The Boston Red Sox prevailed by a score of 4-2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. As a result, they now lead the best-of-seven series by a count of 2-0. In Game 2, Boston plated the first run, but the Dodgers claimed their first lead of the series on a Yasiel Puig RBI single in the fourth. The Red Sox, though, pulled back ahead for good with J.D. Martinez's two-out, bases-loaded single in the fifth. Starter David Price put together a solid outing, and the Boston bullpen worked three scoreless innings to secure the win.
Now here's what you need to know about Game 2.
The Red Sox kept doing damage with two outs
That made it 1-0 Boston in the bottom of the second, and it continued a trend of clutch hitting by the Red Sox.
The Red Sox in this postseason: 33 of 65 runs in this postseason have been scored with two outs.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 25, 2018
That, as you can probably guess, is as inordinately high percentage of runs scored in such situations -- 50.8 percent as of the Kinsler ribbie above. This is also a short-run aberration for them. During the regular season, the Boston offense put up a lower OPS with two outs than they did with one or no outs. As well, they scored just 37.6 percent of their total runs with two outs. On another level, though, runs are runs, and the Sox have gotten them when they needed them in the 2018 postseason.
Price got the job done
Price got into a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth, and at that point it looked like he might get knocked out. He did allow two runs in the frame, but he settled down nicely and wound up with a solid line for the night.
His changeup wasn't quite as sharp as it was in his final ALCS start, but he mixed up his toolkit of fastballs enough to keep hitters off balance and log a quality start and then some. Speaking of this and that last start against Houston:
Red Sox to throw 6.0+ innings and allow 2 or fewer runs and 3 or fewer hits in consecutive postseason appearances:— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) October 25, 2018
David Price (2018)
Derek Lowe (2004)
Pedro Martinez (1999)
Jim Lonborg (1967)
That's one way to flip the postseason narrative.
Scoring first continues to work for Boston
As noted, the Sox scored first in this one, and even though they squandered that initial lead they wound up winning. That means they're now 8-0 this postseason when scoring first. During the regular season, they were 82-15 when scoring first. Scoring first -- It remains a sound strategy.
Mookie is having a series
In Game 1, Boston fly-catcher Mookie Betts singled and walked in five trips to the plate, stole a base, and scored a pair of runs. In Game 2, he went 3 for 4 with a double and another run scored. Perhaps he's the AL MVP and the World Series MVP for 2018? Developing.
Madson isn't getting it done
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth and the Dodgers clinging to a one-run lead, L.A. manager Dave Roberts lifted starter Hyun-jin Ryu in favor of reliever Ryan Madson. Madson walked Steve Pearce on five pitches to tie the game, and then he gave up this hit to J.D. Martinez (with two outs, naturally).
Martinez drove in a pair of runs and made it 4-2. Madson struck out Bogaerts to end the inning, but by that point harm had been done. Framed another way, when Madson entered the game the Red Sox, per basic win expectancy, had a 45.9 percent chance of winning Game 2. By the time he left (Julio Urias replaced him to start the bottom of the sixth), Boston had a 76.7 percent chance of winning Game 2. In a span of 11 pitches, Madson worsened the Dodgers' Game 2 outlook by more than 30 percent. That brings us to this:
Ryan Madson has inherited five runners in the first two games of the World Series. All of them have scored.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) October 25, 2018
Not optimal! Of course, because all of those runs were charged to the pitcher whom Madson replaced, he's presently toting around a 2018 World Series ERA of 0.00.
The Dodgers didn't really do what they said they would do with their outfielders
So this talk was making the rounds prior to Game 2 on Wednesday night:
The Red Sox noticed that the Dodgers positioned their outfielders deeper than other teams usually do in Fenway -- and the Dodgers' staff apparently agreed, because they discussed that today and will pull in their outfielders, especially in center field.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 24, 2018
OK, makes sense. But then there's this on that clutch Martinez single you saw above:
Puig was 319 feet deep on Martinez's hit.— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 25, 2018
Average RF vs JD Martinez: 302 feet.
Average RF in Fenway vs RHB: 294 feet.
What happened to LA insisting they'd stop playing so deep tonight?
What happened indeed. To be sure, playing deep against Martinez, one of the best power hitters in the game today, is always a defensible tack, but this particular situation is one in which a single also does a lot of damage. As well, Enrique Hernandez was playing deeper than he was in Game 1 for Mookie Betts' first-inning at-bat on Wednesday night.
The Dodgers are in trouble
So the Dodgers are now down 2-0 in this best-of-seven series and headed back to Los Angeles for Games 3, 4, and if necessary 5. Over at WhoWins.com, they tell us that teams in the Dodgers' position -- i.e., down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series and having played Game 1 on the road -- go on to win the series in question just 17.9 percent of the time. In essence, Game 3 is a must-win for L.A. That's because only one team in MLB history -- the 2004 Red Sox, of course -- have come back from down 3-0 to win a best-of-seven series.
Thursday is a travel day, and these teams are back at it on Friday at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. ET, and can be streamed on fuboTV (Try for free). Given that Nathan Eovaldi pitched out of the bullpen in the first two games of this series, it seems likely that Rick Porcello will start Game 3 for the visiting Red Sox. Across the way, rookie right-hander Walker Buehler is the probable starter for the Dodgers.
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