For the first time in his career, David Price has won a postseason game that he started. And what a time to do it, and with what style. The Boston Red Sox are the 2018 American League Champions, and David is a big reason for that. They did not want this series to go any further, and see the Houston Astros get any momentum. David went 6 shutout innings, giving up 6 hits and no walks, while whiffing 9. The only extra base hit he surrendered was a double to Yuli Gerriel. The bullpen took things from there, and although Matt Barnes gave up a solo blast to Marwin Gonzalez, Nathan Eovaldi was solid over 1.1 innings, and Craig Kimbrel shut down the Astros, despite giving up a walk. Boston got on the board first with a solo homer off Houston starter Justin Verlander by JD Martinez. In the 6th, Mitch Moreland doubled, Ian Kinsler singled, and both scored on a 3 run Johnson by Rafael Devers to left center. Kinsler also doubled off Houston reliever Roberto Osuna, but did not score. This win puts Boston in the driver’s seat for the World Series. Not only do they have the home field advantage, but with the big delay between the end of this game and the start of the Series, manager Alex Cora can schedule the starting pitchers any way he likes. Also, we would be remiss not to mention that this is Alex’s birthday! Want a way to celebrate! Boston beat Houston, 4-1, at Minute Maid Field. Boston wins the ALCS, 4-1.
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The Boston Red Sox have pushed the Houston Astros to the brink of elimination with this game. It was not without controversy. In the 1st inning, Houston Astros slugger José Altuvé hit a fly ball to the center field stands with one on that seemed to fall out of Mookie Betts’s glove for a home run (because it passed into the stands over the fence) but crew chief Joe West ruled that a fan had touched the ball before it crossed the fence line, making the play a fly out by rule, and his ruling was upheld in New York. OK. So, Boston started the scoring in the 1st inning when Betts was hit by Astros starter Charlie Morton, JD Martinez walked, a wild pitch moved Betts and Martinez to 2nd and 3rd, and a single by Rafael Devers drove in both. Houston came back in the 2nd when our old friend Josh Reddick doubled, and scored on a Carlos Correa single off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello. In the 3rd, Andrew Benintendi doubled and scored on a double by Xander Bogaerts. Houston tied it up on the bottom of the inning on a George Springer solo dinger, and after Altuvé doubled, he scored on a Reddick single. The Astros took the lead in the 4th on a solo blast by Tony Kemp. But the Sox took over in the 5th when Benny doubled and scored on a Bogey single. Yuli Gurriel singled off Joe Kelly in the bottom of the inning and scored on a Carlos Correa single. But Boston came back int he 6th on a Christian Vázquez double, followed by a 2 run bomb to right by Jackie Bradley, Jr. The Sox picked up 2 more runs in the 7th and 8th. In the 7th, JD singled and Bogey walked. After Houston reliever walked Steve Pearce to load the bases, he forced in a run with another walk to Brock Holt. In the 8th, Mookie Betts singled, reached 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a line drive single by JD. The Mariners picked up runs in the 5th and 8th. In the 5th, Yuli Gurriel singled off Kelly, reached 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a Carlos Correa single. In the 8th, Craig Kimbrel came on for an unusual 6 out save. In the 8th, Alex Bregman was hit by a pitch, and George Springer doubled to put Bregman at 3rd. An Altuvé ground out allowed Bregman to score. In the 9th, after walking 3 to load the bases with 2 out, Kimbrel got Alex Bregman to hit a ball to left that Benny leapt to catch, and made an amazing play, ending the game. Boston beat Houston, 8-6, at Minute Maid Park. Boston lead the ALCS, 3-1.
