Red Sox reign once more

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The Boston Red Sox finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games on Sunday night to secure their fourth World Championship in 15 seasons after an 86-year drought.

Their postseason record of 11-3 against one of the toughest fields in recent memory made their overall mark of 119-57 in 2018 all the more impressive. Boston dropped just one game in each of their three playoff series wins over the Yankees, Astros and finally LA.

The Red Sox set the tone early at Fenway Park to build a comfortable two-games-to-none lead right off the bat. But a marathon contest in game three gave the Dodgers hope in Southern California.

Friday night saw the longest game in World Series history both in time (seven hours) and innings (18). Each team would utilize nine pitchers before the game was over.

Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a solo shot in the top of the eighth inning to tie the game at one and set the stage for a long evening at the ballpark. After the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the thirteenth, the Dodgers put the tying run across in the bottom half as a result of a throwing error with two outs.

The rest of the night was a blur of nervous anticipation in LA until Max Muncy launched a walk-off homerun with one out in the bottom of the eighteenth. Despite the loss, Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi pitched the final six extra innings out of the bullpen and allowed just one earned run.

The rejuvenated Dodgers would keep the deadly Red Sox lineup off of the scoreboard for 11 straight innings into game four and built a 4-0 lead the following night. It appeared that LA would retaliate with two home wins to set the foundation for a tight series moving forward. Then came the explosion.

Boston’s Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce each homered late to tie the game at four. After they took the lead in the ninth, Pearce cleared the bases with a two-out double to put the game out of reach. Boston took a commanding three-games-to-one lead with a 9-6 victory. Pearce would go on to win Most Valuable Player of the World Series.

Game five was the final stop in the David Price redemption tour. The starting pitcher, who was the subject of heavy scrutiny for historically bad playoff numbers entering October despite an impressive career, capped off an excellent postseason performance with his third straight critical victory. Price allowed just three hits and a run in seven innings and out-dueled LA’s Clayton Kershaw in the season’s final game.

The Red Sox built off of an early 2-1 lead with a run in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Chris Sale, the club’s ace, checked into the game in the ninth and struck out the side in characteristic fashion to earn his first title and the ninth in team history.

Since the 2004 campaign overcame Babe Ruth’s famed curse, the Red Sox have averaged a title about every four seasons. The state of Massachusetts is responsible for 11 major sports championships since 2001 with four from the Boston Red Sox, five from the New England Patriots and one apiece from the Bruins and Celtics. There must be something in that dirty water.

On the flip side, Dodger fans in LA will continue to grow more and more restless as their drought reaches 29 years. They have come up empty despite back-to-back National League Pennants and three straight trips to the NLCS.

In week eight of the National Football League, the Houston Texans took care of business early with a decisive 42-23 home win over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.

Deshaun Watson matched a career-high with five touchdowns in the victory despite just 20 total passes. Lamar Miller added another score on the ground and complied a total of 133 yards on 18 carries.

DeAndre Hopkins hauled in two scores from Watson and came up with one of the finest catches I have seen all season with an acrobatic move in the third quarter. The problem was, the play was negated by a penalty.

Incredibly, the Texans lead the AFC South by two-and-a-half games at the season’s halfway point. The preseason favorite Jacksonville Jaguars have not won for a month and now occupy the bottom spot in the South along with the Indianapolis Colts. Houston will travel to Denver on Sunday to face the Broncos.

The Dallas Cowboys were idle in week eight, but lost ground in the division with wins from Washington and Philadelphia. The Eagles escaped a tight matchup with the Jaguars in London while first-place Washington improved to 5-2 with a road win over the struggling New York Giants.

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