The Boston Red Sox had a dry spell of 86 years between World Seriestitles when they finally won in 2004, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals and never trailing in the four-game series.
That 2004 triumph came after a series of heartbreaking losses in the Fall Classic. They had lost a pair of heartbreaking seven-game World Series decisions to the Cardinals in 1946 and 1967, and Boston dropped perhaps the most famous World Series when they fell in seven games to the Cincinnati Reds in 1975.
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That Cincinnati team is considered one of the sport’s all-time great teams, as the team from the Queen City featured catcher Johnny Bench, second baseman Joe Morgan, hit king Pete Rose, RBI boss Tony Perez and superb outfielder Ken Griffey Sr.
That series featured Carlton Fisk’s famous game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 and it took a ninth-inning bloop single in the seventh game by Morgan to give the Reds the winning margin.
While the Sox could hold their heads up high after putting up a battle against Sparky Anderson’s team, the 1986 World Series loss to the New York Mets was the most painful of all. Boston held a 3-2 series lead and were two runs ahead in the bottom of the 10th with two outs and nobody on base, but the Mets came back to win that game and take the seventh game in come-from-behind fashion.
But since that brutal defeat, the World Series has been their personal playground. In addition to their ’04 sweep of the Cardinals, they swept the Colorado Rockies in 2007 and beat St. Louis again in six games in 2013.
With a 2-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers, they are 14-2 in World Series games since 2004.
Boston is going to try to stretch that record to 15-2 on Friday when they confront the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by Fox.
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The Red Sox are 5-0 on the road in this postseason, having won two games at Yankee Stadium and three at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Playing on the road has agreed with Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and ALCS MVP Jackie Bradley Jr. Martinez has a sore ankle from an awkward turn around second base in Game 1, and his status has not been determined.
The Dodgers are hoping the change in venue can help them turn things around in the series. While the Red Sox have excelled at getting a clutch two-out hit, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts has seen his team struggle in that area.
The Red Sox will send right-hander Rick Porcello to the mound to try to keep the Dodgers bats quiet, but he may have a more difficult time than southpaw David Price did in Game 2. The Dodgers are going to use their left-handed bats to try to get their power game going.
The Dodgers had seven batters with 21 or more home runs in the regular season, and they were led by Max Muncy’s 35. Muncy will be in the lineupagainst Porcello, and so will Cody Bellinger, who homered in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and won the MVP award.
The Dodgers will counter with hard-throwing Walker Buehler, who was on the mound in Milwaukee in Game 7 and was quite effective. While holding down the Brewers was a noteworthy achievement, the Red Sox are the highest scoring team in baseball.
The Sox are prohibitive -650 favorites to win the World Series at this point, while the Dodgers are +450 underdogs, per OddsShark. Those backing the Red Sox have to risk $650 to win $100, while Dodgers backers wager $100 to earn a profit of $450.
However, the Dodgers are -160 favorites in Game 3, while the Red Sox are +135 underdogs.