FAQs Red Sox face as World Series approaches

October 19th, 2018

BOSTON -- First they slayed their forever rivals, the New York Yankees, in the American League Division Series. Then they dethroned the defending World Series-champion Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series.
Up next for the Red Sox? A trip to the Fall Classic and a showdown with the Dodgers. Here are some answers to questions you might have in advance of the first World Series at Fenway Park in five years.
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When does the World Series start?
Red Sox fans can catch up on their sleep the next few days. The World Series starts on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, with the first pitch on FOX scheduled for 8:09 ET.
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How will the Red Sox stay sharp until then?
The layoff is something the Sox are familiar with. At the end of the regular season, Boston had four days off prior to the ALDS against New York. That is the same amount of rest manager Alex Cora's team has this time. The rust didn't prove to be a factor last time, as the Red Sox won Game 1, 5-4. Boston got a full day off on Friday, before resuming workouts at Fenway on Saturday. Look for hitters to stay sharp by digging in against the high-speed pitching machine, and they'll also likely take some live batting practice against pitchers who aren't on the postseason roster.
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What is the pitching rotation looking like?
By again ending a series with time to spare, Cora can reset his rotation. This is huge for Game 1 starter Chris Sale, who was hospitalized last Sunday night with a stomach ailment and now has extra time to regain his strength. Sale's velocity and command were both off in his no-decision in Game 1 of the ALCS. It's unclear if that had to do with the early onset of his stomach ailment or from his disjointed final couple of months of the regular season, when he pitched just 17 innings from July 28 until the postseason due to left shoulder inflammation. The last time Sale had this much rest, he came out blazing en route to a Game 1 win over the Yankees.

Look for -- who finally got that elusive first postseason win as a starter -- to draw the assignment in Game 2. , an emerging hero in this postseason, could get Game 3. That would allow Game 4 starter to be available early in the series out of the bullpen, just like he was in the past two rounds.
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Will there be any roster changes?
In the first two rounds, the Red Sox went with 11 pitchers and 14 position players. The bullpen was close to tapped out by the end of the ALCS, so expect Boston to extend to 12 pitchers this time around. Knuckleballer , who was taken off the ALDS roster after Game 1 due to recurring right knee woes, is eligible to return for the World Series. It will be interesting to see if the Sox activate him. Wright is due to have arthroscopic surgery after the season ends, but he threw a bullpen session this week in Houston. Wright was tremendous in relief for Boston in September.

If the Red Sox do go to 12 pitchers, is the position player most likely to come off the roster. The catcher/utility player didn't appear in any games in the ALCS.
Is closer OK?
Many were worried about the closer when he gave up runs in his first four appearances of the postseason, though he still managed to save each game. Kimbrel looked far more like himself while closing out the Astros in Game 5, striking out two of the four batters he faced, while allowing one walk. The Red Sox think the big issue Kimbrel was having was that he was tipping his slider, which enabled the Yankees and Astros to take it just about every time. He fixed that problem in Game 5 against Houston, and he will have time to iron out some other mechanical issues before the World Series starts.

Have the Red Sox faced the Dodgers in the World Series?
You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who remembers that 1916 Fall Classic matchup, in which the Babe Ruth-led Red Sox defeated the Brooklyn Robins in five games.

How experienced are the Red Sox in the World Series?
Not as experienced as you probably think. With out for the season with a right knee injury, and are the only players on the roster who were on Boston's 2013 World Series championship squad. (, and Wright all saw action for Boston in the regular season that year, but none appeared in the playoffs.) Five years ago, Bogaerts was a 21-year-old playing with house money on the big stage. He was also playing out of position at third base. This time around, Bogaerts is counted on heavily as the captain of the infield at shortstop and also the team's big RBI man in the cleanup spot behind J.D. Martinez.

The only other Sox players who have even been to the World Series are first baseman Mitch Moreland, second baseman and Price. Moreland and Kinsler experienced the agony of coming one strike away from winning it all with the Rangers in 2011, only to lose the series in seven games to the Cardinals. Moreland and Kinsler also played for the Texas team that lost to San Francisco in the '10 World Series. Price was as wide-eyed as Bogaerts in his previous World Series experience. The left-hander was just a year removed from Vanderbilt when his Rays lost to the Phillies in five games in the '08 World Series.

Though Cora is a rookie manager, he brings big-game experience with him to the World Series. Cora played for Boston's 2007 championship team and was the bench coach last year for the Houston squad that beat Los Angeles.