Never say that Bud Selig and his underlings lack a sense of humor. Selig’s schedule-makers must have thought it would be cute to have Boston meet the Dodgers in Los Angeles exactly one year from the day the two storied clubs swung one of the more mindboggling trades in baseball history.
More head-scratching than the Aug. 25, 2012 trade itself is where the Dodgers and Red Sox find themselves with just a little over 30 games to go in the 2013 season. As of Wednesday the Sox had the most wins in the American League, with 74, and the Dodgers had 73 wins, tops in the NL West.
Could the three-game set this weekend at Chavez Revine be a World Series preview? Perhaps, though both teams are far from traditional powerhouses. Los Angeles had a record of 30-42 on June 21 and it looked as though the Red Sox’ salary dump 10 months earlier was the steal of the century. But then Don Mattingly’s club just kept winning. And winning. And winning.
The Dodgers have gone a stunning 43-10 since June 21. They dropped two games in a row for the first time since that date just this past Sunday and Monday.
LA has completed this remarkable turnaround on the backs of rookie phenom Yasiel Puig (.352 batting average, 12 homers, 28 RBIs) and a couple of familiar faces. Adrian Gonzalez, whom Red Sox management admitted they did not want to trade in last year’s deal, is once again comfortable on the West Coast having plated 77 runs this season. Carl Crawford has resurrected his career after two injury-plagued seasons on Yawkey Way. The outfielder is hitting .290 on the year and has already played in 77 games this season. Crawford played in just 30 games for the Sox last season.
Of course, Crawford has been the most outspoken about his time in Boston since the deal, telling USA Today back in April: “I don’t think I smiled in two years.”
The other big chip moved by the Red Sox last year was Josh Beckett (Nick Punto was also in the deal), but the former Sox ace underwent season-ending neck and shoulder surgery in May.
The only former Dodger involved in the trade likely to see action this weekend for Boston will be relief pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, who has been serviceable out of the Sox’ pen in 2013 with a 4.76 ERA in five appearances.
Friday at Dodgers: Lackey vs. Nolasco (10 p.m., NESN)
Saturday at Dodgers: Lester vs. Ryu (4 p.m., FOX)
Sunday at Dodgers: Peavy vs. Capuano (8 p.m., ESPN)