The Dodgers are going to Boston this week to begin the 2018 World Series and the starting rotation order will be important. Fenway Park is new to most of the Dodgers and is not anything like Dodger Stadium. The dimensions are way different, the temperature will probably be in the 40’s and the fences will offer some crazy bounces.
Big fly balls to left field or right down the right field line will result in home runs. It gets deep and weird in left center to right field. It is also a ballpark with a lot of history and some might be in awe of it. A World Series opening game in Boston will bring a lot of tension to both teams.
The starting pitchers for the road games in Boston will be key. I will describe the pitching order that I’d like to see the Dodgers use in the 2018 World Series.
1. Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw is still the ace of the staff and should be fine in Fenway for game 1. He can handle the weather and will probably match up against Chris Sale. If the throws game 1 in Boston then he pitches game 5 in Los Angeles. There really isn’t much to debate about who starts game 1.
2. Rich Hill
Why would we take the number 4 pitcher and start him 2nd? Well, he’s pitched in Fenway 25 times so he would have a good feel for pitching in that stadium. He was also born and raised in the area. The weather would not be a surprise. The number 2 slot in the rotation would throw game 2 and 6, which would both be at Fenway. One Dodger starter will need to pitch twice in Fenway and nobody is more qualified than Rich Hill. He already has World Series experience and the moment will not be too big for him. The only downside would be that Rich Hill wouldn’t be on the base paths due to the DH in the American League park.
3. Walker Buehler
The third spot would be Friday in Dodger Stadium. First off, it falls perfectly with Buehler’s rest pattern. Most importantly, it gives Buehler the opportunity for him to have his first World Series start at home. The way the rotation would line up, Buehler would start game 7 but would also have Kershaw being available to help him. His game 7 start in the NLCS proves he can handle the spotlight.
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu
Ryu lining up for game 4 would mean he’d start at Dodger Stadium where he has his most success. He’d only get one start but his performance on the road for both games in the NLDS gave me pause. I want him starting at Dodger Stadium. It is his comfort zone and I believe he will keep the Red Sox off balance. In his NLCS game 6 start his pitches were predictable; lots of first pitch GMO (Get Me Over) curve balls that the Brewers were ready for. He will be a great option to start one of the games at Dodger Stadium.
Here’s how the rotation would look like:
It would not be surprising to see a bullpen type game for game 6 or 7. The Dodgers have a deep bullpen and by having the starter go 2-3 innings that might be enough.
The key to this is the Dodgers willing to move Rich Hill to the number 2 spot in the rotation. It also makes sure that both Ryu and Buehler get to pitch a game at Dodger Stadium. I’m expecting the Red Sox to have a rotation that includes Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Procello, in no particular order. I think the Dodgers match up pretty well with the Red Sox in the rotation but it will be key to get players in the best position to succeed.
30 years is long enough!
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”none” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/a-dodgers-nlcs-evening-with-michael-duarte-episode-26-blue-heaven-podcast-cp1085/2018/10/19/”]Dodgers NLCS: An Evening with Michael Duarte | Episode 26 | Blue Heaven Podcast[/button]