The Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games on Sunday night to win their fourth championship in the last fifteen years and ninth title in franchise history while cementing themselves as one of the greatest teams of all time. The Red Sox were historically dominant this year, winning 108 games in the regular season en route to their third consecutive AL East title. They then cruised through the playoffs by disposing of the 100 win Yankees in four games, 103 win defending champion Astros in five games, and defending NL Champion Dodgers in five games. They went 11-3 in the playoffs and 7-1 on the road. Now that the season is over, it’s time to reflect back on the incredible journey that led the Boston Red Sox to the 2018 World Series Championship.
October 27, 2017: Alex Cora signs three year deal to become manager of the Red Sox
Despite winning the 2013 World Series title and back to back AL East division titles in 2016-2017, there was always a feeling that the Red Sox were winning despite John Farrell and not because of him. The decision to fire Farrell and hire Cora was the first important step in the success of the 2018 Red Sox. Cora was previously a bench coach for the Houston Astros, and instantly made an impact when he joined the Red Sox. All of the players spoke very highly of him and he had a great relationship with the team. Cora brought the best out of everyone this season and his impact was undeniable.
February 26, 2018: Boston signs free agent J.D. Martinez to a 5 year $110 million deal
After David Ortiz retired in 2016, the Red Sox were dead last in the AL in home runs in 2017. There was a clear gap in the lineup, and Boston knew it needed to address it if they were seriously going to contend. Although it took longer than everyone expected, the Red Sox finally agreed to a deal with J.D. Martinez a month before the season started. Martinez was coming off a season in which he hit .303 with 45 HR and 104 RBI between the Tigers and Diamondbacks. However, given the many big name free agents that have come to Boston and failed miserably, there was no guarantee that J.D. could succeed in the ultra competitive AL East in a big market. Martinez more than proved everyone wrong by making a run at the triple crown by batting .330 with 43 HR and 130 RBI. He came up clutch in the postseason as well by hitting a HR every single round.
April 11, 2018: The Red Sox and Yankees reignite the rivalry
The 2018 season was the first in a long time in which both the Red Sox and Yankees were legitimate World Series contenders, so it was only a matter of time that the two teams would clash over the course of the season. On April 11th, Joe Kelly hit Tyler Austin and the benches cleared, reigniting a rivalry between the two teams that would eventually lead to a clash in the postseason.
April 20, 2018: The Red Sox win to start the season with a historic 17-2 record
The Red Sox historic start was foreshadowing of what was to come. After blowing the lead against Tampa Bay in the season opener, Boston was 17 of its next 18 games and was firing on all cylinders in late April. After being the only team to not hit a grand slam in 2017, the Red Sox hit six grand slams in April.
June 28, 2018: The Red Sox trade for veteran 1B/OF Steve Pearce from the Blue Jays
In what seemed like a relatively minor deal at the time, the Red Sox traded for veteran Steve Pearce to add some depth to their bench. The 35 year old had played for six different teams before joining the Red Sox, including every team in the AL East. Pearce went on to become an unlikely postseason hero by hitting three home runs in the World Series and earning World Series MVP.
July 25, 2018: Boston trades for Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays
Another mid-season trade that didn’t seem overly significant at the time turned out to pay huge dividends. The Red Sox acquired Nathan Eovaldi from Tampa Bay in exchange for Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi had great potential as a pitcher, but there were questions about his health after he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2017 season. Eovaldi turned out to be a reliable starter down the stretch while Eduardo Rodriguez was on the DL and Drew Pomeranz had been demoted to the bullpen. He came up even bigger in the playoffs. With the Red Sox tied 1-1 and having to go into Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALDS, Eovaldi turned in a masterpiece with 7 innings of 1 run ball to help the Red Sox retake control of the series. He would also go on to do the same thing in the ALCS, pitching another gem to help the Red Sox grab a 2-1 series lead against Houston.
August 1, 2018: Brian Cashman’s “Damage Quote”
Before beginning a four game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Cashman was asked about the Red Sox to which he replied with his now famous quote. At the time, the Yankees were 5-4 against Boston and outscored them 52-50, hardly a significant advantage in the series. The Red Sox would go on to use that mantra as motivation throughout their postseason run, and even trademarked the phrase “Do Damage.”
August 5, 2018: Red Sox complete four game sweep of Yankees
The Red Sox entered this showdown with a 5.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, meaning that the Yankees had to have a split at the very least to stay in the race. After taking the first three games of the series, the Red Sox came back from three runs down in the 9th to win it in the 10th and establish a commanding 9.5 game lead in the division, all but ending the race. It was the Red Sox first four game sweep of an opponent who was at least 30 games over .500 in nearly 80 years.
September 11, 2018: Red Sox clinch postseason berth
September 20, 2018: Red Sox clinch third straight AL East title at Yankee Stadium
September 24, 2018: Red Sox clinch best record in MLB, win franchise record 106th game
October 9, 2018: Red Sox defeat Yankees in 4 games to win ALDS
In what was probably their closest series of the postseason, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the teams’ first postseason clash since the legendary 2004 comeback. The two teams split the pair in Boston before the Red Sox handed the Yankees their largest postseason loss ever by winning 16-1 behind the first ever postseason cycle by Brock Holt. The Yankees became just the second team ever to have a position player pitch in the postseason in Game 3. Craig Kimbrel struggled in the series but was able to barely hold on in a thrilling one run victory in Game 4 to send the Red Sox to the ALCS.
October 18, 2018: Red Sox defeat Astros in 5 games to win ALCS
The Red Sox entered the ALCS against the defending champions as underdogs despite having the better record. After defeating Chris Sale in Game 1, it looked like Houston had all the momentum. A Game 2 win against the struggling David Price would send the Astros back home with a 2-0 series lead. However, Price was able to pitch just well enough and the Red Sox got to Gerrit Cole to earn the split in Boston after Jackie Bradley Jrs three run double gave Boston a 5-4 lead. Bradley again came up huge in Game 3 with a grand slam off Roberto Osuna to seal the 2-1 lead. With Chris Sale battling illness, David Price took the mound against Justin Verlander in Game 5 on short rest and delivered a performance for the ages to send the Red Sox to the World Series.
October 28, 2018: Red Sox defeat Dodgers in 5 games to win World Series
After facing tough tests against two 100 win teams, the Red Sox entered the World Series as a considerable favorite against the Dodgers. Boston took a 2-0 series lead before an epic Game 3 in which the Dodgers won on a walkoff home run in the 18th inning, the longest game in World Series history. The Dodgers looked to tie the series at 2-2 when they had a 4-0 lead in Game 4, but future MVP Steve Pearce tied the game in the 8th with a home run and then hit a 3 run double in the 9th to clinch the game and give the Red Sox a commanding 3-1 lead. Behind 7 strong innings from David Price and home runs by Betts, Martinez, and Pearce, the Red Sox won Game 5 and clinched their 9th title in franchise history.
The Red Sox were the best team from start to finish this year, and will go down as one of the greatest teams in MLB history.