Los Angeles loses at home two years in a row, this time to Boston Red Sox in five games
Following in the footsteps of the other recent championship matchups, the 2018 World Series did not disappoint. It included the longest game in World Series history, frequent pitching changes and faithful fans rooting from each coast. The big two market teams –– the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers –– collided in a clash-of-the-titans type match.
The first two games of the series took place in Boston’s famous Fenway Park, where the east coast’s chilly winds appeared to get the best of the California team. Each team’s ace, Boston’s Chris Sale and L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw, started off the series. Game one quickly swung in favor of Sale and the Red Sox, as they took over to beat three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw.
Boston outfielder Andrew Benintendi recorded four hits in five at-bats and scored three runs while fan-favorite J.D. Martinez drove home two runs early in the contest. On the Dodgers’ side, long time veterans Matt Kemp and Justin Turner stood out. Kemp hit a home run over the Green Monster, and Turner had three hits on the night. Shortstop Manny Machado knocked in three runs for L.A. and tied the game in the fifth inning on a sacrifice groundout.
Pinch-hitting for the Sox in the seventh inning was Eduardo Nunez who tacked on a three-run homer to seal the Dodgers’ game one fate, 8-4 Red Sox. The Dodgers struggled to overcome defensive errors and the two clubs ended up using a combined 12 pitchers.
Game two proved to be just as challenging for Los Angeles as temperatures dropped even lower, and Red Sox leftie David Price redeemed himself for his second postseason win. Price was previously winless in his first 10 postseason starts. His victories with Boston were the first of his playoff career.
The Red Sox struck first, as second baseman Ian Kinsler drove shortstop Xander Bogaerts home on a line drive single in the second inning. Though Price kept the Dodgers hitless through the first three innings, he wavered in the fourth and gave L.A. a 2-1 lead after loading the bases.
Price’s Red Sox came to his aid though, loading up the bases for themselves in the fifth inning. First baseman Steve Pearce was walked home for Boston’s second run, and Martinez lived up to the hype as he broke the fifth-inning tie with a two-run single –– the defining hit that rocketed the Sox to an important second victory of the series.
The longest game in World Series history proved to be just what the Dodgers needed to steal a game back from Boston when the team returned home to L.A. The 18-inning Game three started off slowly — only one run was scored in seven innings. Dodgers rookie pitcher Walker Buehler was the star of the night for L.A. on defense, as he shut out the Sox through a full seven.
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. tied the game with a solo home run off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the eighth inning. The game remained knotted until Boston pulled ahead with a run in the thirtieth. The glory was short-lived however, as the boys in blue responded with a run of their own at the bottom of that same inning.
Exhausting their rosters, both teams were forced to use unusual rotations deep into the night. The Red Sox put catcher Christian Vazquez at first base and the Dodgers even utilized Kershaw to pinch-hit. Ultimately, Max Muncy was the hero for L.A. His walk-off home run finally ended Game three in the bottom of the 18th inning — after seven and a half hours of play.
Though Game three ended early in the morning of the same day that game four was set to start, Los Angeles’ joy did not carry over to that night.
The Dodgers’ bats were on full display as they struck for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a ground ball to the first baseman. L.A.’s Enrique Hernandez was thrown out at home base, but an error by Vasquez, Boston’s catcher, allowed Turner to score for the first run of the game. Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig capitalized on the two men left on base by clobbering a three-run home run to put his team up to 4-0.
Boston responded two innings later with a pinch-hit, three-run homer of its own by Mitch Moreland, cutting the Dodgers’ lead down to one run. The Sox continued the slug-fest with a solo homer by Pearce in the eighth and by a massive five-run inning in the top of the ninth. The Dodgers came up with two more runs in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to catch their opponents.
Boston finalized its dominant postseason run in game five by winning their fourth championship title since 2004, making it the first MLB club to collect four rings in 15 seasons. The Red Sox faced Kershaw for the second time, and once again got the better of L.A.’s ace. Each of Boston’s five runs came off home runs: Pearce’s two-run drive in the first inning, Mookie Betts’ solo in the sixth, Martinez’s single shot in the seventh and Pearce’s second of the night in the eighth. The Dodgers were only able to tack one run on the board with a solo home run by third baseman David Freese. Boston’s manager, Alex Cora, also made history as the first Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series title and the fifth rookie manager with a title under his belt.
Now that the kings of the 2018 MLB season have been officially crowned, let the countdown to 2019 Spring Training begin –– only 97 days until pitchers and catchers report.
Written by: Kennedy Walker — firstname.lastname@example.org