No one can blame the World Series television rights holder for dreaming of a big-market, coast-to-coast Fall Classic. So, what could possibly be better for Fox than the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox emerging from their respective League Championship Series to make that happen?
It certainly would be an attractive matchup, with the Red Sox winning 108 games and rolling over the New York Yankees in the ALDS while the Dodgers barely broke a sweat against the Atlanta Braves.
Trouble is, there’s a pretty good chance that neither one of them get out of this round.
The Red Sox were the best team on the planet over the course of the regular season, but the Astros are playing better right now. They just swept a pretty good Cleveland Indians team by a combined score of 21-6.
Though the Sox took care of business in their four-game ALDS series against the Yankees and have a starting rotation full of former Cy Young Award winners, their fortunes might depend on whether David Price can break out of a long and mystifying postseason slump.
For all of his regular season success, he has made 10 starts in the postseason and has won none of them. He has a 2-9 record in the playoffs and World Series, but both wins were in relief.
Price has started a postseason game in eight of the past 10 seasons, but his team has advanced in only one of the playoff series he has been involved in since he pitched so well as a rookie reliever in the 2008 ALCS and World Series for the Tampa Bay Rays. That cannot be entirely a coincidence.
Give Red Sox manager Alex Cora credit for standing by his man. He assigned Price to pitch Game 2 of the ALCS, which would also put him in position for what could be very key Game 6. The Astros will close out the series in that game.
In the NLCS, Dodgers’ Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw hasn’t exactly been unbeatable in the postseason, either. He’s just 8-7 in the playoffs despite being one of the NL’s most dominant regular-season pitchers over the past decade.
He looked like his best self in an eight-inning, two-hit performance against the Braves in the Division Series, but will face a Milwaukee Brewers team that hasn’t lost a game in nearly three weeks. The Brew Crew was 20-7 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season and outscored the Rockies 13-2 in a three-game NLDS sweep.
The Dodgers also finished strong and had to beat the Colorado Rockies in a one-game playoff to win the division, but the Brewers are playing very loose and Christian Yelich will show why he’s going to be named the NL’s Most Valuable Player. I’m taking the Brewers in a very exciting seven-game series.
Baltimore fans might be looking forward to watching Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop playing in different uniforms in the series, but they’re not going to see a lot of Schoop. He never got his footing after being traded to the Brewers and has been relegated largely to bench duty, making just a pair of pinch-hit appearances during the Division Series.
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.
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