For the fourth time in 15 seasons, the Red Sox are world champions. Behind a standout appearance from David Price and two home runs from Steve Pearce, who won the MVP series at home, Boston defeated the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 to end the World Series and win its first title since 2013. Here are three thoughts from the last game of the year.
They've heard of it all summer, when the Red Sox took off from the Yankees in the AL East and claimed their third division title. The chatter about it became deafening after his first start of the postseason and was beaten by the Yankees in the Division Series. The questions continued after the ALCS Game 2, a so-loyal effort against Houston that did not raise much confidence in the future. Could David Price leave his playoff demons behind?
Consider Game 5 as the final answer. By limiting the Dodgers to just one run in seven innings to win the World Series, Price has forever lost the narrative around him: a choker in the key month, a bum when it comes down to it, an overpriced headcase, the you can not trust Instead, he grew big when Boston needed him the most, on the hill to win both the ALCS and the Classic case.
To be honest, Price's story began to change after this last ALCS launch, as he looked the Astros over six innings ̵
Only Alex Cora, he of the magic touch, turned this script over at the end of his press conference after Game 4 and announced that the prize – again in a short break – would be announced launch instead of sale. The logic was sound enough: more peace of mind for the sale, the belief that you would pinch at the NL Park would lead to a shorter trip anyway, better results for Price lately. But the call also had something incomprehensible. Cora told reporters, "We feel that David is good tomorrow."
Good is an understatement. The price was phenomenal, with a single mistake all night long – amusing enough, when he was quite violent in the first pitch of David Freese's first place to turn to the right for a solo homer. But thanks to Pearce already twice in the lead, this shot, which could have lowered the launch of Price from the start, made a small bump. In the next six pictures he allowed only a walk to Justin Turner, a bloop single to Yasiel Puig and a supported by J. D. Martinez triple to Freese. The final blow was the biggest threat to Los Angeles, with one coming out in the third and running behind. However, Turner made his way to shortstop, but failed to hit Freese and Kiké Hernandez flew to Martinez to end the inning. From there, Price crossed (and was even hit) the next 12 in a row with runners in seventh position (a real kink on Cora's game) before Chris Taylor opened the eighth place with a walk and knocked him out of the game ( 5-1).
The Bullpen did not let this brilliance disappear. The suddenly dominant Joe Kelly stranded Taylor and hit the side in a goalless inning of work. And Sale ended the whole thing – the aspiring starter, instead of closing it in a perfect ninth place. So Price was not just a winner – he was a champion.
Closing, but no Kershaw
Price was not the only attempt to kill the dragon of the postseason. Opposite him was Clayton Kershaw, perhaps the most unfair jug of his generation in terms of the October results and how they reflected on him. A lackluster start to Game 1, where he was hit hard and failed to finish fifth, did not help a perception that fluctuated like the Bitcoin value. So, in a knockout game, Kershaw had a chance to silence his haters forever (or at least given how good some of his playoff appearances already were).
Instead, things went quickly wrong. Andrew Benintendi opened a single in the middle. The next dough, Pearce, took a fastball of the first racket and launched it to the left – a copy of his homer in front of Kenley Jansen in Game 4, who held things and the Dodgers reeled. So Boston had a lead of 2: 0 and an advantage that it would not give up.
Kershaw settled down there, pulling out the next nine in a row and working in just 59 pitches through five innings. But when he came in for the third time in the sixth position of the order, he blinked and slid a slider across the plate to the fallen Mookie bed. In his last 13 bats Hitts hit nothing and did not fail to bring his first Homer left after the start of the season to the left to 3-1. An inning later, Martinez similarly snapped out of a glider and blew a solo homer in the middle to increase the lead to three. This seventh picture was the last of Kershaw.
It may have been the last inning of his career with Dodgers. The Ace Lefty has an opt-out on his contract, and in a thin market for pitcher-free agents he's almost certain to exercise it. Kershaw is slowly but surely leaving his heyday, plagued with stubborn back injuries and falling speed of fastballs, but he would have a lot of money to make his services available to the highest bidder. The Dodgers and their fans must hope he wants to stay. If nothing else happens – a loser in the postseason – this is no way for his time in Los Angeles.
What's Next Next
The future is bright for Boston. Betts, Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. form an impressive young core. Martinez will be back in the middle of the order. Sale and Price are a dynamic duo on the rotation. The main question in the Free Agency will be whether Dave Dombrowski brings All-Star closer. Craig Kimbrel, a future free agent who failed in the playoffs but is still an elite reliever – though one who turns 31 in May. Regardless, the Red Sox are here as elite squads of the AL. Their competition will be tough: the Yankees are also starred and have a better farming system, like the Astros. The Indians should also be better and the athletics is on the upswing. But not least, Boston can enjoy it before it gets its attention: 108 regular season wins, a World Series championship, and the knowledge that this 2018 edition is the best in a long and historic franchise history – if not one of the best in MLB history.
As for the Dodgers, they could lose Kershaw as well as Manny Machado, who was solid during the regular season but was a mess in the postseason, both unproductive and at the center of negative attention. (Also intended for the Free Agency: Lefty Hyun-jin Ryu, who had a fantastic, though broken season injury, and catcher Yasmani Grandal, whose share was destroyed faster than Enron by his unpredictable play behind this court this month. )
More difficult for Los Angeles than coping with these potential defects, however, could be the psychological burden of losing the World Series series. The title Drought is now 31 years old. Although the Dodgers are an excellent team with an excellent farm system and a lot of good junior staff, the windows can not stay open forever. In both seasons they had the misfortune to meet in the final stages on transcendent opponents. But the luck that helped them win six straight Dutch crowns and two pennants could also be scarce.