Dodgers attempt to come back, but odds are against them

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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
TV: FOX
Pitchers: Rick Porcello vs. Walker Buehler
Breakdown:

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.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.