Lo Duca: Can Kershaw, Dodgers Slow Down Red Sox in Game 1?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Mookie Betts, Manny Machado
Betting odds: Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox
- Dodgers moneyline: +126 (Clayton Kershaw)
- Red Sox moneyline: -140 (Chris Sale)
- Over/Under: 7.5 (-103/-117)
- First pitch: 8:09 p.m. ET
- Channel: FOX
>> All odds as of 10 p.m. ET on Monday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
The Red Sox and Dodgers open up the World Series on Tuesday night at Fenway Park and the pitching matchup is an absolute slobberknocker. Both teams will send out a generational ace to the mound, as Chris Sale hosts fellow southpaw Clayton Kershaw.
Sale comes into this game as a bit of a question mark. The seven-time All-Star has not looked himself in his starts this postseason:
- Oct. 5, Game 1, ALDS vs. Yankees: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K’s
- Oct. 13, Game 1, ALCS vs. Astros: 4 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 4 BB, 5 K’s
Even though he was only touched up for two runs in each of his starts, (Sale did put together a 1-2-3 eighth inning in Game 4 of the ALDS against New York) he’s not been the dominant force in either outing.
Sale’s biggest problem has been his efficiency. The 29-year-old threw 93 pitches in his first start and 86 in his second. He was just in the hospital with a stomach illness and has not really been himself since returning from a couple of stints on the disabled list in July and August.
In fact, Sale hasn’t completed six full innings since July 27, which is also the last time he threw 100 pitches in a game.
If Sale can’t give the Sox six or seven innings, the bullpen will be asked to do some heavy lifting, especially if Kershaw builds off his superb performance in Game 5 against Milwaukee and keeps Boston at bay.
That is no easy task, of course, but Boston’s season-long numbers against left-handers give me confidence that Kershaw can slow them down enough to turn this game into a coin flip, decided by which bullpen blinks first.
Boston’s bullpen did the job against the Astros, but it’s hard still hard to be confident in this group, especially with Craig Kimbrel’s Jekyll-and-Hyde postseason so far.
Alex Cora has had to get creative to get the important outs late in the game — every Red Sox pitcher has made a relief appearance in the postseason — and it has worked so far.
But how long is that sustainable?
Dave Roberts’ bullpen has been fantastic this postseason. Los Angeles’ relievers have pitched to a 1.30 ERA in 41.2 innings and that’s after a terrific September that saw them post the second-best ERA in the MLB for the month.
With Sale being a little bit of a question mark I just can’t pass up the value on Kershaw and this bullpen at the current price.
The Bet: Dodgers +128