The World Series begins Tuesday night with lefthanders Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw set to square off in Game 1 at Fenway Park. Here are nine things to know about the Dodgers.
■ Manny Machado’s contentious history with the Red Sox
On April 21, 2017, when Machado was still with the Baltimore Orioles, he slid aggressively into second base and spiked Dustin Pedroia’s knee, injuring the Red Sox’ second baseman in the process. Later in that same series at Camden Yards, reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Machado.
The bad blood continued on May 2 when Chris Sale threw a fastball behind Machado’s legs.
After the game, Machado went on a profanity-laced tirade in which he said he lost respect for everyone with the Red Sox.
■ Rich Hill’s career was rejuvenated with the Red Sox
The 38-year-old lefty from Milton grew up going to Red Sox games at Fenway Park, and had his career rejuvenated by the organization in 2015. After he was released by the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, the Red Sox came calling in August and offered him a minor league deal. After flourishing with Triple-A Pawtucket, he was called up to Boston and made his first major league start in six years in September of that season. He then played for the Athletics before being traded to the Dodgers in 2016.
■ Manager Dave Roberts will never have to pick up a check in Boston
Perhaps you’ve heard this story. The Red Sox acquired Roberts at the trade deadline in 2004 to add some speed on the base paths. The move paid in Game 4 of the ALCS. With the Red Sox trailing in the series, 3-0, and down one in the ninth inning, Robert was brought in to pinch run after Kevin Millar drew a walk against Mariano Rivera, and promptly stole second base. He would go on to score the tying run on Bill Mueller’s single, and the Red Sox would win the game in 12 innings, their first of eight in a row that culminated in the Red Sox’ first World Series in 86 years.
■ Clayton Kershaw appears to have overcome his struggles in the postseason
One of baseball’s best pitchers over the last decade or so, the Dodgers lefty was 1-5 in eight postseason starts through 2014, bottoming out in the 2014 playoffs when he went 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA. Since then, he is 8-3, including 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA this postseason.
■ Magic Johnson is one of the owners
The NBA Hall of Famer and longtime rival of the Boston Celtics was part of the group that purchased the Dodgers out of bankruptcy for $2.15 billion in 2012. On Aug. 25 of that year, the Red Sox were able to unload more than a quarter of a billion dollars in salary when they traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers.
“We did this for the fans. We want to win now,’’ said Johnson.
■ Yasiel Puig could have been traded to the Red Sox
Last offseason, the Dodgers floated the possibility to the Red Sox of a swap that would send Jackie Bradley Jr. to Los Angeles while bringing Puig to Boston. The Red Sox, according to the sources, quickly declined, so there were never any substantive conversations to advance a possible exchange.
Puig has been involved in a variety of incidents, from on-field mistakes to confrontations with other players.
■ Third baseman Justin Turner considered signing with the Red Sox
After he was released by the Mets following the 2013 season, Turner was leaning toward signing with the Red Sox when the Dodgers made an offer.
“I think the main reason the Dodgers was the choice was because they’re in the National League,’’ Turner said last season. “The type of player I am, I knew I’d get more opportunities and at-bats in the National League than I would in the American League. It was a tough decision trying to choose between the Red Sox and Dodgers.’’
Turner hit .312 with 14 home runs this season.
■ Chase Utley is LA’s version of Dustin Pedroia
The Red Sox aren’t the only team in this series with an All-Star second baseman who won’t see playing time. While Dustin Pedroia was shut down in September with a knee injury, Los Angeles’s Chase Utley, 40, struggled during the regular season and was not named to the Dodgers’ roster for the NLDS or the NLCS.
■ The Dodgers have been knocking at the door
Los Angeles has reached the NLCS three straight seasons, and is in the World Series for the second year in a row, having lost to the Houston Astros in seven games last year.