The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are both sending their ace left-handed pitchers to the mound in Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night, and that could give the National League champions a strong opportunity to set the tone in the Fall Classic.
The Red Sox won 108 games during the regular season while the Dodgers won 92, but if Los Angeles wins the opener on the road, it is likely to create confidence in the winners' locker room.
The first pitch is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. ET and the game will be televised by Fox. Partly cloudy skies and high 40s to low 50s temperatures are expected at game time, although showers are a possibility during the game, per the Weather Channel.
World Series Schedule
Tuesday, October 23 (Game 1): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 24 (Game 2): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Friday, October 26 (Game 3): Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:09 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 27 (Game 4): Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:09 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 28 (Game 5, if necessary): Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, October 30 (Game 6, if necessary): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
Wednesday, October 31 (Game 7, if necessary): Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox, 8:09 p.m. ET
All World Series games will be televised by Fox.
The matchup between Clayton Kershaw facing and Chris Sale has a chance to be a classic. If the Dodgers ace has his good fastball and dynamic curveball working, the Red Sox batting order is going to have a difficult time stringing hits together. The same holds for the Dodgers lineup if Sale is throwing his fastball in the 95-96 miles per hour range and has command of his slider.
However, both star pitchers have issues. Kershaw has been one of the dominant pitchers of his generation in the regular season, but his postseason performances have been mostly ordinary throughout his career. Kershaw takes a 9-8 career postseason record onto the Fenway Park mound, and he has had his biggest issues away from home.
The Dodgers are 5-6 in Kershaw's 11 road postseason starts, and one of those was Game 5 of last year's World Series against the Houston Astros. Kershaw gave up six earned runs in that game, and the Astros prevailed by a 13-12 margin.
Sale suffered from shoulder difficulties throughout the second half of the season. He was on the disabled list twice, and while he performed well against the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, he was off of his game when he started against Houston in Game 1 of the ALCS. Sale has not pitched since October 13, and the Red Sox are hoping he will be near his best form in this game.
The Red Sox are -160 favorites in Game 1 (bet $160 to win $100), while the Dodgers are +135 underdogs, per OddsShark.
The Red Sox led the major leagues in scoring and have strength throughout their lineup. Jackie Bradley Jr., who often bats ninth for Boston, won the ALCS MVP after driving in nine runs with a bases-loaded double, a grand slam and a two-run homer.
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are Boston's best hitters, while Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and the first base combination of Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce are capable of big hits.
The Dodgers are a powerful team that had seven hitters with 21 or more home runs. Max Muncy led the Dodgers with 35 long balls, and Los Angeles also depends on Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig.
World Series Props
Prop bets also come into play during the World Series, and while they don't have the same kind of popularity as those offered in the NFL postseason or before the Super Bowl, it gives fans a chance to show off their knowledge and perhaps win some cash.
Vegas Insider reports key prop bets on the World Series MVP and the number of games needed for each team to win the series.
Kershaw is the slight favorite to win the series MVP award at 7-1, followed by Betts at 15-2 and Sale and Martinez at 8-1. Machado follows at 10-1, while Benintendi is listed at 15-1, along with Turner, Puig and Chris Taylor.
The Red Sox winning the World Series in six games is the most popular choice in potential outcomes at +350, followed by Boston winning in seven at +400. The Dodgers winning in six games is next at +500.
A Red Sox sweep will pay off at +1000 while a victory by the Dodgers in four games would pay off at a whopping +1400.