If there’s one thing that remained constant this baseball season it would be the Boston Red Sox offense. An offense that has Mookie Betts leading off, followed by Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez how could the offense be anything below great. The offense is essentially what led the Boston Red Sox to their ninth World Series Championship and their first since 2013.
Don’t get me wrong, Boston has great starting pitching. Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello have all had very successful careers in the MLB. However, Boston’s offense is what drove them to a World Series title.
In the regular season Boston’s offense batted a team combined .268 with an on base percentage of .339. Slugger J.D. Martinez who started his career in Houston and was released after the 2013 season by the Astros due to not producing any offense at all. Martinez who was signed by the Red Sox in the offseason, quickly turned his career around and with this past year had a career high in home runs with 43, and RBI’s with 130.
As the Red Sox slugged their way through the year, they ended with the best record in baseball. Going 108-54 on the season Boston moved right into the top spot in the AL. They also held the top spot in the AL East for the majority of the season.
In a transitional year with new manager Alex Cora, no one expected him to win 108 games. Cora ended up pressing all the right buttons this year and it showed in the postseason as well. A Boston bullpen that could be regarded as the worst bullpen out of all the playoff teams, Cora used his starters strategically out of the bullpen in the World Series. Baseball fans know that using a team’s starting pitching out of the bullpen in the regular season is a rarity. It only started to happen in the postseason recently to preserve wins at all cost. Using Sale in game 7 in the ninth which was expected to happen, but also using Nate Eovaldi and Porcello out of the bullpen when they were in need of trustworthy arms in crucial situations.
Cora used Eduardo Nunez and Mitch Moreland as pinch hitters and they both came up big. Nunez in game 1 of the World Series crushed a screaming line drive into the monster seats in Fenway for a three-run homer. With this home run, Nunez gave the Red Sox a four-run cushion to win the game.
In game 4 of the World Series Boston found themselves down 4-0 in the top of the seventh. Cora once again going to his bench called on Mitch Moreland to come up big for his club. Moreland came up to the plate swinging and deposited the first pitch from Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson into the right center field seats. On Moreland’s home run the score became 4-3 and with the Red Sox down one the homer sparked a rally giving the Red Sox a 9-6 win.
Both pinch hit home runs made Cora look like a genius. What also helps Cora’s case as one of the best first year managers is he became the first manger from Puerto Rico to win a World Series. Cora managed a team that now becomes the third most winning team in a season including regular and post season combined. The Red Sox won 119 games total this year falling one short of the 2001 Mariners who won 120 and six short of the 1998 Yankees who had 125 wins. Even falling short of those two great teams’ records, this years Red Sox will be looked upon as one of the most dominant teams in MLB history.
J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts who are likely one and two in the AL MVP vote and Cy Young candidate Chris Sale are all suitable choices for the World Series MVP award. At least one would think.
Due to an outstanding performance by Steve Pearce it was a no brainer that he was the most deserving recipient of the World Series MVP. In game 4 he blasted a solo shot in the eighth inning and whacked a three-run double in the ninth that gave Boston the 9-6 win.
Pearce in game 5 alone could have won the World Series MVP with two huge home runs. The first one came off of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw in the first inning giving the Red Sox a quick 2-0 lead. In the eighth inning Pearce stepped up to the plate again this time against Pedro Baez and blasted a solo shot over the wall.
Pearce in the World Series went 4 for 12 and drove in eight runs. He delivered when it counted with a batting average of .333 and a slugging percentage of 1.167.
When looking at the Red Sox team, Pearce does not stand out. He hides behind guys like Mookie Betts and Chris Sale. With Pearce winning the World Series MVP proves how the Red Sox play together as a team. Every player one through nine showed up in every game.
Cora and GM Dave Dombrowski built a winning culture in Boston. Cora inherited the team Dombrowski pieced together as it all fell into place. Whether it was signing J.D. Martinez in the offseason or it was key additions at the trade deadline, Dombrowski made the right decisions to have a successful team.
There is no doubt in any baseball fans mind that the Boston Red Sox are here to do damage for years to come. They have a great group of players and they all play together as one. Boston grinded all year hardly slowing down once.
As Neil Diamond says every eighth inning at Fenway as the harmonies of Sweet Caroline ring out from Boston’s faithful “good times never seemed so good” holds true if you’re a Boston Red Sox fan in 2018.