LOS ANGELES (AP) — Palm trees! Shorts! Sunglasses!
While the World Series isn’t quite a trip to the beach, the Boston Red Sox anticipate staying hot in balmy California, and the Los Angeles Dodgers hope a warm welcome will help them reverse a 2-0 deficit.
“I think the climate is a little different,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts deadpanned Thursday. “There’s a familiarity, obviously, for us. There’s been a lot of talk of outfield depth; we’re very familiar with the ballpark.”
Walker Buehler, a 24-year-old rookie right-hander, will be the center of attention when he starts Game 3 for the Dodgers in Friday’s late-afternoon twilight against Rick Porcello. Not so Wednesday, when Buehler flew home from Boston ahead of his team and went unrecognized.
He missed a 4-2 win by the Red Sox at Fenway Park that opened a 2-0 Series lead. The Dodgers once again looked off-kilter in the cold of autumn in New England.
“We actually took off like 30 minutes before the first pitch and landed about 30 minutes before the last out,” he said.
Los Angeles traveled Thursday, deciding to get a full night’s sleep in a Boston hotel rather than flop on flat-bed airplane seats while cruising cross-country through the night. Boston’s players spent the night at home, then jetted west.
Porcello went straight from the charter to Dodger Stadium, GQ ready in a dark suit, dress shirt and violet necktie.
“I actually have it buttoned up because I have a stain on my white shirt,” he said. “I’ve been walking around Dodger Stadium with this thing snug, so nobody could see that. It’s not as good as it looks right now. I’m hiding everything.”
Boston burst ahead in the Series at its 106-year-old ballpark, defined by the 37-foot Green Monster in left, the triangle in center, the Pesky Pole in right and the Citgo sign beyond. The Red Sox thrived in the chilly, damp nights. The Dodgers bundled up and tried to endure.
Now Los Angeles is back in its own elements. The yellow, light orange, turquoise and sky blue seats looked like 55,000 or so dominoes lined up, the San Gabriel Mountains shimmering beyond the hexagonal video boards and the parking lots. While there were no formal workouts by either team, a few Dodgers played catch in left field.
“You get on the road and things can be a little quirky,” Buehler said. “I would think that most people would be better at their home ballpark and to have their home crowd behind them. And we expect them to be out and loud tomorrow.”
With the shift to the National League, the designated hitter vanishes. Boston manager Alex Cora must decide whether to insert J.D. Martinez into an outfield corner to keep the major league RBI leader in the batting order. He ruled out shifting Mookie Betts from right field to second base to create room.
Martinez is playing with a sore right ankle after slipping while rounding second base in the opener.
“Actually he felt better today walking around,” Cora said. “He got treatment on the way here. He’s going to get treatment tomorrow. He’ll get treatment tomorrow morning. In the afternoon we’ll make a decision.”
After starting the first all right-handed-hitting lineup (with no switch-hitters) in Series history against lefties Chris Sale and David Price, Roberts will revert to a more orthodox assortment against Porcello. Left-handed-hitting Joc Pederson will lead off instead of Brian Dozier, and fellow lefties Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy could join him along with switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal. The benched quartet included the Dodgers’ top four home-run hitters.
Roberts was a member of the 2004 Red Sox, who became the first team to overcome a 3-0 postseason deficit when they beat the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series. Boston then swept St. Louis for its first title since 1918. Roberts remembered the message of then-Red Sox manager Terry Francona: win tonight.
“You can’t win four games in one night,” Roberts said. “So just the focus-on-one-game-at-a-time mentality. I know it’s easier said than done.”