There is some debate among baseball analysts regarding the most effective strategy for victory: small ball, involving singles, walks, moving the runner over, and scoring opportunistically, or the big bang of an elevated swing that produces home runs and multiple base hits. In this game, the Red Sox said most emphatically, “why not both?” The Red Sox scored first, in the first inning, when Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi singled off Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, both scoring on a JD Martinez double. The ‘Stros came back with one of their own in the bottom of the inning when José Altuvé singled off Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi, and after Alex Bregman also singled, and a force play moved him to 3rd, scored on a single by Marwin Gonzalez. Notably, an awkward move by Eduardo Núñez produced enough hesitation to miss a double play, which would have prevented the score. In the 5th, Altúvé singled, and scored on an Alex Bregman double to tie the score at 2. Here again, a fielding move by Núñez may have made the double possible; he charged a bounding ball instead of letting it come to him, and when it took an awkward short hop, tried to backhand it, causing it to skip off his glove into left field. Steve Pearce made it all right, though with a solo blast off reliever Joe Smith in the 6th. In the 8th, after Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers singled, Astros reliever Roberto Osuna hit Brock Holt on the foot to load the bases, then hit pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland to force in a run. At this point, Jackie Bradley, Jr. decided to erase all doubt regarding the outcome of this game by crushing a grand slam into the stands in right center. Eovaldi looked really good in this one, giving up 2 runs over 6 innings on 6 hits and 2 walks, while punching out 4. Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Eduardo Rodriguez were all effective in relief. The Red Sox also burned through a lot of the Astros bullpen, which may make Houston more vulnerable in Game 4. Boston beat Houston, 8-2, at Minute Maid Park. Boston leads the ALCS, 2-1.
The Red Sox and the Houston Astros have exchanged victories, transforming this ALCS to a 5 game series. Unfortunately for Boston, 3 of those games are in Houston. This game featured a face-off between David Price, who has only won one postseason game, and none as a starter, against Gerrit Cole, the ace that Houston acquired from Pittsburgh during the offseason. Boston struck first, in the first inning, when Mookie Betts led off with a double and scored on an Andrew Benintendi single. Benny subsequently reached 2nd on a throwing error, and scored on a single by Rafael Devers. The Astros struck right back in the 2nd, when Carlos Correa singled and Martin Maldonado doubled off Price, and both scored on a George Springer double. In the 3rd, Yuli Gurriel singled, and Marwin followed up with a 2 run bomb to left. The Sox took the lead for good in the bottom of the 3rd, when Xander Bogaerts singled, Steve Pearce doubled, and Rafael Devers walked to load the bases. With 2 out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a bases clearing double to drive in 3 runs. In the 7th came a hitless score. Mookie Betts walked, reached 2nd on a wild pitch, and 3rd on a passed ball. He then scored on another passed ball by Maldonado. The Sox got extra insurance in the 8th when Rafael Devers singled, reached 2nd on a Mitch Moreland double, and scored on a Mookie Betts double (his 2nd). Craig Kimbrel came on to finish things off in the 9th, but after getting 2 quick outs, gave up a double to Springer, who scored on a single by José Altuvé. But that was it. Boston needs to win at least one in Houston to win the series, but of course, we hope for more. Boston beat Houston, 7-5, at Fenway Park. The ALCS is tied, 1-1.
The Red Sox seemed to have good momentum heading into this series game against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park, but that evaporated quickly. Odd moments, such as Sandy Leon’s wild toss to 2nd that hit umpire Joe West in the shoulder, and Alex Cora’s questioning of something about Astros catcher Martin Maldonado’s mitt seemed to highlight a kind of helplessness that characterized this game for Boston. Cora was subsequently ejected for arguing a strike call against Andrew Benintendi in the 5th inning. Houston got on the board first in the 2nd inning, when Carlos Correa walked, Red Sox starter Chris Sale hit Martin Maldonado, and walked Josh Reddick to load the bases with 2 out. Then, George Springer hit a 2 RBI single. The Sox got those 2 back in the 5th when Steve Pearce singled off Houston starter Justin Verlander, who then walked Eduardo Núñez and Jackie Bradley, Jr. to load the bases with 1 out. He then also walked Mitch Moreland to force in a run, and after a force play eliminated Núñez, JBJ scored on a wild pitch. In the very next inning, Joe Kelly hit Alex Bregman, who reached 2nd on a fielding error by Núñez, and scored on a Carlos Correa single to put the Astros on top, 3-2. That’s how things remained until the top of the 9th, when our old friend Josh Reddick hit a solo jack off Brandon Workman, who then walked José Altuvé and Bregman, and gave up 3 run bomb to Yuli Gurriel. The only extra base hit was a double by the Astros’ Tony Kemp, but he did not score. Chris Sale did not look super sharp on this one, going just 4 innings while giving up 2 runs on 2 hit and 4 walks. He did punch out 5. Justin Verlander, on the other hand, was coasting, with the exception of his one bad inning in the 5th. So, the Sox need something from David Price to help them even the series, because going to Houston down by 2 is a pretty dreadful prospect. Houston beat Boston, 7-2, at Fenway Park. Houston leads the ALCS, 1-0.
