World Series champs!! The Red Sox finished things off in five games, giving them their third straight gentlemen’s sweep and winning them a damn championship. David Price was the story of this game, and though he wasn’t the only performer he’s the guy we’ll all remember. Pitching on short rest and having thrown either in-game or in the bullpen in each of the last two games, the lefty tossed an absolute gem. He outdueled Clayton Kershaw and then some, lasting seven-plus innings and allowing just one run. It’s, frankly, impossible for me in this moment to articulate how impressive this start was. Throw in a pair of homers for Steve Pearce and a homer each for Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, and that’s game. That’s season. That’s a championship.
The theme for the Red Sox this postseason has been clear: When you see a chance to put your opponent away — whether that be in an individual game or in a series — you do it. Don’t mess around, don’t save for the future. Put them away when you get the chance. Go for the jugular. Go all-in. However you want to phrase it, it’s how Alex Cora has operated all month, and there was little reason to expect otherwise with his team having a chance to win the whole damn thing with a win on Saturday. It started with his pitching decision before the game, and the Red Sox were looking to back that up with some early runs to hold the momentum from Saturday’s Game Four.
They did exactly that. After Mookie Betts continued his struggles and contributed a leadoff out, Andrew Benintendi showed off strong hitting against Clayton Kershaw with a solid single through the middle the infield. That brought up Steve Pearce, the biggest hero of that Game Four comeback. He picked up exactly where he left off and helped the Red Sox get that early lead for which they were searching. Kershaw left a fastball belt-high over the outer half of the plate, and Pearce got his arms extended and the bat around. He blasted a no-doubt shot out to left-center field, and three batters into the game they were holding a 2-0 lead.
Boston couldn’t keep their foot on the gas after that, and David Price had to settle for the two-run cushion as he took the mound for his first inning of work. The Red Sox lefty was a major wildcard heading into this game, appearing on short rest having started Game Two, coming out in relief in Game Three and warming up in Game Four. It was admirable that he was taking the mound, and we saw him excel under similar circumstances in the ALCS Game Five, but you just never know.
As it turns out, things got off to as rough a start as possible, too. On his very first pitch of the game, Price let a fastball stay a bit too close to belt-level on the outer half, and David Freese was ready for it. The Dodgers leadoff man went the other way with it and sent it over the fence, and just like that the lead was cut in half. Price then walked Justin Turner on five pitches in the next at bat, and it seemed things were going to be rough. He settled down in a big way from there, though.
The lefty got a double play and a strike out to end that first inning, then started to hit his groove. There were some small command issues here and there throughout the night for the Red Sox starter, but by and large Price was on his game all night after that first inning. He allowed just a single in the second before he actually got into some trouble in the third.
This wasn’t his fault, though it was from Freese again. This time, the Dodgers righty hit a fly ball out towards deep-ish right field, but it looked routine. That was before J.D. Martinez lost the ball in the twilight and let it sail over his head. There was nothing that could be done, and Freese found himself gifted with a one-out triple. This was the chance for L.A. to tie, but Turner grounded out and Enrique Hernandez flew out, stranding Freese 90 feet from the plate. No harm, no foul.
That was the point when Price entered cruise control. After escaping that jam, he tossed 1-2-3 innings in the fourth, and then the fifth, and then again in the sixth. You really couldn’t expect anything more than Price in this start.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox couldn’t keep up the offense they showed in that first inning, and Kershaw settled into a groove of his own. He didn’t look as impressive as Price, and the Red Sox were making some solid contact that just wasn’t finding the right parts of the field. Either way, bad luck or no, the runs just weren’t there. In fact, after that first inning the Red Sox managed just one baserunner on a single over the next four frames, and that runner was quickly taken off the bases with a double play.
Finally, in the sixth, the Red Sox were able to get back on the board and give their pitchers a little bit more of a cushion. Even better: Those stars that have been so absence were the ones who started to get the much-needed insurance. In that sixth, it was Betts. He got his first hit in L.A., and it wasn’t a cheapie. The soon-to-be AL MVP smoked a solo homer, and the Red Sox doubled their lead. With Kershaw still on the mound in the seventh, Boston added one more off the Dodgers starter with a solo shot from Martinez. 4-1 Sox.
After Price came up to bat with two on and two out in the seventh (and ended the inning), he obviously came out for the bottom half of the frame. Somehow, some way, he got another quick inning too.
It was at this point that Price was starting to gain some serious World Series MVP buzz, so of course Pearce had to quiet that down. The man did the damn thing again, smashing his second homer of the game to extend the lead to four.
Price then came out to start the eighth, but after issuing a leadoff walk his night was done and Joe Kelly was coming in. All he did was strike out all three batters he faced to end the inning. Three more outs to go...
Coming in to try for those last three outs? Chris Sale. What did he do? He struck out the god damn side. Unbelievable. That was it. The Red Sox won it all.
And.....there’s nothing left! The Red Sox have conquered everything thrown in front of them and they came out on top. For the last time in 2018....This. Team.