The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox may be offering a World Series preview this weekend. If the Dodgers and Red Sox’s opener on Aug. 23 was any indication, there won’t be many hits in such a Fall Classic. Although Los Angeles and Boston’s top aces weren’t pitching in this game, offense was still very scarce -- with the exception of a Hanley Ramirez home run that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 win.
John Lackey’s only real mistake came in the fourth inning when he gave up a two-run bomb to Ramirez. He only allowed two other hits in an eight inning complete game -- both of which were to former Red Sox Carl Crawford.
Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez played their first game against Boston since being traded to Los Angeles in last summer’s historically expensive deal. Yet the star of the night was Dodgers’ pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who gave up only two hits in eight innings and easily made Ramirez’s home run stand.
The Dodgers and Red Sox combined for only five hits all night, even though neither Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy nor Jon Lester were on the mound. If anything, the game showed the depth and the potential of both teams rotation, which is one reason why this might be a World Series preview.
However, the Red Sox will find it harder to reach the World Series if they can’t win the AL East. With their loss to the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays’ victory over the New York Yankees, the Red Sox dropped to second place in the division by percentage points. At this point, Boston still has to be more concerned with getting to October than with what it will do there.
Los Angeles no longer has that problem, given that it is now over 10 games ahead in the NL West, after being in last place over two months ago. The Dodgers are now primarily fighting for home field advantage in the postseason, as they closed to within one game of the Atlanta Braves. Given that they’ve had only nine losses in the last two months, it may not matter where they play -- or who they face.