Dodgers: The Dodgers are Left With One Clear Advantage

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MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 20: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 20: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers will face a Boston Red Sox lineup that is one of the best in baseball.  For the Dodgers they are left with one clear advantage, lefties.

The Red Sox will give the Dodgers’ pitching staff their toughest test of the season.  As we saw last World Series with power bats of the Houston Astros, the Red Sox are capable of hitting home runs from 1-9 in their lineup.  The one advantage the Dodgers do have is their three left-handed starters that are going to pitch in the World Series.

During the regular season, the Red Sox were the best team against right-handed pitching.  The Red Sox ranked number one in baseball with a .275 batting average.  They had the second most home runs against right-handed pitching finishing behind the Yankees for the most in baseball.  Against left-handed pitching however, the results were more ordinary than extraordinary.

Against southpaws the Red Sox ranked 11th in baseball with a .250 average that tied them with the Twins and Cardinals.  The Red Sox also ranked just 22nd in home runs against lefties with 37 home runs.  That is quite the drop off in their splits against right and left-handed pitching.  That plays in favor of the Dodgers three left-handed starters Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Rich Hill.

While the regular season is the better sample size, the playoffs have been a little different in that the Red Sox have hit lefties for a better average.  In the postseason, the Sox are hitting .284 against lefties and .244 against right-handers.  Their power numbers are still better against right-handed pitching as they’ve bopped seven home runs compared to just two home runs against left-handed pitchers.

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The change in power numbers begins with two of the most feared hitters in baseball, Mookie Betts and JD Martinez.  This season Betts hit for a higher average against lefties but he hit just nine of his 32 home runs against southpaw pitchers.  Martinez mashed 43 home runs this season but just eight came against left-handed pitching.  While Betts and Martinez still hit for a great average against lefties, their home run difference is eye popping.

The Red Sox other duo of top tier outfielders also see performance hits when they face off against left-handed pitching.  Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr hit .305 and .251 against right-handed pitching this season.  Against lefties those averages dip to .247 and .185.  The Dodgers starting pitching is arguably better than the Red Sox and when you factor in Boston’s results against left-handed pitchers, the Dodger rotation becomes that much stronger.

The Red Sox beat lefties such as CC Sabathia, JA Happ, and Dallas Keuchel to get to the World Series but none of those starters are close to the caliber of Clayton Kershaw.  Ryu and Hill are also different than most lefties since Hill has one of the best curves in baseball and Ryu throws a lot of changeups to lefties.

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The World Series will kick off tonight with a battle of two Cy Young winning left-handers in Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale.  Anything can happen in the small sample size of a seven game series but if results hold true the Dodgers have a clear advantage with their lefty heavy rotation.

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