If the Dodgers fail to gain control of the World Series over their next three games against the Boston Red Sox, the waving of blue towels at Chavez Ravine intended to inspire the home team could double as a farewell gesture for many of their key players whose contracts are running out.
Rest assured, regardless of how much of their roster they retain, the Dodgers will remain competitive next season.
But being competitive isn’t the same as winning a championship. That’s why the Dodgers have to salvage this series and reverse the two-games-to-zero deficit, because they might not return to this stage of the postseason for some time.
Even Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, another key member of the Red Sox’s 2004 World Series championship team, was invited to participate (he declined, but was still recognized as part of the ceremony before the game)..
On Fenway Park’s first-base concourse is a wall bearing more than 100 pictures. There’s one for each of Boston’s victories in 2018. The number is up to 116 now that the Red Sox have piled up eight postseason wins.
It was inspired by a similar feature that first-year manager Alex Cora commissioned for his office. Team officials decided to replicate the “win wall” in a public space for the playoffs.
In his left arm, the one he had just used so powerfully against the Dodgers, David Price held his son.
Xavier Price is 17 months old, and adorable. He wore a T-shirt with a picture of his dad on it. He squirmed, trying to escape his father’s grasp and move freely about the interview room. He did his best to yank down the backdrop behind his father, the one that featured a sponsor that paid millions of dollars for its name to appear there.
For the one and only time Wednesday night, Price surrendered.
The Dodgers used the same lineup Wednesday as they used in Game 1, an all-right-handed configuration to maximize their chances against the left-handed Price before pinch-hitting in spots throughout the game as Roberts sees fit. It’s the platoon strategy they’ve used since the start of September. Against the Milwaukee Brewers and their aggressive bullpen use, the substitutions frequently came early. But the Red Sox opt for more conventional pitching methods and Price’s six-inning effort meant the four-man left-handed-hitting bench cavalry — the Dodgers’ top four home run hitters during the regular season — emerged late.
Let's preface this with a reminder that Dave Roberts' decision-making process remains a mystery. What's known is that Roberts receives input from Andrew Friedman's analytically inclined front office before games on the situations he might encounter and how he should respond. Less certain is the degree to which Roberts is expected to follow the blueprint.