After finishing the regular season with baseball’s best record, the Boston Red Sox made quick work of their postseason opponents, eventually cruising to a World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in just five games.
Their victory in 2018 marks the fourth time since the turn of the century that the Red Sox have won the World Series, winning previously in 2004, 2007 and 2013.
The Dodgers suffered an unfortunate fate, as they were forced to watch another club celebrate on their field for the second World Series in a row. After battling in seven games to win the NL pennant and defeat the Brewers, the Dodgers never really threatened to win this series.
Now, they face the possibility of Clayton Kershaw, perhaps the greatest pitcher of his generation, opting out of his contract next season and testing free agency with no rings and an inflated postseason ERA.
Though the Red Sox did win 108 games, more than any other team this season, many felt that their roster did not match up well against the Yankees, their ALDS opponent, or the Astros, their ALCS opponent. In both of those series, some viewed the top-seeded Red Sox as underdogs, albeit by a small margin.
Boston, however, never lost more than one game in any series during their championship run, and their only loss in the World Series came after an 18-inning marathon in Game three that ended on a Max Muncy walk-off solo homer.
Surprisingly, Boston’s usual stars were not the players who pushed them over the edge in the postseason. Outfielder Mookie Betts—the probable AL MVP—had a fairly quiet postseason for the most part, managing just 13 hits in 70 plate appearances. Players for whom expectations were lower, like first baseman Steve Pearce, starting pitcher David Price and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., provided timely hits and dominant performances when Boston needed them most.
Pearce, who was named World Series MVP, hit a combined three home runs between the two final games of the World Series, thrusting himself into Red Sox lore and into the hearts of fans. The 35-year-old Pearce has been a bit of a journeyman throughout his career, playing for every AL East team, and he only joined Boston midway through this season. Needless to say, his breakout was unexpected.
Bradley Jr., who slashed .234/.314/.403 in the regular season, took home series MVP in the ALCS after driving in nine runs on just three hits.
Price, who once found himself on the receiving end of frequent criticism from Red Sox fans, struggled in the postseason throughout his career before finding his stride this year, when he strung together multiple quality playoff starts and allowed just three runs across 13.2 World Series innings.
Perhaps the sheer dominance the Red Sox enjoyed this postseason came due to a bit of good fortune along the way, as their hitting rate with two outs and runners in scoring position would not be sustainable for a full season. Neither the Yankees, Astros nor Dodgers were pushovers, though, and no team wins 108 games without a ridiculously deep and talented roster.