Two of America's biggest and most well-known cities. Two of the country's most popular baseball teams.
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have rich, century-long histories, tons of talent, and passionate fans. But the roads these teams took to this World Series couldn't have been much different ...
Call them the BOSS-ton Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have looked unstoppable all year long. They were the first team to qualify for the playoffs, thanks to them winning an amazing 108 games this regular season. That's the most games won by any team in 17 years.
In the playoffs, they just kept on rolling. Even after facing two powerhouse teams—the 100-game-winning New York Yankees and the defending champion Houston Astros—they lost just one game to each of them while winning seven.
How have they done it? The Red Sox outfield—Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts—are the best in the game. If a ball to the outfield can be caught, one of these three will do it. And solid starting pitching from Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello, and David Price means that it's always a challenge for opponents to score.
But above all? It's their hitting. Some teams have a few super sluggers that they need to have in a groove to win. But the Red Sox simply wear down their opponents with solid hitter after solid hitter. They don't need to hit a bunch of homers—they just chip away at you.
Are they the LOSS Angeles Dodgers?
Last year, L.A. narrowly lost the World Series to Houston in a classic seven-game series. But back in the middle of May, it didn't look like Los Angeles would get back here. They started the season with only 16 wins to 26 losses. And Corey Seager, their young star shortstop? By April, he was out for the season due to surgery. Time to throw in the towel, right?
From June onward, the Dodgers buckled down to be one of the league's best, ending the season with 92 wins and 71 losses. And even then, nothing came easy. They had to play an extra game at the end of the season to break a tie in their division with the Colorado Rockies. Then they had to play a nail-biting seven-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers just to reach the World Series.
And yet through it all, L.A. hasn't panicked. From ace pitchers like Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill to experienced hitters Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Yasiel Puig, the whole lineup has looked calm and determined in the face of heavy odds. It's almost as though they've been here before ...
And there you have it. One team basically coasted here. The other had to struggle over every hurdle. It feels like Boston is the easy pick here to win it all. After all, they already faced the number two and three teams this season and brushed them aside like it was nothing. Why would this stumbling Dodgers team be a challenge?
And yet, this time last year, it was the Dodgers who looked unstoppable. Like this season's Red Sox, they had the best record in baseball and steamrolled into the World Series. Then they ran into Houston. Now that they're the underdogs, is it their turn to flip the script?
We can't wait for the final chapter to begin tonight!