The most wonderful time of the year is officially drawing to a close; baseball season is, at most, seven games away from being over. But before that dark time arrives, we have the most wonderful part of it all: the World Series.
This year, the 114th fall classic (there wasn’t one in 1904, when the New York Giants refused to play the Boston Red Sox) will feature the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. And all signs point to it being epic.
Here’s everything you need to know before the series kicks off on tonight:
– The Red Sox broke the franchise win record that had stood since Fenway’s inaugural season in 1912, finishing the regular season 108-54, the most wins in baseball this season. They were 57-24 at Fenway, and 51-30 on the road, the first time in franchise history to have at least 50 wins both home and away.
– The Dodgers finished the year at 92-71, finally taking first place in the NL West after beating the Rockies in a tie-breaking game #163 the day after the regular season ended. They were 45-37 at home and 47-34 on the road.
– As the team with the best record in all of baseball, the Red Sox have had home field advantage throughout the postseason, and that will continue this week. As such, Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway, and the following three will take place in Los Angeles. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 will revert to Boston.
– Per Red Sox Notes, the approximate distance between Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium (2,588 miles) will set a new record for longest ever between the two ballparks in a World Series matchup. The previous record (2,568 miles) was set when the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants faced off in the 1962 series.
– Coming into this series, the Red Sox are 4-0 on the road and have a 7-2 record overall this postseason.
– In the NLDS, the Dodgers easily won the first two games at home and lost their first game in Atlanta before winning the series in the 4th game. The NLCS went full to seven games, with the Dodgers going 2-2 on the road and 2-1 at home.
– The only two active pitchers to have thrown at least 1,000 innings and post a sub-3 ERA are tonight’s Game 1 starters, Clayton Kershaw (2.39 ERA) and Chris Sale (2.89 ERA). They’ve faced off once before, on June 15, 2012 at Dodger Stadium (neither earned a decision).
– Contrary to what MLB shared on social media this weekend, the Dodgers and Red Sox have faced each other in the fall classic before, 102 years ago, in 1916. Back then the Dodgers were also known as the Robins – they wouldn’t officially become the Dodgers until 1932 – and of course, they were still based in Brooklyn.
– The Red Sox won the 1916 World Series, beating the Dodgers four games to one. The series featured some baseball legends, including Carl Mays, the future Yankee pitcher who would accidentally kill Indians batter Ray Chapman with an errant beanball pitch four years later, Casey Stengel, and the Babe himself.
– The Dodgers have won 20 pennants, the Red Sox 13. Since the beginning of the Wild Card era in 1994, the two teams have made a combined 25 trips to the postseason. The Dodgers are playing October baseball for the 6th consecutive season; the Red Sox have won their division for the last three years, but this is their first time making it past the ALDS since 2013.
– This will be the third time in World Series history that the matchup will be between two teams with at least 6 titles apiece (the Dodgers have six, the Red Sox have eight.) The Cardinals and Yankees were the first in 1964, followed by the Red Sox and Cardinals in 2013.
– This is the first World Series in MLB history in which the managers of both teams are men of color. It’s also the first time that both managers each played for both participating teams; they were teammates before Dave Roberts was nabbed by Boston at the trade deadline in 2004. Cora would go on to play for the Sox from 2005-2008, just missing Roberts, who was back on the west coast with the San Diego Padres.
– The Red Sox won their last championship in 2013, the Dodgers in 1988.
Game 1 starts tonight, 8:09 PM EST/5:09 PM PST