Major League Baseball got the exact matchup it wanted when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox emerged victorious in their respective League Championship Series, and the remark one executive made on Saturday night was a subtle indicator of that.
After his team defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 7 of the NLCS, Dodgers president Stan Kasten cracked a funny joke about having to face a “high-payroll team” in the World Series.
"Asking us to compete against these high-payroll teams is a little unfair, but we’ll do what we can," Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. "I’m loving that line. I’ve waited so long to use that!" (Dodgers rank 3rd in payroll, Red Sox rank 1st.)
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) October 21, 2018
The Red Sox have a total payroll of around $228 million this year, according to figures from Spotrac.com. At just south of $200 million, the Dodgers aren’t far behind. Kasten realizes that, hence the joke.
It goes without saying that teams with higher payrolls having bigger markets, and bigger markets mean more popularity and higher ratings. We already saw a small sample of how excited people are to see a Boston-L.A. World Series, and MLB officials are likely just as ecstatic about it.
The Los Angeles Dodgers reached the World Series for the second straight year following a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 7 of the NLCS on Saturday.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought closer Kenley Jansen into the game in the 7th inning and had him go four outs. He then brought ace Clayton Kershaw in for the ninth, and the southpaw retired the side in order to send the Dodgers to the World Series.
Cody Bellinger’s 2-run home run and Yasiel Puig’s 3-run home run provided the offense, while Chris Taylor made a spectacular catch to save runs in the fifth inning.
BACK-TO-BACK NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPS!
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 21, 2018
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 21, 2018
The Dodgers opened the season 16-26. It was their worst start since they moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
Now look at them: The Dodgers will make their first back-to-back World Series appearances since 1977-78.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 21, 2018
Seven down. Four to go.
Next week is gonna be lit. #LADetermined
— JessDuboff (@DuboffJess) October 21, 2018
Folks were particularly excited to see the Red Sox and Dodgers squaring off.
The last time the Dodgers played the Red Sox in the World Series, the Dodgers had a 25 year old outfielder named Casey Stengel, and the Red Sox had a 21 year old pitcher named Babe Ruth.
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 21, 2018
Dodgers vs Red Sox in the World Series for the first time since Babe Ruth was pitching for Boston. Love the history, #gododgers
— Omar Ruiz (@OmarDRuiz) October 21, 2018
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) October 21, 2018
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) October 21, 2018
folks at MLB thinking about a dodgers red sox series like pic.twitter.com/usv1dy92jr
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) October 21, 2018
The Dodgers are seeking their first World Series win since 1988. They will head to Boston to face the Red Sox in Game 1 on Tuesday.
The Houston Astros were accused of trying to steal signs through illegal means during both the ALDS and ALCS, but the paranoia has apparently not been limited to the American League.
According to Robert Murray of The Athletic, the Milwaukee Brewers suspect that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been trying to steal their signs in the NLCS with the help of video technology. Brewers catcher Erik Kratz has openly discussed the way his team has tried to mix signals to prevent the Dodgers from picking them up with runners on second, but there have been hints that Milwaukee suspects the espionage has gone beyond what’s legal.
“You’ve seen a couple times where something looks a little bit off,” pitcher Zach Davies said. “That’s something that’s part of the game. When you start using technology and when you start using guys outside of the baseball team to try to figure out what set of signs a pitcher is using, that’s a little … that kind of crosses the line.”
While the Brewers have not come out and said it, sources told Murray they at one point noticed a Dodgers coach running from the hallway into the dugout whenever a runner reached second. That could, in theory, mean the coach was consulting a video feed and then relaying what he saw to the baserunner. While the Brewers don’t have any hard evidence, they relayed their concerns to Major League Baseball.
“They use video people to get sequences,” one source told Murray. “It’s known throughout the league. MLB knows it’s an issue.”
Whether all of these allegations we have heard are true or not, MLB knows there are some things that need to be addressed during the offseason. There has been way too much talk about cheating, and the Astros got off without penalty despite what sounded like some blatant attempts to bend the rules. Having the integrity of the game called into question is never a good thing, especially on the biggest stage.
