Boston Red Sox Advance to 2018 ALCS
Normally thunderous, the Yankee Stadium crowd was unusually subdued for Games 3 and 4 of the 2018 ALDS. The Red Sox had snatched the soul out of baseball’s perennial franchise, winning a thrilling Game 4 to secure the ALDS and advance to their first League Championship Series since 2013. For Red Sox first-baseman Steve Pearce, the emotion of beating a bitter rival in the postseason is remarkably delightful.
“The Red Sox were my favorite team growing up,” said Pearce, the player who caught the ball at first base to end the game. “Beating the Yankees to advance to the ALCS, it is a dream come true.”
Red Sox Bats Come Alive in Yankee Stadium
The 108-win Red Sox boasted MLB’s best offense this past season. As a team, they led the league in runs (876), hits (1509), RBI (829), and batting average (.268). Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, two of Boston’s pivotal hitters and AL MVP candidates, led the big leagues in batting average hitting .346 and .330 respectively.
In Boston’s last two postseason appearances, they lost in the ALDS, after producing the third best record in the American League. The big concern was the lack of offensive production from their top players, particularly Betts. In 2016 against the Cleveland Indians, Boston got swept only putting up seven runs in three games. The 2017 ALDS against the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros wasn’t much better for the Red Sox, as they lost in four games.
This 2018 version of the Red Sox were ready to redeem themselves. And what better place than Yankee Stadium for your batters to produce. In Game 3, the Red Sox destroyed the Yankees 16-1, where 10 different batters generated at least one hit. Game 4 was much of the same, as Boston got after Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia early on, giving up four earned runs. For the series, Betts had five hits and hit .313/.353/.438. It is a satisfying feeling for the Red Sox manager Alex Cora to have a complete team to rely on to get timely hits.
“It took 26 guys to win this series,” stated Cora. “Like I’ve been saying all along, we’re a complete team, and we count on everybody to win games. The last two games, if you think about it, it was fun to watch.”
Red Sox Look to Take Historic ALDS Performance into ALCS
The Red Sox had to face a ton of adversity leading up to their ALDS square off with the Yankees. The Yankees also possessed a high-powered offense, led by home run hitters Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees also have one of the best bullpens in baseball, producing a 2.80 ERA throughout the season. Particularly against New York, Boston’s bullpen had a lot of question marks, giving up over five earned runs on average against the Yankees this season.
But once the series got going, those concerns evaporated. The Red Sox outhit and outscored the Yankees. In the elimination Game 4, the Red Sox bullpen gave up zero runs, and Cora even rolled the dice to allow their ace Chris Sale to pitch an inning. Clearly, Cora had better bullpen management than his opposing manager Aaron Boone, who came into the series with more of an edge in that department.
More importantly, the Red Sox made history against their bitter rivals. In Game 3, pinch-hitter Brock Holt would become the first player in postseason history to hit for the cycle. It is often said that legends are made in October and the unlikeliest of players produce the most historical moments. Holt would definitely fit into that category.
“This one I’ll remember for a long time,” said Holt. “Obviously, you don’t go into the game expecting to make history or do anything like that, but let alone score 16 runs against a good New York Yankee team. So it was a good night overall for everyone.”
For the 11th time in franchise history, the Red Sox will compete in the ALCS. This time, it is a rematch of last year’s ALDS against the Astros. The Astros have yet to lose a game after sweeping the Indians in the ALDS.
While the defending champs will be an uphill battle for any team to face this postseason, the Red Sox have to be confident with their team. More importantly, they can take intense gratification that they dethroned a bitter rival in the Yankees, a team that they have beaten four consecutive times at Yankee Stadium.
Celebrate well, Boston.
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