CC Sabathia has been the bane of the Red Sox’ existence sometimes, but this was not one of those times. Boston got going in the 3rd inning, when Andrew Benintendi got hit by a pitch, reached 3rd on a single by Steve Pearce, and scored on a JD Martinez sac fly. Then, a wild pitch sent Pearce to 3rd, and he scored on an Ian Kinsler double. Kinsler subsequently scored on an Eduardo Núñez single. In the 4th, Christian Vázquez provided the ultimate margin of victory with a solo dinger to right off reliever Zach Britton. Rick Porcello was very solid in this outing, going 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits with 1 K. That run came in the 5th inning, when Gary Sanchez hit a ground-rule double, reached 3rd on a Gleyber Torres single, and scored on a Brett Gardner sac fly. Matt Barnes, Ryan Brazier, and Chris Sale held the line until the 9th. Sale had been scheduled for Game 5, but when Alex Cora saw the chance to end things here and now, he took it. Craig Kimbrel provided a little unintentional excitement in the 9th, when he gave up a single to Didi Gregorius and 2 walks to load the bases for Neil Walker, whom he hit with a pitch to force in a run. Gary Sanchez then hit a sac fly with 1 out to drive in another run, making the game uncomfortably interesting, at 4-3. But then Gleyber Torres grounded out in a close play to end the game. Now, it’s on to the ALCS against the Houston Astros on Saturday. Boston beat New York, 4-3, at Yankee Stadium. Boston wins the ALDS, 3-1.
The Red Sox recovered home field advantage in this series by beating the Yankees in spectacular fashion in the Bronx. The usually indomitable Luis Severino started this game for the Yankees, and he got slammed. The scoring began for Boston in the 2nd, when Rafael Devers singled, stole 2nd, reached 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a single by Christian Vázquez. In the 3rd, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi singled, then Betts scored on a JD Martinez sac fly, and after Xander Bogaerts singled, Benny came in on a fielder’s choice, for 2 more runs. The big inning was the 4th, when Brock Holt and Vázauez singled, Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked to load the bases, and Lance Lynn came on to replace Severino. Lynn then walked Mookie Betts on 4 pitches to force in a run. After that, Benny hit a bases clearing double for 3 more runs. After Bogey singled, Chad Green replaced Lynn, but the fun continued for Boston. After Steve Pearce singled, Holt’s triple driven 2 more runs for a 7 run inning. In the 7th, JBJ doubled and scored on a Martinez single. In the 8th, Rafael Devers and Ian Kinsler singled. Devers scored on a Holt ground-rule double, and Kinsler came home on a wild pitch. A Betts single allowed Devers to cross the plate. Finally, in the 9th, with position player Austin Romine (catcher) pitching for New York, Ian Kinsler walked, and Holt hit a homer, to complete the cycle, the first in postseason history. The only Yankee run came in the 4th, when Luke Voit singled, reached 3rd on a Giancarlo Stanton singled, and scored on a fielder’s choice. Nathan Eovaldi looked very solid, pitching 7 innings while giving up 1 run on 5 hits and no walks, while whiffing 5. Heath Hembree and Eduardo Rodriguez also had very good innings. Boston beat New York, 16-1, at Yankee Stadium. Boston leads the ALDS, 2-1.
The Red Sox lost their home field advantage over the New York Yankees in this loss. David Price was a major disappointment, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks during the first 2 innings while striking out no one, and surrendered all the runs the Yankees would need for victory. In the first inning, Aaron Judge hit a solo jack to center off Price for New York’s first run. In the 2nd, Price gave up another solo blast, this one to Gary Sanchez, then walked 2 and surrendered a RBI single to Andrew McCutchen with 2 out to end his short night. Joe Kelly came on and had a solid appearance, going 2 1/3rd shutout innings while giving up just one hit and whiffing one. Ryan Brasier and Brandon Workman also provided quality work, but Eduardo Rodriguez struggled in the 7th, giving up a hit and walk before offering up a 3 run Johnson to Gary Sanchez, his second dinger of the night. New York’s Masahiro Tanaka kept the Sox hitters at bay over 3 innings before serving up a center field line drive solo homer to Xander Bogaerts. Tanaka finished having given up just the one run on 3 hits and a walk with 4 punch-outs. The other Boston run came when Mitch Moreland singled off Yankee reliever Dellin Betances, and scored on an Ian Kinsler double. Rick Porcello will not be starting Game 3 because he came on in relief in Game 1, so Nathan Eovaldi gets the call. We need one back, Sox fans. New York beat Boston, 6-2, at Fenway Park. This ALDS is now tied, 1-1.
