errors in Game 1, when he became the first catcher in postseason history with multiple errors and multiple passed balls in a game.

Video: NLCS Gm 3: Grandal discusses defensive performance

For the second straight postseason, Grandal finds himself losing significant playing time to Austin Barnes, who started Games 4, 5 and 6 behind the plate. Last season, Barnes started 13 playoff games, including all seven World Series games, and Grandal started only two. That's concerning in Grandal's last showcase before hitting free agency, but it's worth noting that Grandal is still coming off a regular season in which he posted a career-best full-season OPS+ (121), with his 24 homers and .241/.349/.466 slash line all near his career highs.

Ramos, a year older than Grandal, was sidelined for part of the 2018 season with a hamstring injury and missed his first career All-Star Game start as a result, but posted a .337/.396/.483 slash line for the Phillies in 33 games following his return from injury, capping a season with a career-best 130 OPS+.

The other factor that might slightly increase Ramos' appeal is that due to his midseason trade from the Rays, he's not eligible for a qualifying offer from the Phillies before he hits free agency, whereas Grandal is a solid candidate for a qualifying offer (reportedly valued at $17.9 million for 2019) from the Dodgers. If Grandal were to reject a qualifying offer, the team signing him would forfeit one or more Draft picks, while a Ramos signing would not be subject to such a penalty.

Miley continues surprising 2018 with solid Game 6 start
Oct. 20: Wade Miley might not be one of the premier names on the free agent market this offseason, but he's made a big splash this postseason due to both his solid work on the mound and his unorthodox usage in manager Craig Counsell's unique pitching plan. Couple that with his strong regular season, and he could be a solid option in free agency for teams looking for rotation depth and a veteran presence.

The left-hander hadn't allowed a run in three postseason "starts" prior to his NLCS Game 6 start on Friday, when he went 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs -- a leadoff homer and RBI double by David Freese -- while striking out four and walking two.

Video: NLCS Game 6: Wade Miley discusses forcing a Game 7

Earlier in October, he pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings at Coors Field to clinch the NLDS for the Brewers and followed that up with 5 2/3 shutout innings of two-hit ball in NLCS Game 2 at Miller Park. Though he faced a first-and-second, two-out jam in the second inning, he induced a foul pop from Freese before retiring the next seven batters in order.

The Brewers might not have been in the postseason at all had it not been for Miley, who helped stabilize the flux in Milwaukee's starting rotation by going 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 16 starts, mostly from July on, after he was signed to a Minor League contract in the offseason. Gio Gonzalez will also hit free agency for the Brewers whenever their 2018 season comes to an end.

Morton, Keuchel among Astros' key free agents
Oct. 19: After their hopes of back-to-back World Series titles were dashed by the Red Sox in the ALCS, the Astros now turn their attention to an offseason in which they have a number of key free-agent decisions to make.

The rotation could have a different look next season, with Morton and Keuchel entering free agency. Morton has pondered retirement, but he indicated that he'd like to continue his career after Thursday's season-ending loss.

"I'd love to keep playing, I'd love to be an Astro," Morton said, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. "I'd love to be part of this again. Ultimately, it's not really up to me. It's not solely up to me."

Tweet from @Chandler_Rome: Charlie Morton, who is 34 and a pending free agent: ���I���d love to keep playing, I���d love to be an Astro. I���d love to be part of this again. Ultimately, it���s not really up to me. It���s not solely up to me.���

If Morton decides he wants to come back for one more season, he might be open to accepting a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to finish his career with Houston. Keuchel, though, is expected to seek a multi-year deal.

Houston does have several internal options who could step into the rotation if needed, including Brad Peacock, Collin McHugh, Josh James and top prospect Forrest Whitley.

On the other side of the ball, the Astros' don't have to worry about losing anyone from their core of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer, but utility man Marwin Gonzalez is set for free agency. Houston could look to bring Gonzalez back, as his ability to play all over the diamond while providing above-average offensive production (112 wRC+ from 2014-18) makes him an important part of the roster.

