Must win? Pretty darn close, if not.
The Dodgers will try to keep Boston from taking complete command of the best-of-seven World Series when it moves to the West Coast for Friday night’s Game 3.
Los Angeles, down 0-2, will put 24-year-old right-hander Walker Buehler, 8-5. 2.62, on the mound in an effort to slow down Boston, which opened the series with 8-4 and 4-2 victories in Game 1 and Game 2, respectively, at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox, will counter with right-hander Rick Porcllo, 17.7, 4.28, ERA will be facing the Dodgers power group – Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederseon – from the left side. Muncy led the team during the regular season with 35 home runs while Bellinger and Pederson both had 25. All three were left out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup in the first two World Series Contests. L.A. only had three hits in Game 2, including none for extra bases, and is batting a mere .175 in the series to Boston’s .297.
Buehler is faced with the tough task of keeping the Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez off the bases. Bett’s went 3-for-4 in Game 2, is 4-for-8 and has driven in four runs in World Series play.
Boston pitchers have kept Dodger bats quiet as Pederson, Yasmani Grandal, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Brian Dozier, Cody Bellinger, Austin Barnes, and Joc Pederson have no hits among them in 26 at bats. Keeping the Dodgers in games are Justin Turner (3-for-9) and David Freese (3-for-5).
The Red Sox, who won a Major League Baseball best 108 games during he season, now have 117, including the postseason.
Joe Kelly has emerged as a top reliever for Boston along with setup pitchers Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes. Red Sox relievers averaged 98.4 mph on their fastballs Wednesday night.
Sixteen straight Dodgers were retired to end the Game 2.
LA will try to flip the switch and get its offense rolling Friday night in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium, starting at 5:09 p.m.
“It’s going to be hard regardless if you’re down,” said Bellinger. “They’re a great team. Right now we can’t do anything but look forward, put these games in the past because if you keep going back to those games its not going to do anything for you.”
Taylor, who went 0-3 in the loss, added: “We’re going where we want to be – in front of our home crowd. We have to win a game. Going in, our focus is to win a game at home.”
It marks the eighth 0-2 World Series deficit in Dodgers’ history. They came back to win it in 1955, 1965 and 1981. “We’re going to shuffle it up for Game 3,” said the club’s manager, Dave Roberts. “It’s not necessarily performance. It’s kind of who the starting pitcher is for those guys. These are the guys who got us here and we’re going to ride them out.”
To get back in it, the LA will need to beat the odds. Only 20 percent of the MLB teams down 2-0 in the series have comeback to win it. Fifty-five teams have trailed 2-0 and 11 have comeback to win the series.
“Historically, it’s not a good thing losing the first two,” said the Dodgers’ David Freese, “but if we can pick up Game 3, things can change.”