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The Red Sox-Dodgers positional matchups are tough to gauge, and in the end, it’s the cumulative advantage that wins, not the individual ones. Also, both teams use platoons at various positions, so it’s hard to pinpoint who will be playing where and how often.

The starting rotations are both very good, and if the pitchers are on their games, it’s a virtual tossup. The bullpens have had their successes and failures, but the Red Sox have been shakier with Craig Kimbrel. He may have straightened things out, though.


The Dodgers’ use of the DH could be interesting — it could be anyone — while we know that J.D. Martinez, maybe the best hitter in baseball this season, will be Boston’s.

Home-field advantage is huge, but the Red Sox clinched both their playoff series on the road, and the Dodgers also clinched against Milwaukee on the road.

I give the Red Sox the edge in nine of the 13 categories below, some based on postseason performance, some on American League bias (especially with starting pitchers who don’t have to face lineups as tough as the Red Sox), some on season stats.

The Red Sox also were really good against National League opponents this season (16-4, plus-29 run differential).

Here’s a position-by-position look:


Steve Pearce/Mitch Moreland vs. Max Muncy/David Freese

Both teams use a left/right platoon. Freese has been a postseason star, with more than 200 plate appearances. He was 3 for 10 with a home run in the first two playoff series this year. Muncy, meanwhile, has hit only .182 in the postseason, but he had a phenomenal regular season with 35 homers and a .973 OPS.

Advantage: Dodgers



Ian Kinsler/Brock Holt vs. Kiki Hernandez/Brian Dozier/Max Muncy/Chris Taylor

You never know who’s going to be playing second base for the Dodgers. That foursome has hit a collective .210 in the playoffs this year. The Red Sox have a better platoon, and the Brock Star can be a big-time postseason player, as evidenced by his cycle vs. the Yankees. And who knows if Mookie Betts ends up here for Boston?

Advantage: Red Sox


Xander Bogaerts vs. Manny Machado

This is a tough one, because right now Machado represents all of the things you hate, and he has generated a lot of controversy with tough slides into second, a lack of hustle, and kicking Jesus Aguilar’s foot at first base. Bogaerts plays the game right, and their production isn’t that different. Yet we all know Machado is one of the best players in baseball.

Advantage: Dodgers


Rafael Devers/Eduardo Nunez vs. Justin Turner

What Devers has done in the playoffs beats anyone’s expectations for a 22-year-old player, but he keeps having to prove himself. The three-run homer in the clinching ALCS game was big-time clutch. Devers is a threat because he can hit velocity, but his time could be somewhat limited considering LA has three lefty starters. Turner is a ballplayer. Period. He’s always a threat, though he didn’t do much in the NLCS (.635 OPS).

Advantage: Red Sox


Sandy Leon/Christian Vazquez vs. Yasmani Grandal/Austin Barnes

Grandal is a passed ball waiting to happen, like the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez. Barnes is a decent catcher and solidifies things defensively, even though Grandal is the superior offensive player. This position is about defense, and Leon and Vazquez outshine those two.


Advantage: Red Sox


J.D. Martinez vs. Matt Kemp

The Dodgers could use a number of players at the DH spot, but we’re thinking this is a good role for Kemp. Martinez is hot and will play the outfield when the series shifts to LA.

Advantage: Red Sox


Andrew Benintendi vs. Joc Pederson/Chris Taylor

Taylor, the Dodgers’ version of Brock Holt, has been on fire at the plate in the postseason and could get the start against lefties in Boston in the first two games. Benintendi was terrific in the field in the ALCS, including the diving catch to end Game 4.

Advantage: Red Sox


Jackie Bradley Jr. vs. Cody Bellinger

How appropriate that the ALCS and NLCS MVPs play the same position. Both are great athletes, but Bradley has no peer defensively. Bellinger is obviously the better offensive player.

Advantage: Dodgers


Mookie Betts vs. Yasiel Puig

Oozing talent, that’s what these two players have in common. Puig has just never put it all together, though he’s capable of being a game-changer as he was in Game 7 of the NLCS with a big home run. Betts’s defense has been off the charts. Will he play second base in Los Angeles?

Advantage: Red Sox


Chris Sale/David Price/Nathan Eovaldi/Rick Porcello vs. Clayton Kershaw/Hyun-Jin Ryu/Walker Buehler/Rich Hill


The Dodgers can throw three lefties against the Sox, who were able to handle CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, and Dallas Keuchel quite well in these playoffs. The Dodgers have had great success against righthanders, and they’ll face two of them in LA (Eovaldi and Porcello). Sale is coming off a stomach ailment, while Price is coming off his first playoff win as a starter. I always prefer the American League rotation, because they have had to face lineups with the DH all season.

Advantage: Red Sox


Craig Kimbrel/Matt Barnes/Ryan Brasier/Joe Kelly/Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Kenley Jansen/Pedro Baez/Ryan Madson/Kenta Maeda/Dylan Floro

The Dodgers bullpen has gone 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in the playoffs, while Boston’s has gone 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA — much of which is Kimbrel’s 7.11. Jansen, meanwhile, has pitched 6⅔ scoreless innings. The Dodgers have more depth with Caleb Ferguson and Alex Wood. The Sox have used Eovaldi and Porcello out of the bullpen effectively, which may continue, and they added Drew Pomeranz to combat the Dodgers’ lefthanded hitters. They didn’t feel comfortable putting Steven Wright on the roster because of his balky knee.

Advantage: Dodgers


Brock Holt/Blake Swihart/Christian Vazquez/Mitch Moreland/Eduardo Nunez vs. Chris Taylor/Kiki Hernandez/Austin Barnes/Matt Kemp/Brian Dozier

Again, bench players could also be starting players, but we like what Holt and Moreland have done off the bench.

Advantage: Red Sox


Alex Cora vs. Dave Roberts

Cora has pushed all of the right buttons and beaten two 100-win teams in their own yards. Roberts did a great job getting this team back to the World Series for the second straight season.


Advantage: Red Sox

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.