It’s all over! They will be singing Sweet Caroline in Boston all night on Sunday. For the ninth time, and fourth since 2004, the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions. After a 5-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Sox were able to hoist the trophy once again after just five games, their first title since 2013.
The Final Game
David Price took the hill in game five facing off against Clayton Kershaw, who has seen his fair share of playoff woes. Sunday night followed the same routine the people are used to seeing when Kershaw pitches in October. After Andrew Benintendi singled with one out n the first inning, Steve Pearce made Kershaw pay with a two-run home run.
The Dodgers quickly answered, when October phenomenon David Freese hit a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning. Freese is no stranger to clutch big hits in October, as he helped the Cardinals knock off the Rangers in 2011.
After the first inning, both Price and Kershaw settled in, producing a fantastic pitching duel, with just a few hits sprinkled in. It was not until the sixth inning that the Red Sox did what their playoff hashtag promoted, when Mookie Betts did damage with a solo shot to give the Sox a 3-1 lead.
In the following inning, J.D. Martinez crushed a ball to center to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. Kershaw would finish the inning, but that was the end of his night. While it was not a terrible outing, it was not enough to top the Red Sox and their star-studded lineup and pitching staff.
Pedro Baez took over for the Dodgers in the eighth inning. Baez had been a reliable option throughout the postseason for Los Angeles, but was unable to prevent Pearce from hitting his second home run of the night, the third in three innings for Boston. Price, dealing a gem for the Sox, was pulled after allowing a leadoff walk to Chris Taylor. Joe Kelly took over for Price and continued his World Series dominance, striking out the next three Dodger hitters.
Sale Ends the Season
Chris Sale, who had been dealing with an injury, took over to finish the game. 15 pitches and three strikeouts later, catcher Christian Vazquez was running to the mound to jump on Sale, while the bench cleared, and the Red Sox were once again, World Series champions.
The Red Sox were undoubtedly the best team in baseball all season, finishing with the best record in franchise history under rookie manager Alex Cora. They were the best team when playing at home, so having home field advantage throughout the postseason was an advantage they did not let get away from them. Despite losing a home game to both the Yankees and Astros, they took care of business in the World Series, making it seemingly impossible for a Dodgers comeback.
It Started in Boston
In Game 1 against Los Angeles, fans were hoping for one of the best pitching duels to ever battle in the World Series. That was not the case as both Kershaw and Sale were bounced before the fifth inning was over. The Red Sox took control early and every time the Dodgers showed signs of life and would tie the game up, their hopes were quickly dashed as the Sox would answer in the bottom half of the innings. Outside of Matt Kemp’s home run in the second to make it a 2-1 game, the Red Sox answered the Dodgers every time they scored in route to an 8-4 victory.
Game 2 pitted Price vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu, where both teams settled in for better games on the mound. Price allowed two runs in six innings, while Ryu allowed one in 4 2/3, but was responsible for four after Ryan Madson’s awful October continued, when he walked Pearce and allowed a two-run single to Martinez. The Red Sox bullpen was lights out after pulling price, with Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel tossing scoreless frames to give the Red Sox a two-game lead heading to Los Angeles.
A Record-Setting Marathon
Is Game 3 over yet? In the longest game in postseason history and the most innings ever played in a World Series game, the Red Sox found themselves on the short end of the stick for the only time in the series. In a grueling 18-inning game, Max Muncy lifted a ball to left center to finally allow players and fans to get some sleep. Joc Peterson homered in the third inning, while rookie Walker Buehler had a World Series outing to remember on the mound. Kenley Jansen attempted a six-out save, but after just two outs, allowed a solo home run to Jackie Bradley Jr.
Several scoreless frames followed as the game went to extra innings. After Brock Holt scored on a throwing error by Scott Alexander, Muncy was able to score on a throwing error from Ian Kinsler that could have ended the game in the thirteenth. Despite getting the loss, the story of this game, aside from the whole record-setting part and Muncy’s home run, was Eovaldi’s dazzling performance in relief. Eovaldi threw six innings from the bullpen, allowing just three hits with five strikeouts. It seemed the momentum was in the Dodgers favor after such a taxing game, but the Red Sox had other ideas.
Dodgers Hope to Ride Momentum
In Game 4, the Dodgers appeared to be in control and on track to tie the series with one more home game before heading back to Boston. After a three-run home run from Yasiel Puig gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead in the sixth, it was all smiles in the Dodgers dugout. Mitch Moreland decided to ruin that feeling, hitting a three-run home run of his own in the following inning to cut the lead to one.
One inning later in the eighth, Pearce tied the game on a solo shot of his own. The Red Sox did not take their foot off the gas after that, pushing their lead to five with a five-run ninth inning. Kike Hernandez did his best to bring the Dodgers back to life with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too little too late, and the Red Sox were one game away from glory, which they achieved with ease.
The Best Team In Baseball
After the Curse of the Great Bambino had kept Red Sox fans in a depression for 86 years, the team has made sure fans are getting their money’s worth. They are the first and only team to have won four World Series in this century and with the roster and talent they boast, could easily see a fifth soon. Their roster is mixed with young talent and experienced veterans, a recipe for success in any sport.
Congratulations to the 2018 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, hold that trophy high as it was well deserved. And congratulations to mid-season pick up Steve Pearce on winning the World Series MVP. A surprising player to win it, but not so surprising given his outstanding play throughout the series.
The best team in baseball always has a target on their back and usually end up coming up short at some point. This Red Sox club was sure to let everyone know that their regular season was not a fluke, and that they are the best of the best when it comes to Major League Baseball.