When Rafael Devers hit his three-run bomb off of Justin Verlander, muscling a 98 mph heater into Houston’s Crawford Boxes in the 6th inning, it really took the wind out of the sails of the Astros and their fans. At that moment, it seemed inevitable that the Red Sox would be crowned American League champions.
A dream died discreetly, when burgeoning bats were silenced and a heartbeat hobbled. Houston’s Hoss, the graying ace on which the sport’s best pitching staff rode, could bear its weight no longer, bending beneath Boston’s bats.” – The Houston Chronicle
David Price, sporting a touch of premature gray in his beard, finally earned the win that had been so elusive for so many years. Fittingly, it came on the 10th anniversary of the night he earned a save as a rookie for the Tampa Bay Rays, sending them past the Red Sox and into the 2008 World Series.
Pitching on three days’ rest for the second time in his career, Price was masterful. He surrendered just three hits and no earned runs while striking out a postseason career-best nine batters. It was the first scoreless start of his playoff career and his first postseason victory as a starting pitcher.
The difference for Price last night was supreme command of his changeup. Of his nine punchouts, four came from the offspeed pitch.
Beautiful changeup from David Price to fan Carlos Correa pic.twitter.com/mnUj8k3QHy
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) October 19, 2018
Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez hit a 3rd-inning homer off Verlander, and Price made the lead stand up into the late innings. Devers’ blast was merely the icing on the cake. Craig Kimbrel worked an uneventful 9th for his third save of the series.
Boston advanced to the World Series for the 13th time in franchise history with their fourth American league Championship in the last 15 seasons, beating two 100-win teams in the process. They’ll wait out the winner of the NLCS, where the Dodgers hold a 3-2 series lead over the Brewers with Game 6 taking place tonight in Milwaukee.
The 2004 Red Sox! pic.twitter.com/xe5YOcEDFY
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 19, 2018
Playoff News & Notes
- The Red Sox are going to the World Series for the first time since 2013, when they beat the Cardinals in six games. They host Game 1 Tuesday night at Fenway Park no matter who wins the NLCS. Chris Sale has been named the starter.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. was named ALCS Most Valuable Player despite going just 3-for-15 in the series. He connected for the go-ahead hits in two Boston wins and a game-sealing grand slam in another, totaling nine RBI, all coming with two outs. The Red Sox are 14-0 this year, including the postseason, when Bradley homers.
- So far, every playoff series winner has clinched as a road team. The Brewers are hoping to end that streak this weekend.
- The 2000 Yankees remain the last team to have won back-to-back world championships in major league baseball. They actually won three in a row.
- Former Astros superstar Lance Berkman predicted a world championship for the ‘Stros just the other day. Oh well.
- Only Mickey Mantle (4), Bryce Harper (4), Miguel Cabrera (4), Andruw Jones (4) and Devers (3) have hit three or more postseason home runs before their 23rd birthday.
- The Brewers believe the Dodgers may be using video surveillance to steal signs.
- Brewers lefty Wade Miley figures to see more than one batter in Game 6 as he tries to help Milwaukee stave off elimination tonight.
- Milwaukee outfielder Curtis Granderson is sporting a new smile.
- Former Bulls guard and current Golden State warriors head coach Steve Kerr loves baseball and is a rabid Dodgers fan.
- The Royals, Cubs, and Astros have something new in common besides the way they built their championship teams. They are reminders that it’s insanely hard to get back to the World Series the year after winning it.
Cubs News & Notes
Let’s start it off with a piping inferno of a hot take: Viva El Birdos suggests the Cardinals offer the Cubs a package of 2-3 top prospects and perhaps a current roster player or two (Paul DeJong, Jedd Gyorko, or Kolten Wong??) in exchange for Kris Bryant. This would effectively allow the Cubs to sign Bryce Harper, who probably would lose any interest in playing for a team that just traded his BEST FRIEND. My five-year old niece, who is partial to calling me “Doodie-Head” for no reason whatsoever on a regular basis, would probably (and properly) award that nickname to that writer.
Ben Zobrist hilariously waiting for next season to start is exactly what Cubs fans need right now.
Former Cubs infielder Darwin Barney is trying to bring an MLB franchise to Portland.
The Wrigleyville Taco Bell is closing on December 2 due to ongoing construction projects around the ballpark. But, thanks to Nisei Lounge, Gordita groupies will have one last chance to toast the late night gathering place with an Irish wake on Sunday, Oct. 28. I can neither confirm nor deny that John Fogerty will be there to perform a musical eulogy.
Creedence Clearwater Revival eat at Taco Bell (1969). pic.twitter.com/14uz2JSzBV
— History Lovers Club (@historylvrsclub) June 17, 2017
Baseball News & Notes
Adam Wainwright’s contract with the St. Louis Cardinals has been put on hold because it violates the maximum-cut rule, and the pitcher will have to become a free agent before the agreement can be finalized, people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will go to camp with 11 starting pitchers unless they move a few of them this winter.
Here’s a free agent wish list for each of the 30 MLB teams. Free agency starts November 1 at 9am ET.
The Orioles and the Dodgers were equally futile while hitting with two outs in 2018, but only one team let it destroy its season.
The Royals current television deal with FOX — widely believed to be one of the worst for a team in any major professional sport — expires after the 2019 season.
Great fun to see everybody trolling Dallas Keuchel for his “We’re not the Cubs” quote during Spring Training. I truly do love it. However, other than losing the championship series four games to one, there aren’t many similarities between the ’17 Cubs and the ’18 Astros. Houston (103 wins, 64-35 start) remained in first place or tied for their division lead for the entire season. The Cubs (92 wins, 43-45 start) had to fight their way back from an early season hole that allowed the Brewers to control the division until just after last year’s All-Star break.
The Astros lost to a superior team, one that is legitimately one of the best baseball squads of all time. I wouldn’t say they suffered from any type of hangover.
Astros hoping to avoid the inevitable World Series hangover.
— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports) March 8, 2018
They Said It
- “It felt good. Honestly, it really started last night in the bullpen. Threw quite a few pitches to come in for the next hitter, found something out while doing that and kind of just carried that over to today.” – David Price
- “They took it. We just ran out of wins.” – AJ Hinch
- “The confidence has always been there, I think from the day the season started, no matter how much [Bradley] struggled or not. And I think it’s just good to see the results coming in big situations for us and helping us win games.” – Xander Bogaerts
Friday Walk Up Song
Rocket Man by Elton John. So long ‘Stros. (BTW, this is actually a really cool video).