On Sunday, MLB Network ran a countdown of the best games of the 2018 season. The Red Sox played a number of great games this year, both in the regular season and during their thrilling run through the postseason, and much more often than not they came out on top. The game that has seemed to get discussed the most by Red Sox fans since they finished the job and won the World Series has been the third game of that final series. That, of course, was the marathon game that lasted 18 innings. Nathan Eovaldi pitched his ass off even in a loss with one of the guttiest, most impressive performances we’ve seen in some time. Eduardo Núñez seemed to die at least three times, but stayed in because the Red Sox had no more players. That game wasn’t number one, though.
The best game of 2018 is ALCS Game 4 between the @RedSox and @astros! #TopGames18 pic.twitter.com/QXJaxHNE4X— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 3, 2018
Instead, the number one game on MLB Network’s list was Game Four of the ALCS. I gotta say, they got this one right. Game Three of the World Series was absurd, but it wasn’t really a classic beyond the sheer length of it. Honestly, most of the extra innings were kind of boring, at least relatively speaking. Game Four of the ALCS, however, was absolutely bananas at every turn.
The Red Sox entered the game with a 2-1 series lead, and they jumped on Charlie Morton with a two-run first to take an early lead. It didn’t seem it would last too long, though, when Jose Altuve hit that fly ball to deep right field in the bottom of the first. We all know what happened next, with umpires ruling it fan interference as Mookie Betts leaped and tried to rob the blast. It was an extremely controversial call and was the story for most of the game. I still think it was probably a home run, but I also think if anyone is 100 percent confident on either side of the argument they are lying.
Anyway, the homer didn’t stand, and the Red Sox held the lead for a little bit until the Astros took it back with a two-run third inning. By the time we got to the top of the sixth, the game continued to go back-and-forth and Houston held a 5-4 lead at that point in the contest. The Red Sox started off that sixth inning with two outs, but then Christian Vazquez hit a huge double to keep the inning going, and Jackie Bradley had one of the biggest hits of the entire postseason. He blasted one out to right field for a two-run shot, and the Red Sox had their lead back.
The Red Sox then built up an 8-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel tried for a two-inning save. He got it, but it almost killed each and every one of us. He gave up a leadoff single in the eighth, but was bailed out by a phenomenal defensive play from Mookie Betts to throw out Tony Kemp trying to make it a double. He then allowed a hit by pitch and a double that led to one run, cutting the lead to two. Then, in the ninth, Kimbrel walked the bases loaded and eventually Alex Bregman came in looking for a clutch hit to at least tie the game. He looked like he had it on a line drive out to left field, but Andrew Benintendi made the catch of a lifetime. Taking a huge risk and diving for a ball that, had he missed would have won the game, he made the grab and ended the game. It was thrilling, it was terrifying, it was controversial. This game was easily the best game of the year, and gave a glimpse of just about every great thing this sport has to offer.