❚ Rank­ing po­ten­tial World Series matchups,

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Scott Boeck

Af­ter the divi­sion series, four teams re­main: the Hous­ton Astros, Bos­ton Red Sox, Los An­ge­les Dodgers and Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers.

The Astros hope to be the first team to re­peat as cham­pi­ons since the New York Yan­kees won three in a arow from 1998 to 2000.

The Brew­ers seek their first ti­tle in fran­chise history.

The Dodgers were left at the door last Oc­to­ber af­ter los­ing to the Astros in Game 7.

And the Red Sox are look­ing for a re­turn to the Fall Clas­sic for the first time since 2013, when they won.

USA TODAY ranks the po­ten­tial matchups based on siz­zle and watch­a­bil­ity.

1. Red Sox-Dodgers

The dream matchup — at least for ex­ec­u­tives at Fox Sports, which will broad­cast the World Series. Rat­ings would be at a premium, as the clubs re­side in two of the top 10 me­dia mar­kets in the U.S.

But aside from rat­ings, this series would fea­ture two sto­ried fran­chises and a great sup­port­ing cast. Fen­way Park. Dodger Sta­dium. Chis Sale. Clay­ton Ker­shaw. Mookie Betts. Manny Machado.

And Yasiel Puig.

The Dodgers haven’t won a Series cham­pi­onship since Kirk Gibson limped around the bases af­ter a home run against the Oak­land Ath­let­ics in the 1988 Fall Clas­sic. The Red Sox, a club with big ex­pec­ta­tions af­ter 108 wins this sea­son, could cap­ture their se­cond cham­pi­onship since 2007.

2. Astros-Dodgers

The re­match. Ker­shaw vs. Justin Ver­lan­der alone is worth the price of ad­mis­sion, for those who like pitch­ing du­els.

And to top that, it’s been 40 years since the last back-to­back World Series re­match — the Yan­kees and Dodgers in 1977-78. Only this time, the Dodgers would be seek­ing revenge against the Astros.

The teams were evenly matched last sea­son, and this year would be the same, ex­cept for a few dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters among the cast. The Astros added Ger­rit Cole. The Dodgers coun­tered with Machado at the July 31 trade dead­line.

Se­quels don’t al­ways live up to ex­pec­ta­tions, but it worked out in the NBA when the Cleve­land Cava­liers and Golden State War­riors met in the Fi­nals in each of the last four years.

3. Red Sox-Brew­ers

Hey, at least the Red Sox would be in it, right? Sorry, but the small-mar­ket Brew­ers don’t have the na­tional fol­low­ing Red Sox Na­tion does.

Let’s face it, the Red Sox and Brew­ers don’t have a ri­valry — even when the Brew­ers resided in the Amer­i­can League East. In fact, they have met in the reg­u­lar sea­son only three times since 2015. The only tie of any in­ter­est be­tween the two clubs is Travis Shaw, who came up through Bos­ton’s farm sys­tem.

The prob­a­ble starters for Game 1? Chris Sale vs. Jhoulys Chacín. Not quite the siz­zle of a Sale-Ker­shaw matchup.

But Brew­ers fans don’t care. Mil­wau­kee would have just its se­cond chance at a World Series ti­tle in their 50-year history. The Brew­ers’ only ap­pear­ance in the Fall Clas­sic was in 1982, when they were an Amer­i­can League team dubbed with the clever nick­name Har­vey’s Wall­bangers — af­ter man­ager Har­vey Kuenn and his hard-hit­ting slug­gers in­clud­ing Ce­cil Cooper, Ben Oglivie, Ted Simmons, Gor­man Thomas and fu­ture Hall of Famers Paul Moli­tor and Robin Yount.

4. Astros-Brew­ers

The re­align­ment series. Does that have a ring to it? This matchup would pit two fran­chises that switched leagues. The Astros went from the Na­tional League to the Amer­i­can in 2013, and the Brew­ers vice versa in 1998.

While it’s not the sex­i­est matchup of the four, it might be the best from a pure base­ball stand­point: Astros starters vs. Brew­ers bullpen. Ge­orge Springer-Jose Al­tuve-Alex Breg­man-Car­los Cor­rea vs. Lorenzo Cain-Chris­tian YelichRyan Braun-Je­sus Aguilar-Mike Mous­takas. Brisket vs. Brats. Queso vs. cheese. Rodeos vs. PBR.


The Dodgers and Yasiel Puig would be lick­ing their chops should they make a World Series re­turn.

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