The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Red Sox: 2018 World Series Champions

The city of Boston has officially added yet another championship banner with the Red Sox toppling the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night. The Red Sox have had an incredibly successful run in the past 20 years or so, winning the championship in the 2004, 2007, 2013, and now the 2018 season. This team, however, stands tall as one of the most dominant baseball teams ever assembled.

The Red Sox’ squads of the past few years has been comprised of similar parts, yet this was the season they were able to retain their regular season success without imploding in the post-season. In 2016, David Ortiz’s final season, Mookie Betts emerged as one of baseball’s best young talents in addition to all-star seasons from Xander Bogarts and Jackie Bradley Jr. However, they were swept quickly by the Cleveland Indians who ran through the AL only to meet a Cubs team destined to win the championship that year. The next season, they went out and got themselves an ace in Chris Sale, yet again, they failed to advance past the ALDS running into the buzz saw that is the Houston Astros.

Reeling from past disappointments, the Sox hit the ground running for the 2018 season. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski sought a big bat during the offseason to fill the palpable hole left behind by fan favorite and Boston legend Ortiz, signing JD Martinez to a 5-year deal and effectively adding a surge of power to the lineup. After getting out to quick start, the Red Sox gained a stranglehold as top dog in the AL and never relented. With a sizable lead over the second place Yankees midseason, the Sox did not settle with their roster and began making savvy moves to improve their quality of depth.

Starting in late June, the Sox started making moves adding veteran first baseman Steven Pearce as another body to put behind Mitch Moreland after dropping Hanley Ramirez early in the season. Next, Boston moved pitching prospect Jalen Beeks to Tampa Bay in exchange for starter Nathan Eovaldi, as the rotation was beginning to thin and the move to preserve arms for the postseason was already in motion. Finally, second baseman Ian Kinsler was pulled from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for pitching prospects and cash considerations, giving the team an everyday second basemen in lieu of team leader Dustin Pedroia’s on field absence.

Each one of these moves was vital to the ultimate achievement of overcoming the playoff demons the team has been plagued with the past few seasons. Steven Pearce, eventual World Series MVP, was all around brilliant in the post season, driving the nail into the 2018 Dodgers’ coffin. Eovaldi was exactly what the Sox needed in the playoffs, bouncing back from a tough game 2 against the Yankees to pitch a gem while the offense went ballistic on the Yankees pitchers. Eovaldi maintained his excellence throughout the playoffs, as a starter and reliever, posting a 1.61 ERA. Kinsler, the game changing World Series folly aside, gave the Sox valuable experience and solid production at a position they were thin at, allowing Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez to return to their roles as super utilities players instead of platooning at second base.

After dominating the regular season en route to a 108-win season, the Sox stared down rival New York Yankees in the ALDS. After a close game one win and a disheartening game 2 loss, Aaron Judge played Frank Sinatra leaving Boston blaring “New York, New York” feeling confident going back to the new Yankees stadium. The Sox demolished the Yankees that game 3, taking the life from them and never looking back, closing the series out in 4 games and hitting New York with a gentleman’s sweep.

The next round, the defending champion Houston Astros visited Boston for the ALCS, splitting the two games in Fenway in tight contests. The series never made it back to Fenway though, as Alex Bregman taunted the Sox and Nathan Eovaldi on his Instagram story. Houston proceeded to be another victim of the gentleman’s sweep, losing three consecutives in Minute Maid Park.

In the World Series, Boston beat the Dodgers in two well played games in Fenway, but had to go LA for the next three games and completely change their game plan, requiring the pitcher to hit. After an emotionally exhausting 18 inning game, complete with an inspiring Nathan Eovaldi performance regardless of the loss it ended in, Boston would not be denied. The city is no stranger to big comebacks in the most important game of the year, and in true Beantown fashion, came back from a 4-0 deficit in the final three innings of game 4, ending with a 9-6 win for the Sox. Game 5 started and ended with excellence from the Sox, as the whole team put together a brilliant performance behind David Price’s electric start, with Chris Sale striking out Manny Machado to end the season as a touch of poetic justice due to his storied rivalry with the franchise.

The 2018 Red Sox were simply sports dominance. They began, they remained, and they finished completely unstoppable. They did not settle when they could have, they faced down their playoff anguish of the past and put together an unforgettable run through October. Every member of the team contributed, and the fact that previously nationally unknown Steven Pearce emerged as the hero is the perfect ending to a beautiful season. They had Mookie Betts, the young stud in right field who outplayed all expectations to be at least baseball’s second-best player. They had JD Martinez, the big bat for hire, who more then proved his worth on his gaudy contract with an MVP worthy season. They had the lights out aces, Chris Sale and David Price, both fantastic in the regular and post season. But the team was also filled with the little guys, who did their job, filled their role, and carried this team to timeless glory.

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