The Milwaukee Brewers tried to pull a fast one in Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday, but Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not fall for the ruse.
The Brewers controversially had lefty Wade Miley start the game, though he only faced one batter before being pulled. The reason for the move was Milwaukee tried to get the Dodgers to stack a more unfavorable lineup of all right-handed hitters to begin the game. However, the Dodgers were wise to the trick.
FOX MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal reported during the third inning that he asked the Dodgers about what the Brewers did with their starter and was told that “maybe [the Dodgers] suspected something was up.”
When the Dodgers faced Miley in Game 2 of the series, they started all right-handed hitters. For Game 5, they used two lefties — Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy — even batting Bellinger in the leadoff spot. They kept Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp on the bench.
The Dodgers likely would not have started Bellinger and Muncy if they genuinely thought they would be facing a left-handed pitcher for most of the game.
Maneuvers like this one from Milwaukee may lead MLB to look more carefully at implementing a rule, which is something they are considering.
After taking the loss in NLCS Game 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jeremy Jeffress had some interesting things to say about the poor outing.
The Milwaukee Brewers reliever entered Saturday’s game with a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning. He then proceeded to allow three runs to score (one on a bases-loaded walk to Austin Barnes and two an inning later on a go-ahead home run by Justin Turner) to give the Dodgers the ultimate 4-3 victory. After the game, Jeffress said that he thought the NL West winners were “lucky” in the runs that they scored off him, according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com.
Jeremy Jeffress has a theory for how the Dodgers scored their runs off him today. How Austin Barnes walked with the bases loaded, how Justin Turner hit his splitter for a go-ahead homer.
"Lucky," Jeffress called them.
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) October 14, 2018
The 31-year-old Jeffress had been fairly unhittable otherwise — he posted a microscopic 1.29 ERA on the season, good enough not only to make the All-Star team but also to cement himself as a featured attraction of Milwaukee’s vaunted bullpen.
Jeffress’ excellence was a major driving force behind the Brewers’ unique strategy of deploying their pitchers, but they may now have to rethink that approach if they are to bounce back and win the series, luck notwithstanding.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have had plenty of success over their franchise’s history, which dates back to their time in New York before the 20th century. But the team has been so successful recently that they accomplished a first in franchise history.
The team’s NLDS-clinching win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday allowed the Dodgers to reach the NLCS for the third year in a row for the first time in franchise history. The Dodgers have been to the playoffs six seasons in a row and are in the NLCS for the fourth time in those six years. This year they’re hoping to do what they haven’t been able to accomplish since 1988: Win a World Series.
The team came close last year but lost to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.
This time around, they have a solid starting pitching staff that has spared the bullpen compared to last year, when the pen was taxed throughout October. The Dodgers also have an incredible bench and can match up exceptionally well against either lefties or right-handed pitchers. The way they look and the way the Astros look, things could be setting up for a World Series rematch. Houston definitely looks like a favorite to repeat.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers will open the postseason with a surprising starter in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The Dodgers announced on Tuesday that lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves. Clayton Kershaw will start Game 2.
The move is a surprising one considering that Kershaw is supposed to be the team’s ace and money pitcher. Teams typically prefer to have their top pitcher begin a series and set the tone. But with Game 5 scheduled for next Wednesday, either Ryu or Kershaw could start the game on full rest if necessary.
The move makes sense for a few reasons.
The decision keeps the Dodgers on the same rotation that they’ve been. Ryu last started on Friday, Sept. 28 and will have five days to rest before starting on Thursday. Kershaw started on Saturday, Sept. 29 and will also have five days off before his start against Atlanta on Friday.
Beyond keeping with the rotation, Ryu has simply been hotter than Kershaw lately. Ryu has allowed just one run over his last three starts, winning all three. He went 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings in September. He has a 1.97 ERA on the season.
Kershaw has been close to his typical dominating form, going 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA this season. He had a 3.89 ERA in September, though the Dodgers won all six of his starts and have won the last eight games in which he’s pitched.
The Dodgers have ridden Kershaw hard in recent postseasons. Maybe starting Ryu will take the pressure off him as their workhorse. They also have Walker Buehler and Rich Hill to help ease the load.