2018 MLB Playoffs: World Series Preview, Game Times, Pitching Matchups, and Predictions

By Michael Vesci
Oct. 21, 2018

This is it. The 2018 World Series is set to get underway on Tuesday night as the Boston Red Sox emerged victorious in the American League after defeating the Houston Astros in five games while the Los Angeles Dodgers came out of the National League after a thrilling seven-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. So with the World Series set, let us dive right into previewing the matchup with game times, pitchers, and predictions. But first, how did MTV's Hot Takes do predicting the American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series?

NLCS Prediction: Brewers in 6 Games

NLCS Winner: Dodgers in 7 Games

NLCS Record: 0-1

ALCS Predictions: Astros in 5 Games

ALCS Winners: Red Sox in 5 Games

ALCS Record 0-1

Overall Postseason Record: 5-5

Ouch! That certainly was not expected. With the way the Astros were performing on offense and with their pitching staff, they seemed like a lock to advance past the Red Sox. However, it was Boston that turned the tables on Houston with a hard-hitting offensive attack in all five games. The same goes for Milwaukee as their big bats like Christian Yelich and Jesus Aguilar went cold against the Dodgers, resulting in a stall out of the offense while their young pitching staff regressed after putting up impressive performances against the Rockies. But anyways, it is time to move past that and predict the World Series with a chance to finish above .500 with the postseason predictions.

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (1) Boston Red Sox

Game 1: Tuesday, October 23rd @ Fenway Park, 8:09 PM EST, FOX

Probable Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Sale

Game 2: Wednesday, October 24th @ Fenway Park, 8:09 PM EST, FOX

Probable Pitchers: Hyu-Jin Ryu vs. David Price

Game 3: Friday, October 26th @ Dodger Stadium, 8:09 PM EST, FOX

Probable Pitchers: TBD vs. Walker Buehler

Game 4: Saturday, October 27th @ Dodger Stadium, 8:09 PM EST, FOX

Probable Pitchers: TBD vs. TBD

Game 5: Sunday, October 28th @ Dodger Stadium, 8:15 PM EST, FOX (If Necessary)

Probable Pitchers: TBD vs. TBD

Game 6: Tuesday, October 30th @ Fenway Park, 8:09 PM EST, FOX (If Necessary)

Probable Pitchers: TBD vs. TBD

Game 7: Wednesday, October 31st @ Fenway Park, 8:09 PM EST, FOX (If Necessary)

Probable Pitchers: TBD vs. TBD

*Will be Updated when more starters announced*

World Series History

The last time these two teams met was way back in the 1916 World Series when the Brooklyn Robins who later were coined as the Dodgers in 1932 took on the Boston Red Sox. Boston won the series 4-1 to win their fourth World Series title in the 20th century, they would go on to win one more championship in 1918 before the Curse of the Bambino was bestowed upon them and it was another 86 years before the Sox won another World Series. Once the curse was broken in 2004 the Red Sox went on to win two more championships in 2007 and 2013, they are a perfect 3-0 when appearing in the World Series during the 21st century.

On the other side, after the 1916 World Series loss the Brooklyn Dodgers (known today as the Los Angeles Dodgers), went on to win six titles starting in 1955 before they moved to LA and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The franchise's most recent World Series victory came back in 1988 against the Oakland Athletics. Since then, the Dodgers have appeared in just two World Series which came last year when they lost to the Astros in seven games and the series they are about to embark on with the Red Sox this year. Pictured below are the two managers from that 1916 World Series, Sox manager Bill Carrigan (left) and Dodgers manager Wilbert Robinson (right).

A Year in Review

Fast forward to this year as both teams are ready to battle it out for the right to be crowned the best in baseball in the 2018 World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers were mired with injuries for much of the regular season and coming into the month of September they looked like a team that would be sitting at home come October. But Los Angeles flipped on a switch and the once third-place Dodgers found themselves tied atop the NL West with the Colorado Rockies at the end of 162 games, forcing a game 163 at Dodger Stadium the next day. LA took care of business with a 5-2 win over the Rockies to earn their spot in the NLDS to face the Atlanta Braves. At times, Atlanta went toe-to-toe with the NL West champions, but their efforts were not good enough as the Dodgers dispatched of them in four games. Finally, to get to this point it was the mighty Milwaukee Brewers they had to take down in an NLCS series that lasted seven games. The Brewers came into the series having won 11 straight games dating back to the regular season and 13 of their last 14. But Los Angeles cooled off the hot bats of Milwaukee and held off their attempt at coming back in the series after trailing three games to two, advancing them to the World Series.

On the other hand, the Boston Red Sox got off to a hot start and never looked back from there. Boston started the year 17-2, taking control of the division early on in the season and going on to win the AL East title by eight games over the New York Yankees. The Sox finished the regular season with a franchise record 108 wins, five more wins than the next best record in baseball which was the Astros with 103 wins on the season. The best team in baseball drew the New York Yankees in the ALDS and even though the bullpen looked shaky at times, the Yankees were unable to take advantage of the numerous opportunities they had to take control of games and Boston escaped with the series victory in four games. Then came the ALCS against the Houston Astros, a rematch of the 2017 ALDS in which Houston took the series in four games. This time Boston's offense knocked around the pitching of the Astros and got stellar performances from the likings of David Price and Nathan Eovaldi to finish Houston off in five games, earning their spot in the World Series for the fourth time this century.

World Series Preview

This is going to be an explosive series with two high-powered offenses going head-to-head with one another. The Red Sox come in with blazing hot bats, something the Dodgers were good at neutralizing during their series with the Brewers. Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, and Jackie Bradley Jr. combined for 18 of the 27 RBIs produced by Boston in the ALCS. If the pitching staff of Los Angeles is unable to combat this type of production from the Red Sox trio of hitters in the World Series, it will be difficult to come away with a World Series title. Pitching was another big piece of success that propelled Boston to their series victory over Houston. Between two starts by David Price, the left-hander went 10 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, struck out 13, walked just four batters, and the Red Sox came away with victories in both games. Thought to be a weak point of the roster, a combined six bullpen relievers allowed just four earned runs last series over the course of the five games. The one weak link? Brandon Workman, who allowed four earned runs in his one appearance of the ALCS in just 1/3 of an inning. Outside of him, the Boston bullpen seems to be finding some stability at just the right time with a World Series title now on the line.

Speaking of the bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been dominant all postseason long. The Dodgers have used nine relievers and starter Rich Hill in a relief pitching scenario throughout the first two series of the postseason and they have combined to allow six earned runs over 40 2/3 innings. In other words, once you hit the bullpen the runs become scarce. Boston will have to attack the starting pitchers of Los Angeles and get strong performances from their own starters and relievers in order to take the series. The offense has been a team effort for the Dodgers this postseason with no one player carrying the load in the 11 games they have played. Los Angeles is averaging 4.3 runs per game in the postseason and will have to continue to get a team effort against Boston if they hope to win the World Series in their second attempt in as many years. Pitching usually wins games during the postseason which is why the Dodgers are where they are right now. But nobody has been able to slow down the Red Sox and their offensive onslaught that has averaged 6.2 runs per game in the nine games they have taken the field for this postseason. However, I feel I have learned my lesson picking against the Boston juggernaut as they have destroyed any formidable pitching they have faced which is why I believe the Red Sox will be your 2018 World Series champions.

Prediction: Boston in 6

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