2018 World Series exciting but painfully predictable

Trevor Anderson, Sports Editor

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The Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games and took home the World Series trophy on Oct. 24, 2018, in a match that was slated in the Sox’s favor from the beginning. This was their fourth title since the turn of the century: winning is clearly nothing new to one of baseball’s most established teams. Boston seemed in control in the postseason, winning 11 of 14 games and handily securing a spot in the Series. The Sox also had an incredible regular season, winning a stunning 108 games, and managed to take down two preseason favorites on their way to the Series: the defending champs of the Astros and the “Evil Empire” of the Yankees.

It’s a shame that the Dodgers made it to the Series twice in a row and had their hopes dashed twice. But who in all seriousness could have them slated to come out on top against the likes of Xander Bogaerts, David Price, Mookie Betts, and the World Series MVP Steve Pearce? The Dodgers’ best pitcher is clearly Clayton Kershaw, but the ace gave up five runs on seven hits in a dismal first game. Other Dodger’s stars like Manny Machado and Corey Seager didn’t play to their potential in the Series. Machado, who has a habit of obnoxious baserunning, recently against the Brewers in the National League Championship Series, failed to get popular support. He even drew criticism from Jim Palmer, a former Hall of Fame pitcher. Chris Sale wasn’t doing his best that night, but the Sox’s hitting was unstoppable. In a weak statement, LA’s pitching coach Rick Honeycutt complained about a “brutal” bullpen atmosphere.The fans at Fenway are barely 3 feet away from the visiting team’s bullpen, and as such, he thinks Kershaw and other Dodgers were rattled by the proximity to aggressive fans. This may be true in some regard, but it’s a cop-out to blame the loss of one of the biggest games of the season on bullpen conditions. Lots of Major League parks have odd quirks that players have to deal with, but it’s just part of the game.

Boston was a favorite to win the Series from the start. They had a lot of talent and an absolutely incredible record, with 119 total wins — a franchise record and the third-best in baseball history, behind the ‘98 Yankees and the ‘01 Mariners. The 2018 Sox are one of the greatest teams in the history of baseball. While the Yankees have a reputation as a strong dynasty, their 27 World Series wins are, for the most part, thickly coated in the dust of the 20th century. The Red Sox, however, have been ultimately victorious in 4 times in the 2000s alone. This is partially due to their mammoth offense. MVP Steve Pearce hit two home runs in a single game, and the Sox combined for more than 200 home runs and 1500 hits during the course of one of their best seasons ever.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, had over 10 fewer wins and 20 more losses than the Sox, bringing their win percentage to a little over .500. Meanwhile, the Sox steamrolled through nearly all of their opponents, bringing their win percentage to over .600!

One big, unromantic contributor to the Sox’s dominance is money. Make no mistake, this World Series was not a Moneyball situation. Both teams have substantially deep pockets, but the Sox payroll on opening day was over $200 million. Compare that to the Dodgers’ relatively meager $157 million, and you have a reasonable explanation for why Boston had more to work with in terms of talent.

As a San Francisco Giants fan, I have to admit I didn’t have a whole lot of stake in this year’s Series. I didn’t particularly want Boston to win, but I really wanted LA to lose. The Giants have a bitter rivalry with the Dodgers, and LA ended up sweeping the Giants towards the end of the season. My team had one of their worst seasons in recent memory, so of course I don’t have a lot of room to talk. But I have to say, it was nice to see LA lose… again.