The Red Sox are now one game away. This was shaping up as a pitchers’ duel between our old friend Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Eduardo Rodriguez. But in the 6th inning, E-Rod faltered after hitting David Freese; he got a K, then surrendered a double to Justin Turner for a 1st and 3rd situation, and IW’ed Manny Machado for a bases loaded, 1 out situation for Cody Berlinger.. Berlinger hit into a fielder’s choice that took out the lead runner at home, but the throw from home hit him and skipped away, allowing another runner to score. Eduardo seemed shaken by this, and right afterward, he gave up a 3 run bomb to Yasiel Puig. Matt Barnes came on to put out the fire, but the damage was done. But in the 7th, Hill was done after walking Xander Bogaerts, and after 2 more pitching changes and a another walk, Ryan Madsen served up a 3 run blast to Mitch Moreland. Steve Pearce tied the score at 4 with a solo dinger in the 8th. In the 9th, Brock Holt doubled, Rafael Devers singled to drive in Brock, Mookie Betts was IW’ed, and Andrew Benintendi singled to load the bases. Then, Pearce hit a bases clearing 3 run double. The X-Man singled in another run to make the score 9-4. On came Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 9th, and gave up a 2 run no-doubter to Enrique Hernandez. But he settled down after that to lock this one up. Boston beat Los Angeles, 9-6, at Dodgers Stadium. Boston lead the World Series, 3-1.
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David Price turned in another stellar performance to gain this win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Once again, the Sox struck first, this time in the second inning. Xander Bogaerts doubled off LA starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, and scored on a single by Ian Kinsler. The Dodgers struck back in the 4th when David Freese singled off Price, got to 2nd on Manny Machado’s single, reached 3rd when David walked Chris Taylor to load the bases, then scored on a Matt Kemp sac fly. Yasiel Puig then drove in Manny Machado with a single. Boston’s big inning was the 5th, when Christian Vázquez singled with 2 out, Mookie Betts also singled, Andrew Benintendi walked, and reliever Ryan Madsen came in and walked Steve Pearce to force in a run. JD Martinez then singled in 2 runs to seal the deal. Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel (who got the save) were sterling in relief. The Red Sox did what they needed to do: win at home. Boston beat Los Angeles, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Boston leads the World Series, 2-0.
Boston jumped on LA Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw early, and that may have made all the difference in this one. Chris Sale started for the Red Sox, and kept LA under control through 4 innings, not enough to take credit for the win, but vital nonetheless. The bullpen took it from there. Mookie Betts led off the game with a single, stole 2nd, and scored on an Andrew Benintendi single; Benny reached 2nd on the throw (a close play that was decided by review). Benny subsequently scored on a single by JD Martinez. In the 4th, Martinez doubled in another run. In the 5th, Betts walked, and scored on a force play. The Dodgers kept battling back. Matt Kemp hit a solo dinger off Sale in the 2nd inning. In the 3rd, a series of singles by Justin Turner, David Freese, and Manny Machado resulted in another run. Brian Dozier walked in the 5th, reached 2nd on a single by Justin Turner, got to 3rd on a wild pitch by Matt Barnes, and scored on a fielder’s choice. That tied the score at 3. Max Muncie singled off Ryan Brazier in the 7th, got to 2nd on a Turner single, reached 3rd when Brazier walked Yasmani Grandal to load the bases, and scored on a sac fly. That brought LA within 1 at 5-4. But it was all for naught as, in the bottom of the inning, Benny hit an odd ground-rule double that could have been caught, but struck just inside the foul line beyond 3rd base and bounced into the stands. JD was intentionally walked, and on came righty Eduardo Núñez in place of Rafael Devers to face lefty pitcher Alex Wood. He reached down and lifted a pitch from about 2 inches off the ground, and launched it into the Monster seats for a 3 run bomb that sealed the game. So, the all important first game is in the books. Boston beat Los Angeles, 8-4. Boston leads the World Series, 1-0.
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.
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.