The Astros are also expected to have some turnover at the catching position, with Martin Maldonado headed for free agency and Brian McCann's $15 million club option unlikely to be picked up. Evan Gattis will be a free agent as well, though he made just two appearances behind the plate in 2018. The Astros will probably let Gattis walk, opening up more at-bats for Tyler White at designated hitter in 2019.

To address their need at catcher, Houston could pursue Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos in free agency, or explore a trade for the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto.

What will Indians' outfield look like in 2019?
Oct. 19: With Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall set to hit the open market, the Indians have question marks at all three starting outfield spots for next season. As a result, Brantley is a logical candidate to receive the $17.9 million qualifying offer, in the opinion of MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.

After getting just 101 games and 1.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per FanGraphs, from Brantley over 2016-17, the Indians nonetheless exercised his $12 million option for '18. The move worked out, as Brantley made the All-Star team and produced 3.5 WAR. Brantley also recorded 10.0 WAR from '14-15, so his '18 production wasn't out of the blue.

Moreover, Bastian thinks the Indians could pursue free agent Andrew McCutchen if Brandon Guyer's $3 million option isn't picked up. Guyer's primary role was to platoon against southpaws, and he posted a 120 wRC+ in those situations this past season, compared to a 34 mark vs. righties. McCutchen performed well vs. lefties (128 wRC+) and righties (118 wRC+) in '18, so he wouldn't need to be held to a strict platoon role. More >

Trading Myers a potential option for Padres this offseason
Oct. 19: With first baseman Eric Hosmer signed to a long-term deal and Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe staking claim to the corner-outfield spots, the Padres don't have an obvious position for Wil Myers in 2019.

San Diego has an opening at third base, but Myers struggled defensively in limited action at the position this past season. Although Myers could improve as he gains more experience at the hot corner, he likely brings the most value to the club as a left fielder.

As a result, MLB.com's AJ Cassavell expects general manager A.J. Preller to explore a trade this offseason that would clear some of the outfield logjam.

Dealing Myers makes the most sense for the small-market Padres, but his contract -- Myers is owed $74 million from 2019-22, with most of that coming in the latter three years -- could be a deterrent. San Diego would also be selling low, as Myers played just 83 games this past season. Thus, Preller might have to trade Reyes or Renfroe instead to fix the situation.

"We'll get into the offseason and talk about what's the best configuration for our club," Preller said. "We have some depth at different positions that I'm sure will be discussed with other teams as well. ... [We'll] figure out what's the best mix." More >

Could Rockies look to trade Gray?
Oct. 19: The Rockies' rotation was surprisingly a strength of the team in 2018, with Kyle Freeland and German Marquez enjoying breakout seasons, but Opening Day starter Jon Gray was a disappointment.

Although he fanned 183 batters, Gray allowed more earned runs than anyone in the National League (98), posting a 5.12 ERA over 172 1/3 innings. His FIP was much lower at 4.08, mirroring a career trend (lifetime 3.68 FIP, 4.65 ERA).

The right-hander has shown flashes of ace potential in four big league campaigns, but he hasn't put it all together yet, and his future role is a major question mark for Colorado.

According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, the Rockies didn't act on the inquiries they received about Gray before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But with Gray's tantalizing stuff and three remaining years of team control, the trade requests aren't likely to go away this offseason. And after Gray was left off the NLDS roster, Colorado might be more open to dealing him this time around.

Braves could be active on trade market, may take cautious approach to free agency
Oct. 19: While the Braves may have at least $60 million to address their multiple needs, which include a catcher, a corner outfielder, bullpen depth and a frontline starter, they may take a cautious approach to the free-agent market to avoid deals that hinder them down the road.

"We're not going to just walk in the store and buy because we have money in our pockets," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "If we don't find the right deal with something we like, there's still other opportunities to shop. There could be opportunities next season. If you start signing guys to big, long deals, if you feel good about the deal, you do it now. I wouldn't force a deal right now that would limit you in years from now."

Atlanta, though, could be active on the trade market, as the club has significant prospect depth from which to deal. Exploring a trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto could be a top priority.

Of course, that doesn't mean the Braves should be completely ruled out as potential suitors for some of the top free agents on the market. While they are unlikely to make offers to Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, they could target left-hander Patrick Corbin, or potentially seek a reunion with closer Craig Kimbrel. Both hurlers would fill needs for the club.

