ITMOD: 102-Years In The Making

Mike Venditti
October 23, 2018 - 11:46 am
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The year was 1916 and the Boston Red Sox were squaring off against the Brooklyn Robins in the World Series.

Babe Ruth pitched all 14-innings in a 2-1 Game 2 victory for the Red Sox.  Ernie Shore started and won two games for the Red Sox and in the end, Boston clinched another World Series Championship in just 5-games.

Now, here we sit, 102-years later, and the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are prepared to duke it out for the title of World Series Champion once again.

Will history repeat itself?  Can the Dodgers get revenge for the Robins?

I'll tell you in a minute, but first, let's look back at the ALCS and NLCS.

This time, I was perfect on predictions as far as who would win, but only "Homer Mike" had a game total right with the Red Sox dispatching the defending champion Houston Astros in just 5-games.

So, let's look at that series that spawned my inner conflict.

The Red Sox may have won 108-games this season, but a lot of folks (myself included at times) had little to no faith that they could unseat the Astros.  Houston was just too deep all over the place with a stellar line-up, a dominant rotation and a shut-down pen.

Only difference from 2017 to 2018 was that Alex Cora wasn't on the Astros bench in 2018.  He was managing the Red Sox against his former team.  That could have made all of the difference in the world.

The thing is, the Red Sox took control of this series in Game 2 and then used Alex Bregman's cocky Instagram post as motivation to go to Houston and punch their ticket to the World Series.

Of course some will point to Joe West's interference call, but personally, I think Joe was correct and I know for a fact that the series wasn't lost in that one single moment.

The Red Sox were able to get the hits in key situations and get the outs when the Astros were in similar situations.  To everybody's surprise, the Boston bullpen was outstanding and unsung heroes like ALCS MVP Jackie Bradly Jr. (Forever to thee!), were what made the difference and sent the Sox to another World Series.

In the NLCS, it really seemed like the starts could have been aligning for the Milwaukee Brewers.  They may have gotten down 3-2 heading home for Game 6, but a win in that Game 6 made it seem like they could pull it off, especially at home.

Well, the Dodgers had other plans.  

L.A. is just too deep and was able to dominate when necessary in this series.  Even after Clayton Kershaw shouldered the loss in Game 1, the Dodgers were able to get the split in Milwaukee before heading out West.

Kershaw then bounced back and earned a huge win in Game 5 to give L.A. the 3-2 lead and things came to an end in Game 7 thanks to the bats of Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig.

So, here we are, the day of Game 1 of the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.  

Per usual, I will provide a homer pick and an analyst pick since my BoSox are in the mix.

WORLD SERIES- Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Dodgers

While the betting favorite is clearly the Red Sox, there are a lot of things to look at when breaking down this match-up and it obviously starts with the Game 1 starters, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale.

The dueling ace's have a lot of hope and money tied up in their performance on the biggest stage in baseball.  This is the moment they were born to be in.

While this is Sale's first trip to the Fall Classic, Kershaw has fallen short of the ultimate glory once already, but does have experience on his side.

Sale has Fenway on his.

There's no question that Fenway Park is one of the best home field advantages in baseball on a normal day, but in October and especially in the World Series, it transforms into an even more raucous place. 

That doesn't mean that Dodger Stadium doesn't also provide an advantage for the home team, but there's really nothing like Fenway.

The more dominant Sale can be early, the louder and louder the Fenway crowd will get and only fuel him and the offense to do even better.

Beyond the Game 1 starters and home field advantage, there are many different factors that could really benefit either team.  It kind of all comes down to the beauty of baseball.  Who can and will get the hits and outs when they need them the most.

The Dodger line-up with Bellinger, Puig, Manny Machado and others is as stout as they come...when they're on....but the same thing could be said for Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez and the Red Sox lineup.  

In all honesty, Betts and Martinez only just started heating up in the ALCS and could easily explode offensively in the World Series.  The Sox had to rely on the 7-9 hitters to get things done against the Astros, but will need much more from the top of the lineup to win it all. 

While they will need some run production, the Dodgers x-factor need will be their pitching.  

Kershaw must pitch his best in this series and Ryu, Hill and Buehler will need to be Kershaw-esque to keep the Red Sox bats at bay. 

That brings us to the bullpens. 

