If someone were making a list of the marquee franchises in Major League Baseball in terms of history, success and worldwide popularity, the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers would have to be right at the top and perhaps only behind the New York Yankees.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Yet, the Red Sox and Dodgers franchises have met in the World Series just once: In 1916, the Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins in five games. That Boston team had a pretty good player by the name of Babe Ruth. He was primarily a pitcher then.
Just 102 years later, the Red Sox and Dodgers will meet again in the Fall Classic starting Tuesday with Boston a -165 favorite to win its ninth championship and first since 2013. Los Angeles (+135) came up one game short of a title last year against the Houston Astros and hasn’t won it all since 1988 – the Kirk Gibson World Series against the Oakland A’s.
The Red Sox have home-field advantage thanks to their MLB-best 108 wins during the regular season. The Dodgers are well aware having that extra game at home doesn’t matter as they led the majors with 104 victories last year but dropped Game 7 of the World Series against Houston at Dodger Stadium, 5-1.
This could be the best Boston team ever after winning those franchise-record 108 games and then dispatching the 100-win Yankees in the ALDS and the 103-win defending champion Astros in five games in the ALCS. The Red Sox won all five road games in those series – they had never previously won five straight playoff road games. During the regular season, the Red Sox led the majors in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, doubles and extra-base hits.
Boston’s manager is Alex Cora, who is looking to become the fifth first-year manager to win the World Series with the Red Sox. The last was Terry Francona in 2004. The Sox were down 3-0 in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees and likely are swept without a crucial stolen base in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 by pinch-runner Dave Roberts. That led to a comeback victory in the game and the first-ever series win in MLB history when down 3-0.
Roberts is manager of the Dodgers. He was acquired by Boston at the 2004 trade deadline from … the Dodgers. Los Angeles and Boston last played in the 2016 regular season, with the Dodgers taking two of three at home.