Let's run it back.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are two of the best teams in baseball, and they will once again reunite at Fenway Park this weekend for a World Series rematch.
Fresh off facing each other in the MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Managers Dave Roberts and Alex Cora will once again be in opposite dugouts making chess moves against one another.
Both teams got off to different starts in 2019 after meeting in the Fall Classic last October.
The Dodgers are off to a blistering first half. Holders of the best record in baseball, they are 60-32 and in first place in the N.L. West Division.
The Red Sox struggled to start the season, perhaps a World Series hangover after defeating the Dodgers in five games to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy. However, their struggles could aslo be due to a broken bullpen that saw many of its mainstays leave in free agency during the offseason.
"We're a lot better than this," Cora told reporters during All-Star Game Media Day. "We are. We need to get better. We need to get better. There's a few things here that, although we finished strong and all that, they know it. They know it asa group. We have to be ready for Friday, and then we play 34 in 34 days after that, and we start with the Dodgers right away. It should be fun over the weekend. But I think we can be a lot better than this."
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After a tough April and May, the Red Sox are surging again, winners of five of their last six, they are currently 49-41, and in third place in the N.L. East.
The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball at bashing right-handed pitching, but they are expected to face three consecutive lefties in Boston.
Friday's pitching matchup is RHP Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.76 ERA) against Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-4, 4.65 ERA).
Saturday's matchup is expected to be Dodgers' RHP Ross Stripling (3-3, 3.79 ERA) against Chris Sale (3-8, 4.04 ERA).
Sunday's finale is All-Star Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.73 ERA) against LHP David Price (7-2, 3.24 ERA).
"It's crunch time for us right now," Price told reporters before the break in Boston. "Enjoy these next four days and come back and ready to play against whoever we're playing against. The Dodgers. All Right."
The World Series rematch marks the return of reliever Joe Kelly back to Boston since pitching in Game 2 at Fenway Park during the Fall Classic. The Southern California native signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers in the offseason.
The Dodgers are expected to get a boost back in their lineup as shortstop Corey Seager and center fielder A.J. Pollock have both been activated off the injured list and are in the starting lineup for the opener on Friday.
Here are the scheduled first pitch times for the weekend series:
Friday, July 12, 4:10PM PT
Saturday, July 13 4:15PM PT
Sunday, July 15 4:08PM PT