No team in World Series history has come back from a 3-0 deficit.
If the visiting Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 on Friday night, that’s exactly what L.A. would be facing: a Hollywood ending — just one the home team very much won’t enjoy.
The most important thing of the day: Dodgers star rookie Walker Buehler came within one-third of an inning of being credited with the win in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Brewers. It would have been his first postseason victory; he lost his other NLCS start and surrendered a Ronald Acuna grand slam in L.A.’s only division series defeat in Atlanta, for which he got a no-decision. You can’t fault the 24-year-old for being inconsistent in his first October, but his team needs him to build off his most recent outing — and come through in another high-stakes start.
World Series Game 3: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers
Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.28 ERA in the regular season) vs. Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA), 8:09 p.m. ET, Fox and ESPN Radio
The stakes: See above.
If the Red Sox win: Get out the brooms; it could be a Saturday night sweep. Sweep or no sweep, though, the Red Sox would very likely return to Boston not to play, but for a parade. Going in to Game 3, history is in their favor: Home teams that win the first two games of a best-of-seven World Series have gone on to win the series 81.6 percent of the time (31-7). And, if they win to go up 3-0, well, we know the percentage on that. Good night and good luck, Los Angeles.
If the Dodgers win: It wouldn’t be exactly a whole new ballgame, but a convincing comeback in the first of three games at home could shift the momentum enough to make this a series.
One key stat to know: Two-out production has been a big story so far — for both lineups. All four of Boston’s runs in Game 2 came with two outs, as have nine of their 12 runs in the Fall Classic. The Red Sox have excelled in this area all postseason, scoring 53 percent (36 of 68) of their playoff runs with two down. The Dodgers? They’re just 2-for-20 (.100) with one RBI this series in such situations.
Another key stat to know: Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is attempting to become just the sixth player to lead the majors in regular-season RBIs and postseason RBIs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado is right on his heels, though, with 12 October RBIs. If Martinez manages it, he’d join some pretty elite company:
The matchup that matters most: Buehler & Co. vs. Mookie Betts. It’s a small sample size, but the presumptive American League MVP is starting to look like himself again in the World Series — which is bad news for the National League champs. In just two games, Betts is halfway to his hits total in the ALDS and ALCS combined (when he produced eight hits in nine games). He’s hitting .500 and slugging .625 in the World Series after hitting .205 and slugging .282 in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That, plus winning all of America a taco with his Game 1 stolen base, means L.A. has its hands full facing a lineup that’s plenty potent — even when Betts isn’t at his best.
The story on social media: Everything came up rainbows for the Red Sox in Boston, while L.A. fans are seeking (or in some cases creating) encouraging signs of their own.
The prediction: From the weather to the pitching matchup, everything sets up for the Dodgers to take Game 3 after dropping the first two at Fenway. With much warmer temperatures and their best power hitting lineup in against right-hander Rick Porcello, L.A. should be able to keep its season off the brink with an offensive outburst that will have Dodger Stadium rocking. Dodgers 6, Red Sox 3. — Dan Mullen, ESPN.com
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