LOS ANGELES -- Two victories away from a championship, the challenge will only increase for a Boston Red Sox club intent on bringing the franchise its fourth World Series title since 2004.
The Red Sox had little resistance in building a 2-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but now have to face the best lineup their opponent has to offer and in a hostile environment at that.
Winning on the road has not been much of an issue for the Red Sox in this postseason. They have won all five playoff games they have played away from Fenway Park, clinching the American League Division Series at New York and celebrating an American League title at Houston.
The Dodgers, though, intend to put up as much resistance as possible in Game 3 with their left-handed power lineup against expected right-handed starter Rick Porcello. Both teams started left-handers in the first two games.
The change would mean starts for Dodgers lefty power hitters like Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger, although manager Dave Roberts sent out some mixed signals after Wednesday's Game 2 defeat.
When asked about his Game 3 lineup, Roberts had compliments for right-handed hitters like Brian Dozier and David Freese, players who typically do not start against righties.
"But we're going to shuffle it up for Game 3, [and] it's not because of necessarily performance, it's kind of who the starting pitcher for those guys is," Roberts said. "But these are the guys that got us here, and we're going to ride them out."
The Red Sox do not figure to be in as much lineup flux, although there remains an outside chance that Mookie Betts could move from the outfield to second base in order to get regular designated hitter J.D. Martinez into the lineup as an outfielder.
Boston will face Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, and Boston figures to be more concerned with maintaining its approach than switching up personnel.
"We're not up there trying to hit everything in the air and swinging for the fences," said Martinez, whose two-run single in the fifth inning Wednesday put the Red Sox up for good. "We go up there and the pitch dictates what we're going to do. We're not up there forcing balls in the air. I feel like it's the common mistake with hitters these days."
Thursday's travel day gives the Red Sox's formidable bullpen a chance to rest and recharge itself. The Dodgers were hitless against Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrell in Game 2. They had just one run on three hits over five innings against the Boston bullpen in Game 1.
The Dodgers' bullpen, meanwhile, figures to need more than a day off and a move to a warmer climate. A shift in strategy likely is ahead after right-hander Ryan Madson allowed all five of his inherited runners to score in the first two games.
Buehler, who has never faced the Red Sox, gave up a combined nine runs in his first two playoff outings, both Dodgers defeats. But he rebounded with a strong 4 2/3 innings in the Dodgers' Game 7 victory in the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Porcello has just two career starts against the Dodgers and none since 2011. Two of his four appearances in this postseason were starts, as he gave up one run in five innings to the Yankees in the ALDS and four runs over four innings to the Astros in the ALCS. The Red Sox won both games.