Los Angeles Dodgers: The World Series x-factors to get a win

The Los Angeles Dodgers did not want to wait another 29 years to make the World Series as they attempt to win it all for the first time in 30 years.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the World Series and they’ll be facing the Boston Red Sox. Unlike last year, the Dodgers will be significant underdogs as the Red Sox won 108 games, the best in baseball and in franchise history.

If the Dodgers do have an advantage it’s that they are seeking redemption after a heartbreaking loss in game seven of the 2017 World Series in their home park.

Perhaps having experienced the World Series last year, the Dodgers will be focused on the task at hand, they won’t have time to think about the juggernaut Red Sox.

Here are some x-factors for the Dodgers going into the series.

The Outfield

One key for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their NLCS win against the Milwaukee Brewers was spectacular defensive plays by the outfield. Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor made all sorts of key diving catches against the Brewers to help the pitchers.

Matt Kemp is the only Dodger outfielder with experience at Fenway; Chris Taylor has also played three games in Boston but as an infielder with the Seattle Mariners. With all the quirks to the old ballpark, Dodger outfielders must be careful in their approach to avoid giving up runs.

The DH

Unlike in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be able to use their deep bench when playing in Fenway Park, thanks to the designated hitter. The Red Sox are expected to start Chris Sale and David Price, two left-handers, in Game 1 and 2.

The Dodgers have plenty of right-handed bats, including former World Series MVP, David Freese — my pick to start both games. By starting Freese that frees manager Dave Roberts to keep left-hander Max Muncy‘s big bat in the lineup without using up Freese in later innings.

One caveat though is they have to get production from this spot or it doesn’t matter who starts.

Clayton Kershaw or Mr. Hyde

This may be the final ride for the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw; he can opt out of his contract at the end of the year and become a free agent or he can remain a Dodger but give up a chance for more money.

I don’t know what will happen, but if this is the last we see of Kershaw in a Dodgers uniform hopefully we get the Kershaw we saw in Game 5 of the last series, not the one from Game 1.

Game 1 was terrible for Kershaw as he had his shortest start ever in the playoffs, going just three innings in a loss. In Game 5, Kershaw went seven innings while striking out nine to give the Dodgers the series lead.

If Game 5 Kershaw shows up it may be his enduring legacy as a Dodger great because that kind of effectiveness will end the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 30-year World Series win drought.