Atlanta also hasn't ruled out re-signing right fielder Nick Markakis or catcher Kurt Suzuki, though they would prefer to add a surefire starting catcher so Tyler Flowers can move to a backup role.

"I don't think with our club, with what we have, that the value is going to be there in the free-agent market," Anthopoulos said. "It doesn't mean it won't. We'll certainly explore it. But if I could sit here in the middle of October, I'd say it's more likely we go the trade route. It's not ideal to give up young assets, but it's also not ideal to do a deal you don't believe in -- that may look good for a year or two, and then in years three, four and five, it does not." More >

Cardinals eyeing left-handed relievers
Oct. 19: The bullpen was a weak spot for the Cardinals in 2018, even with the emergence of flamethrowing Jordan Hicks and a strong campaign from Bud Norris, who was signed to a Minor League contract before the season. The left side was particularly troublesome, and as a result, St. Louis is expected to make improving that area a priority this offseason.

The free-agent market will have several options who fit that bill, including Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, Tony Sipp and Justin Wilson.

In recent years, the Cardinals haven't done well when giving Major League deals to free-agent relievers. In fact, St. Louis committed a total of $68.25 million combined to Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland, Luke Gregerson, Brett Cecil and Seunghwan Oh for a cumulative WAR of 0.3.

But president of baseball operations John Mozeliak indicated that the club's lack of past success in that area won't be a deterrent in the coming months.

"We did choose to [be aggressive in that market] a few years back, and it has not been a home run. We get it," Mozeliak said. "That's not going to create some paralysis for us now. We understand the volatility of it. And trying to get it right is what we're going to continue to do." More >

Kimbrel delivers first scoreless appearance of 2018 postseason in ALCS Game 5
Oct. 19: The Red Sox beat the Astros, 4-1, in ALCS Game 5 on Thursday to win the American League pennant and advance to the World Series, with closer Craig Kimbrel throwing a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Red Sox win the American League pennant

It was Kimbrel's first scoreless appearance of the entire postseason. Although he is 5-for-5 in save chances, the right-hander has allowed five runs over 6 ⅓ innings while yielding six hits, six walks and two hit batsmen in this year's playoffs. With Kimbrel struggling on a big stage, it's fair to wonder how much he has hurt his stock with free agency upcoming after the season.

Kimbrel has long been one of the most dominant closers in baseball, and he had another strong campaign in the 2018 regular season. However, he also showed some signs of regression, posting a career-high 3.13 FIP with a 3.1 K/BB ratio (1.42 FIP, 9.0 K/BB ratio in '17).

Recent history may also give teams pause when it comes to the size of Kimbrel's next contract, as the lucrative deals given to big-name closers such as Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis and Mark Melancon in the past few offseasons haven't gone as well as the signing clubs likely hoped they would.

Still, most teams will likely view Kimbrel as the best available option among the free agents with closing experience, and given the ever-growing importance of relievers in today's game, there shouldn't be a shortage of clubs interested in his services -- especially if he can rebound in the Fall Classic.

Will Realmuto be with Marlins in 2019?
Oct. 18: J.T. Realmuto's future with the Marlins has been a persistent storyline since the club began its rebuild by dealing Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon last offseason, and that's unlikely to change during the coming months.

Realmuto, who will be 28 years old on Opening Day in 2019, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining, and as MLB.com's Joe Frisaro notes, the Marlins will likely need to present him with a path to contention within that timeframe to convince him to sign a long-term deal.

According to Frisaro, the Marlins will try to do that this winter but are also expected to explore trade scenarios for the backstop to keep their options open.

Realmuto made the All-Star team for the first time in 2018, hitting .277 with a personal-best 21 homers, 74 RBIs and .825 OPS. He also posted a 38 percent caught-stealing rate -- 10 percentage points above the MLB average -- and allowed just eight passed balls in 951 innings behind the plate.

The Nationals, Astros, Phillies, Red Sox, A's and Rockies are among the contenders that could be in the market for a catcher, though the Marlins' asking price will likely remain lofty. More >