The Los Angeles Dodgers took two of three from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, punctuated by a 7-4, 12-inning victory in Sunday night’s series finale at Fenway Park.
One could point to the results as proof that Los Angeles and Boston are on two very different trajectories at this stage of the season, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t see it that way, instead heaping praise on the Red Sox after a hard-fought World Series rematch.
“It was a grinder,” Roberts told reporters in Boston after Sunday’s extra-inning affair. “You could see the way those guys played with their intensity and focus that they wanted this series. I thought it was very focused baseball and two equal ball clubs.”
The Red Sox, of course, defeated the Dodgers in last year’s World Series, capping an impressive run that saw Boston win 108 regular-season games en route to its fourth championship since 2004. Boston has been up and down in 2019, though, while Los Angeles looks like a legitimate threat to reach the Fall Classic for the third consecutive campaign.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, help is on the way. The club acquired pitcher Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles to bolster its rotation, and Nathan Eovaldi will become Boston’s closer upon returning from the injured list.
The latter isn’t lost on Roberts, who witnessed Eovaldi’s impact firsthand in the World Series when the right-hander tossed six innings in relief on two days’ rest in Game 3. Los Angeles won the game in 18 innings, but the epic performance stirred up emotions in Boston’s clubhouse and effectively propelled the Red Sox to back-to-back wins in Games 4 and 5.
“I think we were just fortunate that (Nathan) Eovaldi wasn’t in the building,” Roberts joked Sunday, referring to this past weekend’s series. “Once I knew that he wasn’t active, I felt a little bit better.”
Eovaldi, who signed a four-year, $68 million contract with Boston over the offseason, hasn’t pitched since April 17 after undergoing a procedure on his elbow.