Carpenter: Red Sox seek fourth World Series title since 2004


Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

Following a 108 win regular season and postseason series wins against the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox will play in baseball’s Fall Classic. This will be the Red Sox fourth trip to the World Series since 2004 and is the fourteenth time in franchise history they have the won the American League pennant.

The team spent a total of 173 days in first place in the AL East during the regular season. With the 108 wins, the Red Sox finished with the most wins in franchise history, beating out the 1912 Red Sox who went 105-47.

One of the common themes of this Red Sox season was the extremely effective offense that the team brought to the table. The team led the entire MLB in the following offensive categories: runs (876), doubles (355), runs batted in (829) and team batting average (.268). This can be credited to the MVP-like seasons from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez.

Despite missing some time due to a left abdominal strain suffered in early June, Betts led MLB in WAR (Wins Above Replacement), batting average (.346), slugging % (.640) and tied with Francisco Lindor in runs scored (129). Betts is expected to win the AL MVP award not only because of his bat but also the defense he plays in right field. For the third season in a row, Betts led all right fielders in defensive runs saved with 20.

In 2017, the Red Sox hit 168 home runs as a team and it was very clear that a power bat was missing in the middle of the lineup following the retirement of David Ortiz in 2016. To try and add some more pop, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski signed free agent Martinez to a five-year deal.

To reward Dombrowski for adding one of the top free agents of the 2017-18 class, Martinez would go on to hit 43 home runs and drive in an MLB-best 130 RBI to go with a .330 batting average. The Red Sox needed Martinez if they wanted to be more than just a first-round exit like the previous two years.

During the Red Sox postseason run, one of the most pleasant surprises for the team has been the performances they have gotten out of a few of their arms on the pitching staff. Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello, Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes have all played key roles in getting the Red Sox to another World Series appearance.

For Eovaldi and Porcello, not only have they both been effective out of the starting rotation but, Red Sox manager Alex Cora has even called their names out of the bullpen. Porcello has had two relief appearances, as he has come into the eighth inning in Game One of the ALDS against the Yankees and Game Two of the ALCS against the Astros and has made two starts for the Red Sox as well.

Eovaldi, who the Red Sox acquired at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Rays, started his postseason with a seven-inning one earned run performance against the Yankees in Game Three of the ALDS. He then added another six innings in Game Three of the ALCS against the Astros. In Game Five, Eovaldi came out of the bullpen to pick up four key outs to help the Red Sox get back into the World Series.

For Barnes and Brasier, both have combined to give up just one earned run in 15 innings pitched. With the bullpen being a huge question mark for the Red Sox heading into the postseason, both Barnes and Brasier have been key at silencing the criticism the bullpen received.

The biggest question mark left as the Red Sox head into the Fall Classic is can the Sox get some consistency from third base? Both Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez have made their fair share of mistakes on defense in both postseason series for the Red Sox and neither has done a ton offensively (minus a three-run home run for Devers in Game Five of the ALCS). This will be one of the key things to watch during this series and how much of an impact it has.

The World Series is set to begin Tuesday, October 23 in Fenway Park as the Red Sox will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers.