On Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth game of the World Series to win their fourth World Series championship in 15 years. The only other time these two franchises met in the World Series was in 1916, when Babe Ruth helped pitch Boston to the title. This year, the Red Sox dominated the Dodgers four games to one, outscoring them 29 runs to 16 and thoroughly convincing the world they are this year’s best team in baseball.
The Red Sox’s dominance was unsurprising after their historic season. Boston finished the regular season with a franchise-record 108 wins and won the American League East division with an eight-game lead over their rival, the New York Yankees. Despite winning three other World Series titles since 2004, the last time they won at least 100 games was 72 years ago.
This year, Boston had a loaded roster that featured a strong MVP candidate Mookie Betts, who led the American League with a 0.346 batting average. He also had the highest Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and won the 2018 Major League Baseball batting title. He was supported by strong performances from J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi as well as dominant pitching by Chris Sale, despite Sale’s multiple injuries. Red Sox Manager Alex Cora created a well-organized winning machine in his first year as manager and was able to turn a young, athletic team into the winningest team in franchise history, complete with a World Series title.
The Red Sox’s mantra carrying them through the series was “Do Damage,” and the team certainly accomplished that goal during the championship. The series opener happened on a brisk night at Fenway that proved too cold and too unfamiliar for the warm-weather Dodgers. From overrunning popup balls into the tight foul space near the stands to the loud echo chamber created by the odd angles in Fenway, the Dodgers could never quite settle into what became their coldest game of the season. Boston’s Benintendi had four hits and scored three times, Martinez had two early home runs, and pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez scored a three-run homer to close out Boston’s 8-4 thrashing of the Dodgers. The highly anticipated duel between Boston pitcher Chris Sale and Los Angeles’s Clayton Kershaw did not live up to the anticipation, with both starters leaving the mound without pitching more than four innings.
Game Two featured a three-run rally by Boston with two outs to come back from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the fifth. This performance adds to the Red Sox trend of hitting 0.415 (17-for-41) with two outs and runners in scoring position. The next highest team average in those situations is 0.349 by the 1910 Philadelphia A’s. David Price pitched six innings and allowed just two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Red Sox runs were scored by Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts and Christian Vasquez, and the Dodgers’ runs were scored by stars David Freese and Manny Machado.
In the first game of the series at the Dodgers home stadium, Game Three set the record as the longest World Series game in history, with an 18-inning 3-2 Dodgers victory that lasted seven hours and 20 minutes and saw 18 different pitchers take the mound — another postseason record. This game alone was longer than the entire 1939 World Series, which lasted a total of seven hours and five minutes. Boston struck out 19 times, breaking the previous record of 17 times set by the 1968 Detroit Tigers. The Dodgers were able to stifle Boston’s offensive attack and the top four batters in the Boston lineup went for a combined 0-for-28, with Mookie Betts contributing for a 0-and-7 line and Xander Bogaerts going 0-for-8. The game ended in a walk-off home run by the Dodgers’ Max Muncy to keep Los Angeles’s hopes alive in staging a comeback.
Game Four saw the Dodgers blow a 4-0 lead scored in the bottom of the sixth, with the surging Red Sox scoring nine unanswered runs from the seventh inning until the bottom of the ninth, when the Dodgers added two more runs. Boston’s Steve Pearce had two runs and two hits in four at bats, hitting the first homer out of the park for a three-run home run in the top of the seventh, along with a solo home run in the top of the eighth. Red Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly delivered the two final scoreless innings and gave up only three hits with three strikeouts to seal the game for Boston.
The Boston Red Sox dominated throughout the World Series with Steve Pearce again playing an instrumental part in the Game Five win, earning him World Series MVP. The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning off the arm of Kershaw to take an early lead which they would not relinquish. They earned a 5-1 victory after adding three more runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth inning. Red Sox starting pitcher David Price threw a phenomenal game, holding the Dodgers to only one run, scored in the first inning, and striking out five batters over seven innings. The fantastic season by the Red Sox have injected them into the “best team of all time” discussion, and Boston certainly intends to relish their victory — at least until next season starts. The Red Sox brought the trophy back to the streets of Boston this past Wednesday, met with thousands of roaring fans excited to welcome another championship title to Boston.