Several former Boston Red Sox players will meet in the NLDS.
The divisional round of the postseason begins this week and while the Boston Red Sox won’t be participating, fans can still find plenty of reasons to tune in. The battle between our AL East division rivals will naturally draw interest in Boston but there’s a series in the National League that warrants our attention.
The Los Angeles Dodgers face the San Diego Padres in a meeting between two NL West foes that will feature several familiar faces for Red Sox fans.
The list is highlighted by Mookie Betts, the former MVP who was traded to the Dodgers in a blockbuster deal last winter. Betts made a great first impression with his new team, hitting .292 with a .927 OPS and 16 home runs this season.
Boston’s woeful pitching staff would have kept the Red Sox out of the playoff picture even if they had kept Betts at the top of their lineup. If they weren’t willing to offer him the massive contract that the Dodgers gave him, trading Betts will ultimately be viewed as a necessary move. That doesn’t make it easy to part with a player of his caliber though and the pain will sting a bit more if we end up watching Betts win a championship with the Dodgers.
Betts earned a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2018 but he hasn’t performed at his usual superstar level in the postseason. He owns a .242/.327/.379 slash line in 23 career playoff games. His postseason production is already off to a much better start with the Dodgers though. Betts went 3-for-7 (.429) with three doubles and three RBI in the two-game Wild Card series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers bullpen features old friend Joe Kelly. The right-hander had a rocky season in Los Angeles last year after signing as a free-agent but he bounced back strong this year. Kelly was limited to only 10 innings, in part due to serving an eight-game suspension for his role in starting a benches-clearing brawl against the Houston Astros. He allowed only two earned runs for a stellar 1.80 ERA.
Kelly was on the Wild Card roster but didn’t make an appearance against the Brewers.
Mitch Moreland‘s eight home runs tied for third on the Red Sox despite that they traded him to San Diego after he had played in a mere 22 games. He would add only two more in 20 games for the Padres while hitting .203 with a .609 OPS.
He didn’t give the Padres lineup the boost they expected of him but Moreland provides valuable veteran leadership and postseason experience. He played in two out of the three games in the Wild Card series against the St. Louis Cardinals, going 3-for-6 (.500) with a run scored.
Drew Pomeranz left the Red Sox following a disappointing 2018 season but he revitalized his career when the Brewers moved him to the bullpen after acquiring him at the trade deadline last year. His strong second half as a reliever allowed Pomeranz to cash in with a 4-year, $34 million deal with the Padres.
Pomeranz continues to thrive out of the bullpen. He posted a 1.45 ERA and 14.0 K/9 in 18 2/3 innings this season.
The lefty pitched an inning in all three Wild Card games against the Cardinals. He allowed a pair of unearned runs but still owns a 0.00 ERA in this postseason.
The Red Sox don’t have much of a rivalry with either of these franchises so most fans probably don’t care which of these clubs advances to the next round. If you’re looking for something to root for in this series, focusing on these players with ties to the Red Sox will make the series a bit more interesting.