Familiar faces will return to Boston when the Los Angeles Dodgers begin a three-game series against the Red Sox on Friday night.
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The Dodgers last visited Boston in 2019, when a weekend series in July marked the teams’ only other meeting since the 2018 World Series.
Central to the Dodgers’ return is star outfielder Mookie Betts, the 2018 American League MVP who has never played as a guest in Boston. He was traded to Los Angeles in February 2020 along with pitcher David Price. The Red Sox got three players back, two are still regulars for them, outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Connor Wong.
“This is the first time I’ve come back since 2019. I’m really nervous,” Betts said on his Bleacher Report podcast this week. “It’s more because I haven’t been here that long. I grew up there and I don’t know what to expect. … I think it’s going to be fun.”
Betts is starting the weekend red hot after winning a suspended game 5-5 in Cleveland on Thursday and 2-3 in the series final that followed. The Dodgers won 6-1 and 9-3, respectively.
Right-hander Ryan Brasier and utility man Enrique Hernandez are two other former Red Sox players who are on the Dodgers’ active roster. Hernandez was only acquired by Boston on July 25.
“I’m sure Fenway will show up for (Betts),” said Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale.
The Dodgers will hand the ball to 36-year-old Lance Lynn (9-9, 5.60 ERA) on Friday. Lynn is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts (25 innings) since she switched from the Chicago White Sox to the Dodgers on July 28.
The right-hander, who has conceded one earned run in his last three appearances, had four hits over seven shutout innings in a no-decision game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 17. The eventual 1-0 win capped the Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak.
“I think that’s pretty much what we envisioned early in the season with our staff and what it’s been since I’ve been here,” Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said. “Lance fills up the batsmen throughout the game. He’s been doing this for a long time.”
The Red Sox are returning home after dominating a 17-1 win in Houston on Thursday, splitting a four-game streak while earning their fifth win in seven games.
The recent run has put Boston in a playoff spot within 3 1/2 games.
“A lot of people thought this season was over three days ago,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, “but that’s not the case.”
Wilyer Abreu, Wong and Verdugo each had four hits, including a home run. For Abreu, it was the first long ball of his major league career. He made his debut Tuesday after hitting 22 home runs in 86 games for Triple-A Worcester this season.
“There’s a reason he’s here,” Cora said. “(Worcester manager) Chad Tracy was very happy with the way he played. He’s a good runner. He’s a good defender. He’s a good batsman.”
Boston right-hander Kutter Crawford (6-6, 3.66 ERA) is expected to make his first career appearance against the Dodgers.
Crawford went 5 1/3 innings without hitting before conceding a home run on the Yankees’ Aaron Judge in his last start Saturday in New York. In the end, he had just one run and one hit while notching two walks and five fannings in six innings en route to an 8-1 win.
Source : deadspin.com