With the World Series a day away, Monday served as media day for both teams. To no surprise, getting the start in game one for LA will be Clayton Kershaw. For the 10-year veteran, he has never pitched at Fenway Park. Kershaw said he’s not too worried about that.
“I don’t really think about that stuff,” Kershaw said while speaking to the group of media. “I appreciate the history and everything that goes along with Fenway Park. But I came here, I don’t know how long ago, 2000 something and got to at least see it, got to be here, got to appreciate the stadium and things like that.”
“Check this one off as far as pitching tomorrow, but I don’t really think about the history part of it too much, honestly.”
This will be Kershaw’s second straight appearance in the World Series, and he’s done a lot to get here, including coming out of the bullpen the close out game seven of the NLCS. After pitching on short rest, Kershaw said pitching in the ninth inning didn’t really affect him.
“Obviously it was somewhat of a normal inning, which was good,” he said. “I tried to throw as few pitches as possible in the bullpen before. Obviously the intensity is different and things like that, but that’s why I came here yesterday to make sure everything was good, and should be good.”
“I really want to win the World Series. I think that’s no different than the other 50 guys in both locker rooms, though. I think the only difference maybe is that because we’ve gotten so close in the past, because we’ve gotten to go to the postseason, we’re a little bit spoiled in our expectations every year with the Dodgers, which is a great thing.”
Though he didn’t win the MVP for the championship series, there probably isn’t a hotter bat in the lineup than Yasiel Puig. In game 7, he hit a three-run homer to help pad the Dodgers lead. In the series versus Milwaukee, Puig hit .333/.364/.619/.983. His seven hits were tied for the second-most in a postseason series for him.
With years of postseason experience under his belt, there’s also been a low of growing and maturing for Puig as well.
“Certainly our job as coaches is to continue to teach players,” Dave Roberts said. “And there is certainly a lot of upside with Yasiel. There’s a lot of energy. There’s a little bit or maybe a little bit more of -- there’s some recklessness. So my job, the coach’s job, is to continue to embrace it to some extent but also harness it. So there is a balance. But certainly with Yasiel the net is certainly a positive.”
With the first two games being played in an American League park, Matt Kemp will be the designated hitter in game 1. Kemp talked about hitting at Fenway, and whether or not the green monster could be a potential trap for hitters.
“Our approach is to try and hit the ball, and wherever it goes it goes,” said Kemp. “I’ve never really been successful with pulling the ball, so that’s not something I want to do. If I’m out front and it hits the wall, it is what it is.”
Kemp’s opportunities have been limited so far this postseason. He only has 15 plate appearances in 11 games.
As if Milwaukee wasn’t already enough, Manny Machado will step into an even more hostile environment in Boston. Having played his entire career in Baltimore, Machado has some history with the Red Sox.
While with the Orioles, Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia, injuring him, and sparking anger from Boston. Chris Sale, the Game 1 starter, threw behind Machado, a move the Dodger shortstop didn’t take too kindly. He called the move ‘cowardly’.
Having to face each other yet again, Sale isn’t too worried about the matchup.
“We have bigger things to worry about now on both sides, on their side and on our side,” Sale said during his time with the media. “We’re dedicated to winning this World Series and bringing a championship to our city. We’re not worried about any individual player. We’ve got one thing in mind and that’s winning.”
“I don’t think the attention that he’s receiving is affecting him,” Dave Roberts said. “I think he just has a good way to channel that for the positive. So I’ve heard a little bit about the history with the Red Sox, but when you’re in the World Series I think that each team’s goal is to win four baseball games. So I don’t think that the history really has any effect on these next games.”
“I’m a Dodger, I’m here to win a World Series,” Machado said. “That’s all that matters now.”
Game 1 is Tuesday night at 5:09 pm P.T. on FOX.