Dodgers @ Red Sox October 24, 2018: World Series Game 2, Ryu vs. Price


The Dodgers enter Game 2 of the World Series seeking redemption for their absolutely appalling effort last night. This isn’t quite enough to be called a “must-win” but it’s pretty darn close. The Red Sox have not lost four of five games all year, and if the Dodgers lose tonight, that is what they would have to do to pull out a series victory. No pressure.

Red Sox
5:09 PM
1B Freese
Hernandez 2B Kinsler
Ryu (L)
Price (L)

Trying to improve on the Dodger pitching will be Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is coming off one of his worst starts of the year. The Dodgers’ decision to start Ryu has generated some controversy, with the other option being Rich Hill (who may be available out of the bullpen today). This controversy stems from a few things: 1. Ryu’s performance in his last start in Milwaukee, 2. Ryu’s home/road splits, and 3. Hill’s history at Fenway Park.

The most valid concern here appears to be point one, as Milwaukee seemed to know what was coming out of Ryu’s hand (and what was coming was generally very poorly located). This doesn’t necessarily indicate that Ryu was tipping pitches or that the Brewers were stealing signs, as much as Ryu being extremely predictable with his off-speed stuff. Maybe cool it with the first-pitch curves tonight?

Point two is based on extremely small samples this year, so I don’t really see the logic in trusting it. Ryu looked mostly fine in his Game 2 start in Milwaukee. He was chased early, but that was more due to bad sequencing luck than anything else. It wasn’t the sharpest he’s ever been, but if it wasn’t the postseason he probably could have finished six innings.

Point three is complete nonsense. Telling people that Rich Hill should start at Fenway due to one start three years ago, along with 24 relief appearances before he was what he is today is just absurd. Use better logic.

Ultimately, starting Ryu today is fine. It’s hard to argue that Hill is a better pitcher at this point, and making the argument based on Ryu’s last start while ignoring the part where Hill has walked nine guys in ten innings doesn’t really seem fair. Bottom line: Ryu needs to pitch better. He’s capable of it, he’s shown he’s capable of it, and now he has to show it again in the most important start of his career.

Opposing Ryu will be David Price, who is coming off his best postseason start ever. Pitching on short rest due to Chris Sale‘s stomach ailment, Price went six scoreless against the Astros’ lefty-destroying lineup. That’s a bit scary to follow up in such an important game. Price will need the good changeup he showed in Houston to have success tonight.

The Dodgers’ lineup is exactly the same as it was yesterday. Brian Dozier batting leadoff is still weird and probably bad, but it’s hard to argue with the platoon-heavy approach that got them here in the first place. Hopefully Roberts will be a little more expedient with the substitutions than he was last night, should the Dodgers manage to chase Price early.

Speaking of Roberts, this is bad:

Given the circumstances, I might dislike this even more than the Pedro Baez/Alex Wood swap in the seventh. Not anticipating this leading up to the third time through a powerful lineup that was already knocking Kershaw around is pretty unforgivable. I guess since we don’t expect perfection from the players (looking at you, last night’s defense) it isn’t necessarily fair to expect a manager to get things 100% right, but this seems like such a fundamental error. The managerial equivalent of David Freese overrunning that pop fly. Yikes.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but it’s interesting:

It will be quite cold at Fenway tonight, so it does make sense to expect fly balls to drop a little shorter. Perhaps the Dodgers still feel burned by some of the bloops last night.

Please win tonight.

About Daniel Brim

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Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.