Game 3: Betts in RF; LA starts lefty sluggers
LOS ANGELES -- The Red Sox will try to take complete command of the World Series when it shifts from the East Coast to the West Coast for tonight's Game 3 at Dodger Stadium.
:: World Series schedule and results ::
The weather will be about 35 degrees warmer at game time, and the Dodgers, down 0-2, will have the added heaters of rookie starting pitcher Walker Buehler, who will be making his World Series debut in dire straits after Boston scored 8-4 and 4-2 wins at Fenway Park in Games 1 and 2, respectively.
"At least we know if things don't go well in L.A., we're coming home," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "So that's good."
With Boston starting right-hander Rick Porcello, the Dodgers will finally dust off their left-handed-hitting lineup, giving starts to Cody Bellinger, Player Page for Max Muncy and Joc Pederson.
Red Sox: Without the designated hitter in Los Angeles, star slugger J.D. Martinez will shift to the outfield, and Andrew Benintendi will begin Game 3 on the bench. The Red Sox continue to be incredibly productive with two outs and runners in scoring position, which has been the difference in the first two games of this World Series. Don't discount Porcello's bat. The righty went 3-for-7 at the plate this season, getting one hit in all three of his starts in National League venues. Who could forget his three-run double against Max Scherzer on July 2?
- Mookie Betts, RF
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Mitch Moreland, 1B
- J.D. Martinez, LF
- Brock Holt, 2B
- Rafael Devers, 3B
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Christian Vazquez, C
- Rick Porcello, RHP
Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts, who had used five leadoff hitters in five consecutive games, used the same lineup back to back in Games 1 and 2, but that won't continue. L.A. had only three hits in Game 2, none for extra bases, and it is batting .175 to Boston's .297.
- Joc Pederson, LF
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Max Muncy, 1B
- Manny Machado, SS
- Cody Bellinger, CF
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Yasmani Grandal, C
- Chris Taylor, 2B
- Walker Buehler, P
Who are the starting pitchers?
Red Sox: Porcello (17-7, 4.28 ERA this season) has started 313 games in his career, including the postseason, but this will be the first time he draws that honor in the World Series. This will be Porcello's third start in these playoffs. He defeated the Yankees in the clinching Game 4 of the American League Division Series with five strong innings, but he took a no-decision in Game 4 against the Astros in the AL Championship Series. Porcello is at his best when he commands his sinker. He is 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA in two career starts at Dodger Stadium, but he hasn't pitched there since 2011.
Dodgers: Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA) pitched Game 163, which gave the Dodgers a division title, and he started Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, which gave Los Angeles a pennant, so you could say the club trusts the rookie under pressure. This is almost as much of a must-win game as Game 7 of the NLCS, but he handled that cooly on the road, and this time he'll enjoy the comforts of pitching at home. Buehler only lasted 4 2/3 innings in the clincher against Milwaukee, but he struck out seven without a walk. The only run he allowed came on a Christian Yelich home run.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Red Sox: The bullpen continues to be stellar for Boston in the playoffs. The question for Game 3 is whether Cora will again use Nathan Eovaldi, who turned in shutdown eighth innings in the first two games. Cora said before Game 3 that Eovaldi will start Game 4 if he isn't used tonight. Joe Kelly has emerged into a lock-down reliever in the playoffs, and Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the other setup men who will be used with the game on the line.
Dodgers: Roberts doesn't like to stray from the formula, but it will be interesting to see if he sticks with Ryan Madson in a jam rather than switching to Pedro Baez, who has been lights-out for nearly three months. Madson has been wobbly in critical moments of both losses to the Red Sox. The Dodgers sure would like to show off closer Kenley Jansen and use Baez in a win, now that he's pitched in two losses.
"The ball's not going where I want it," said Madson on Wednesday night. "Last night, pulling it down to the left. Tonight, it was high and to the right. Trying to throw it in there for a strike and let them try to beat me."
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox: No. As Cora likes to say, he is "all in."
Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: Martinez went 1-for-4 in Game 2 on Wednesday night with a decisive two-run single but reported ankle soreness afterward. He was in the starting lineup for Game 3, though.
Dodgers: None known.
Who is hot and who is not?
Red Sox: Betts went 3-for-4 in Game 2 and is 4-for-8 in the Series. Martinez has driven in four runs over the first two games.
Dodgers: Most of L.A.'s offense is as cold as the Boston weather. Austin Barnes, Bellinger, James Dozier, Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Pederson and Taylor are a combined 0-for-26. David Freese is 3-for-5 and Turner is 3-for-9.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• Teams that have taken 2-0 leads have won 43 of 54 World Series (79.6 percent), including the past 10 times. The 1955, '65 and '81 Dodgers are three of the teams that have fallen behind, 0-2, and won the Series.
• After going 86 years between World Series titles, the Red Sox are 14-2 in their past 16 games in the Fall Classic dating back to 2004.
• Boston has 117 wins, including the regular season. The 1998 Yankees (125 wins), 2001 Mariners (120 wins) and 1906 Cubs (118) are the only other teams in history to top that.
• With a home run in Game 1 and a sacrifice fly in Game 2, Matt Kemp is the first NL designated hitter to drive in a run in consecutive World Series games since Jim Eisenreich in 1997.
• With his RBI single in Game 2, Puig passed Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese for the fourth-most career postseason hits (47) in Dodgers history, behind Steve Garvey (63), Bill Russell (57) and Turner (51).
• Madson's 55th postseason appearance tied Jeff Nelson for second all-time behind Mariano Rivera (110).