Almanac Baseball: Done My Pennants

The MLB Pennant races are done. The Red Sox prevailed in the ALCS with a stunning 4-1 series victory over the Astros. In the NLCS it went to Game 7 before the Dodgers got their back-to-back outcome. One can only hope they repeat the effort from last year and go on to lose the World Series. But more on that later.

 

The ALCS wrapped up without the Red Sox requiring a return to Fenway Park. In Game 1, the worst fears for all Red Sox fans came to the fore. The Astros sent their ace, Justin Verlander, to the mound and his 6 inning effort eclipsed the 4 that Chris Sale got through. Sale was clearly in a lot of pain and received treatment straight after the game. Both starters gave up 2 runs but it was a 9th inning 4 run explosion by the Astros that showed why they are the reigning champs. After such a great season, many Sox fans were dreading whether they were seeing it all unravel.

 

Alas, the run of wins from Games 2 to 5 were simply sublime. The Red Sox strung together four great wins that took them from leveling the series at Fenway to a sweep in Houston that combined even contributions from starters and the bullpen to some great hitting. MVP Jackie Bradley Jr came up clutch when needed. His go-ahead 2 run homer in Game 4 was as good as anything I’ve seen in a long time. One could only think of Big Papi (David Ortiz) and what he did in 2013 as a comparison. Indeed, watching Papi jump around a TV studio reacting to the hit was so joyful to behold.

 

While JBJ’s hitting was awe inspiring, what David Price did on the mound in Game 5 took it up a notch. I sat there watching this maestro demolish one of the best offensive lineups in recent years and absolutely loved it. Verlander was in great touch too and threatening to repeat his Game 1 heroics, thereby sending the series back to Fenway, but Price went deeper than Sale (6 innings versus 4) and got vital outs that took the wind out of any Astros counteroffensive. When Rafael Devers clubbed a 3 run dinger off Verlander in the 6th it was clear the Sox were on their way to their first World Series since 2013.

 

In the NLCS, the Dodgers wore down the Brewers to get themselves in a position to redeem themselves after losing to the Astros last year. I’d like to be able to go into detail about how they masterfully powered through this series, but I just can’t muster the energy. I have not been impressed by them at all in this postseason. I felt the Brewers were a better side and the result hasn’t altered my view. Kershaw is a gun, but we’ve known that for a long time. Their bullpen is very solid no doubt. Giving Cody Bellinger the MVP, however, has just reinforced my view. I made the argument on Twitter that the Dodgers have too many overpaid journeymen and this bloke is Exhibit A. However, they have made it through and the Sox can’t take anything for granted.

 

Sox have already announced that Chris Sale has recovered and will take the mound Game 1. I assume Kershaw will get the nod. He closed out Game 7 without raising a sweat. The Red Sox came out of the regular season with the best record in the majors. They won 16 more games than the Dodgers. They are a great team, led by a genius manager. Mustn’t count chickens yet, but the signs are good that the Commissioner’s Trophy is heading back to Boston.

 

On Wednesday morning the first ever Red Sox – Dodgers World Series will commence. I still remember the joy of seeing them win it in Game 6 in 2013 – the first time they had ever won a World Series at home. That was the first year John Farrell led them. This year is the first year for Alex Cora. I am a man of faith so I declare solemnly In Cora We Trust.

 

About

Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

Comments

  1. george smith says:

    2 Collingwood types with an eye on redemption. Good omens for our mob, with an eye on the future.

    As far as political machinations go, there is no Trump heartland involved as there was last year – Houston, and Cleveland the year before, letting us liberal elites know how much we are despised by them real Americans. Could the election in 2016 have changed if the Cleveland Indians got past the Chicago Cubs leading to sweetness and light in a major swing state instead of bitterness and despair?

    For once we have two liberal heartland teams, Boston and Los Angeles, which will nullify any political fallout this time, probably just as well. Alistair Cook was always telling us to go to Butt Cheek, Indiana, rather than Los Angeles or New York if we wanted to understand America. Gee I miss him.

  2. Been a while since these two teams last fought out a series.

    Last time these two teams met in the decider was in 1916 when the Dodgers were based in Brooklyn and at the time were called the Robins. Future Yankee manager Casey Stengel was a star for Brooklyn but in the end they lost the series 4-1. For the Red Sox, future home run champion Babe Ruth (then their main pitcher) was a star on the mound pitching 13 shutout innings in game 2. Although Fenway Park had been built by this stage the Sox played their home games for this series at Braves Field (the Braves being initially based in Boston before Milwaukee and later Atlanta).

    Thus concludes another episode of Useless Trivia for the day.

  3. Thanks for this, Brian.

    I miss Big Papi. He was a much better hitter than he is an analyst.

  4. Thanks for that trivia, Adam.
    I am always perversely fascinated by the history of American franchises and their relocations.

  5. No worries, Smokie.

    As you probably know Brooklyn weren’t the first to move (pretty sure the Boston Braves were the first of the MLB teams to move after the ’53 season) but they certainly capture more interest than others. Only recently read about the Seattle Pilots – one of the later expansion teams that survived for only one season (1969) before moving from the aptly named Sicks Stadium to Milwaukee where they became the Brewers.

  6. george smith says:

    Congratulations Boston Red Sox, the Collingwood of American Baseball (losing from impossible positions at the last minute) for winning the 2018 Baseball World Series. Hopefully it’s a good omen for our mob for next year, to seek revenge on those who thwarted us at the last minute…

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