Chris Sale looked great over 5 innings, while the Red Sox piled up a 5 run lead, but the bullpen struggled to hold that lead, and it took Rick Porcello to recover control of the game, and Craig Kimbrel to finish things off. The Sox got all the runs they needed in the 1st and 3rd innings. In the 1st, Andrew Benintendi singled off New York starter JA Happ, Steve Pearce walked, and JD Martinez drove them in with a line drive home run into the Monster seats. In the 3rd, Mookie Betts doubled and Benny singled to end Happ’s night. On came Chad Green, who surrendered a single to Pearce for Boston’s 4th run, and after a Xander Bogaerts sac fly, Boston had a 5-0 lead. Sale looked strong over 5 innings, but in the 6th, his velocity was noticeably off, and after he surrendered singles to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, he came off for Ryan Brasier. Unfortunately for Sale, both runners on base scored. Brett Gardner (who had changed places with Judge in a fielder’s choice) scored on a Luke Voit single, and Stanton scored on a subsequent fielder’s choice. In the 7th, Brandon Workman gave up 2 singles (to Andrew McCutchen and Judge) with nobody out, and yielded to Matt Barnes, who loaded the bases with a walk to Gardner, then allowed a run to score on a fielder’s choice. Craig Kimbrel came on in the 8th for a 4 out save, and got out of that inning, but gave up a solo bomb to Judge in the 9th. After that, however, he whiffed the side to end the game. Boston beat New York, 5-4, at Fenway Park. Boston leads the ALDS, 1-0.
The Red Sox closed out the 2018 baseball season with a big thumping of the New York Yankees. Of course, neither team really needed to win this one, and the parade of pitchers to the mound showed that it was much more about picking pitchers for the postseason roster than gaining another W. Still, the Sox avoided being swept, avoided losing 4 in a row (they are the only team not to have lost 4 in a row at least once this year) and they ended up with a win going into the playoffs. The Red Sox got most of their runs early, with 4 in the 1st and 3 in the 2nd inning. In the 1st, Mookie Betts singled off New York starter Enrique Cessa and, in a show of real hustle, scored from first when Aaron Judge bobbled Brock Holt’s subsequent hit. JD Martinez singled, and Mitch Moreland drove in Holt with a double. Martinez scored on an error by Cessa. Moreland scored on a fielder’s choice. In the 2nd, Jackie Bradley, Jr. singled off Jonathan Loaisiga and scored on a Holt double, and then Xander Bogaerts crushed a 2 run jack to center. In the 4th, Yankee reliever Justus Sheffield walked Tzu-Wei Lin and Holt, then gave up a 3 run bomb to Martinez, his 43rd of the season. The X-Man subsequently doubled, but did not score. So, in the Yankees’ pitcher tryouts, the Sox went 10-for-37. Sam Travis also doubled ,but did not score. Interestingly enough, the Sox played the last 3 innings without the DH rule, because Alex Cora moved DH Brandon Phillips into the field to play second base in place of Ian Kinsler, but the pitcher’s spot did not come up before Craig Kimbrel closed out the game. For their tryouts, the Boston pitchers looked good. Pretty much everyone who had looked bad in recent games redeemed himself with the exception of Bobby Poyner, who gave up 2 runs in the 4th when Miguel Andujar doubled and scored on Luke Voit’s 2 run Johnson. Rick Porcello, who started the game, looked exceptional, going 2 no-hit innings with 1 walk and 2 Ks. He threw the rest of his 100 pitches in the bullpen. Personally, I think the win is a big boost for team confidence, and now comes the agonizing wait until Friday, when the Sox face the winner of the wild card game (Yankees vs. A’s). Boston beat New York, 10-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 180-54. Game 162/0. End of season.