BY JOSH COOK
Clayton Kershaw and the Disappointing Dodgers struck again and fell short of a World Series title for the second year in a row, and by more games this time.
The Red Sox were the best team in baseball all year long and they weren’t going to let anything get in the way of that. I haven’t seen a team dominate their way through the regular season and post-season like that, ever. Their run deserves a recap.
After finishing the regular season 108-54 (very good and the best in the league this year), the Red Sox made quick work of a good Yankees team, beating them 3-1 in a four-game series. The Yankees were able to take game two, 6-2, but lost by a combined 25-8 in the other three games.
In the next round, the Red Sox took on the defending-champion Astros, who were fresh off a sweep of the Indians in the ALDS. After losing game one 7-2, the Red Sox outscored the Astros 27-14 in the last four games of the series to advance to the World Series with a 4-1 series win.
The last obstacle in the Red Sox’ return to glory was the Dodgers. The Los Angeles Dodgers who were certainly primed to win. I mean, how many times can you come so close and not get over that hump? For the Dodgers, as many as is necessary.
The Red Sox really didn’t miss a step anywhere. The Dodgers fought hard, they really did. In my opinion, they actually played quite well. It’s nearly unfathomable to me that the Red Sox only lost one game in the World Series. As the tournament got narrowed down, and things should have gotten harder and harder, the Sox continued to take care of business and win over 75% of their games.
Games one and two of the series saw Boston secure home victories to head to LA up 2-0. After the longest game in World Series history (a seven-hour and twenty-minute game three that saw the lowest total run count of the Red Sox entire playoff run) ended with Max Muncy hitting a walk-off home run to get the Dodgers a win, the Sox returned to their duty at hand.
Despite the Dodgers’ best effort in game four, one which saw them up 4-0 heading into the 7th inning, the Red Sox offense exploded late to plate nine runs in only nine outs to eventually win 9-6. Game five looked like more of the last three innings of game four, as the Red Sox scored two runs in the top of the first off of Kershaw and never relinquished that lead.
Chris Sale came in the game for a “save-like” opportunity and, unlike Clayton Kershaw, pitched excellently. Sale used his signature slider to strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth, sitting down Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez, and Manny Machado to claim the title for Boston.
Including the 3-2 loss in game three, the Red Sox outscored LA 28-15 en route to a 4-1 series win. That left the Red Sox 11-3 in their post-season run and completely worthy of a champagne party and special hats with patches on the side.
The Red Sox are set up to compete to the same tune again next year. Their roster is deep, young and, for now, under contract. However, it could be a challenge for them to keep this roster together going into 2020 as players get older and deserve more money. With Chris Sale and David Price costing big money, they’ll certainly have decisions to make roster-wise.
The Dodgers are set up to compete again next year as well. The unfortunate part for them is that it is becoming clear to some (ESPN analysts) that they can’t win the World Series with the roster they have. They seem to still be a couple position players shy of having the kind of lineup they need, a couple back-end arms short of the type of bullpen they need, and it seems like they need an ace who can pitch better than Clayton Kershaw has in the playoffs. He continues to pitch at a hall-of-fame caliber right up until when it matters.
Admittedly, Kershaw pitched better overall in the playoffs this year than he has in the past, but he still laid two duds in there during their title loss to the Red Sox. Kershaw has an opt-out and could try to play for another team. The question will be: How much value is there in the market for a Cy Young quality pitcher who throws like an AA reliever when the lights get bright?