Boston, Massachusetts - On Alex Cora's forty-third birthday yesterday, the first year manager had a lot to celebrate as he became the third manager since the expansion era of baseball to coach in the World Series during his first year at the helm of the team.
After dropping the first game of the ALCS, the Boston Red Sox roared back to win four games in a row, including three in a row on the road, against the reigning World Series champions, the Houston Astros, in a series that many analysts predicted would result in the opposite outcome.
The Astros were certainly favored in the series with some baseball experts predicting they would sweep or come close to sweeping the Red Sox. But Boston never really gave them the chance.
In Game Five, Marwin Gonzalez hit a home run, but it was the only offense Houston could muster against stellar pitching performances from two of the arms fans were most concerned about in the post-season. David Price seemed to exorcise some playoff demons by pitching six scoreless innings against one of the most potent offenses in the history of baseball, en route to claiming his first post-season win. He pitched on short rest, too, filling in for an ailing Chris Sale. His performance was nothing short of phenomenal.
Craig Kimbrel, the closer, also came through as he slammed the door on any potential for a Houston rally in the ninth inning as he only allowed one baserunner.
Boston's offense came from two home runs off of Justin Verlander. J.D. Martinez socked the first one to left field in the top of the third inning. In the sixth, with Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler on base, Rafael Devers also went to left field for a three-run home run. Boston never looked back.
It is the first World Series appearance for Boston since they won it in six games in 2013 and the 2018 Fall Classic will begin on Tuesday. As for the ALCS, Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named MVP and the pennant is already flying on Jersey Street. Go Red Sox!