Dodgers attempt to come back, but odds are against them


The Red Sox and the Dodgers resume World Series play in Los Angeles tonight, with Boston up 2-0. In light of that, how are the Dodgers’ chances?

Not great!

  • A team has taken a 2-0 lead in the World Series 54 times. Those teams have gone on to win the Series 43 of those times, including in each of the last 10 World Series in which that has occurred;
  • 31 of the past 38 teams that have won the first two games at home, as Boston has, have gone on to win it;
  • Overall, 21 of the 54 teams that went up 2-0 have gone on to sweep the Series. 

The last time a team came back from an 0-2 hole and won the World Series was 1996, when the Yankees did it to the Braves. The last time a team came back from the Dodgers’ specific situation —  down 0-2 heading home — was in 1981, when the Dodgers did it to the Yankees.

If it makes L.A. fans feel any better, the Dodgers themselves have come back from an 0-2 hole three times: 1981, 1965 and 1955. Maybe, for good luck, they should get Fernando Valenzuela, Sandy Koufax and, I dunno, Carl Erskine to throw out the first pitches tonight.

World Series Game 3

Red Sox vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Rick Porcello vs. Walker Buehler

The Red Sox finally throw a righty at the Dodgers, which means that the Dodgers will finally start their top home run-hitters, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger. Overall, L.A. batters have hit righty pitching better this year so between that, some home cooking and some warmer weather, maybe the Dodgers bats will break out of their funk.

Porcello has made four appearances in this postseason, two of which were starts. One was pretty good: he gave up one run in five innings to the Yankees in the ALDS. One was not so great, as he allowed four runs over four innings to the Astros in the ALCS. Boston won both of those games, however, because they’re pretty good at beating the tar out of opposing pitchers and their bullpen, despite worries about it heading into the postseason, has been great. The Dodgers know that pretty darn well, having gone hitless against Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldiand Craig Kimbrell in Game 2 and managing just one run on three hits over five innings against the Boston bullpen in Game 1.

Buehler allowed a combined nine runs in his first two playoff outings but pitched much better against the Brewers in Game 7 of the NLDS. They’ll certainly need that Buehler tonight. And then some, actually, as he left Game 7 in the fifth inning and so far this series the Dodgers have not done all that well going to the bullpen in the fifth inning. Perhaps not giving the ball to Ryan Madson tonight would be a good plan? Yes, that would be a good plan.

The only question about the Red Sox lineup tonight is whether or not J.D. Martinez will play and where. It’d be a major enough move as it is to put Martinez in right field, moving Mookie Betts . . . someplace. It’d be an even more major move now that Martinez’s ankle is a bit questionable following a base running mishap in Game 1. Could he DH? Sure. With no DH in the NL park, can he run around and chase down fly balls? Eh, I wouldn’t chance it.

We’ll see what Alex Cora does when the lineups come out this afternoon.

Players’ offer reportedly not going over well with owners

Rob Manfred
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Last night it was reported that the Players Union had made an offer to Major League Baseball and the owners regarding plans for a 2020 season. The offer, which was in part counteroffer to the owners’ previous offer, part new proposals of its own, involved a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, a playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season over health concerns, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

How’s that sitting with the owners? Not great, folks.

Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported this morning that the owners want a shorter schedule than the 114 games the players proposed, likely because they want to increase the odds that they can get to a postseason before a potential second wave COVID-19 outbreak occurs, as many experts expect it will. The owners also, not surprisingly, still want salary reductions, which the players have not addressed due to their contention that the matter was settled. Drellich says that the players’ offer “hasn’t been rejected yet but that’s inevitable.”

Bob Klapisch of the Newark Star-Ledger is more blunt:

The sides are, as Drellich notes, still talking. It would appear, however, that the owners tack of negotiating through the media is continuing on as well.