Both of these clubs had their bullpen woes in the regular season and both fan bases are heading into the Fall Classic with a few worries.  But overall, the Red Sox pen over first two series of the playoffs has been outstanding and, to me, has the edge in this match-up.

Ryan Braiser has had a real coming out party this October and the combination of Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Brasier haven't allowed an inherited runner to score in 4-straight games.  

Also in this series, we are experiencing the first ever World Series where both teams are managed by a minority manager.  Dave Roberts, Red Sox playoff legend and Dodgers Manager, and Alex Cora have accomplished a great feat in the baseball world already, but this landmark occasion says a lot about the work MLB has done to incorporate a more diverse landscape and should be celebrated!

This brings us to prediction time...and again, you get two different predictions, starting with the homer pick.

"Homer Mike" World Series Prediction: 

The Boston freaking Red Sox are back in the Fall Classic and ready to dominate their 4th World Series in 14-years.  Sale becomes a legend, Price finishes his bounceback and earns all $200+ million in one October and Cy Young Rick Porcello and Nasty Nate Eovaldi round things off in the rotation with Craig Heart Attack Kimbrel and the dominant Red Sox pen to keep things in check on the mound.  

AND THAT'S JUST HALF OF IT!

JBJesus, Mookie, Benny Baseball, JD and the gang will give ol' Clayton flashbacks to his October starts of the past and the winningest team in baseball will, for the 3rd time in 14-years, break out the brooms and SWEEP the Dodgers to win yet another Commissioners Trophy!  

Official Prediction- Red Sox sweep Dodgers 4-0

Fire up the Duck Boats! 

Professional Broadcaster and Journalist Ditti Prediction:

So much to digest coming into this World Series, but the more I digest, the more I don't see anything but dominance from the Red Sox in this matchup.

The Red Sox come into this series the winningest team in baseball with the best home record in baseball and two straight dominant series wins against powerful offenses...both including multiple road wins.

The Dodgers on the other hand stumbled into October, needed Game 163 to lock up the West and taxed their bullpen further in a long 7-game NLCS. 

Anything can happen in October and anybody can become a hero, but when analyzing this series, I can only come to one conclusion...."Homer Mike" isn't very far off.

Official Prediction- Red Sox defeat Dodgers in 5 Games (4-1)

Sorry LaLa Land, but Boston gets another title at your expense and it will be time to party like it's 1916 in Beantown.

I like the Sox rotation better, I like their lineups better and I like their bullpen better.  I do think the Dodgers have more depth on the bench, but I'm not sure that can help them enough here.

To me, the Astros/Red Sox series was basically the World Series, whomever won that would win it all.  That just so happens to be the Boston Red Sox.

Side note...

Beyond my professional and fandom analysis, this is a big week for me personally. 

This will be the first World Series involving the Red Sox since my father's passing.  

I have never missed anything more than I miss calling him every step of the way through a season like this. 

When the Red Sox clinched the AL East, I wanted to call him.  When they won 100-games, I wanted to call him.  When they danced at Yankee Stadium and at Minute Maid Park...I just wanted to call him.

This is going to be so very bittersweet, no matter how it turns out on the field, because I won't have Pops next to me or on the other end of the phone to talk about the game(s) we just watched. 

Baseball, specifically Red Sox baseball, will forever be my first love and biggest obsession and it was Pops that made me this way.  

The Sox were always the glue that held our relationship together.  Through good times or bad, we always had the Sox for at least the spring and summer.

In 2003, I was on the phone with Pops before the Boone ball even left the yard, complaining about Pedro and Grady Little, in 2004 I called Pops after the final out and we sobbed and laughed and sobbed a bit more, in 2007 we popped a bottle of champagne when Papelbon got the last strike and in 2013 we marveled at how such a ragtag group of guys were able to rally together and win another title. 

In 2018, I have already cried with every accomplishment the Red Sox have earned.  If they win 4-more baseball games....I will cry again. 

Tears of sadness, tears of happiness, tears of remembrance. 

Baseball is just a kids game that adults get paid a lot of money to play...but to Al Venditti and in turn to me, his son...

Baseball is life, the rest is just details.

I miss you Pops.  Go Red Sox.

-Ditti

As always, feel free to reach out with any thoughts or ideas.  Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Instagram (dittius33) or Facebook (/InsideTheMindOfDitti)

And in the immortal words of Bill and Ted...Be Excellent To Each Other! 

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