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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

Articles tagged: MLB Playoffs 2018

Watch: Nolan Arenado makes stunning defensive play

Nolan Arenado reminded fans on Monday night why he’s considered one of the best defensive players in the league.

The Colorado Rockies third baseman made a stunning defensive play against the Chicago Cubs using a slick backhanded glove flip. His former teammate, Carlos Gonzalez, was on first with nobody out in the top of the second, and Victor Caratini was at the plate. The shift was on and Caratini hit a chopper towards shallow shortstop. Arenado ranged to his left, snagged the ball with his backhand, and did a flip for the force out at second.

That type of backhanded glove flip is extremely difficult to execute, but he did it. That was a pretty move.

Arenado has won a Gold Glove all six of his MLB seasons. He’s also been an All-Star four straight years, led the league in homers three times, RBIs twice, and has finished top-5 in MVP voting three years in a row. He’s a complete player, which is why the Rockies gave him a massive contract extension.

David Price sends Game 5 jersey to Hall of Fame

David Price

David Price’s incredible World Series-clinching performance for the Boston Red Sox will now be forever immortalized in Cooperstown.

The five-time All-Star lefty came up clutch for the Sox in Game 5 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, firing seven innings of one-run ball to help secure the Commissioner’s Trophy, Boston’s fourth in the last 15 years.

In a tweet on Monday, the Baseball Hall announced that Price had sent his game-worn jersey for the decisive outing to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The World Series title was Price’s first in 11 MLB seasons, making this a pretty darn cool gesture. When you hear about how he prepped for the Game 5 start to boot, his performance may be even more legendary.

David Price was tipping his changeup prior to playoff dominance

David Price

David Price had to clear a big mental hurdle in order to help the Boston Red Sox win a World Series, but he also made at least one physical change that seemed to help him dominate opposing hitters over his last several playoff appearances.

Price’s first start of the 2018 postseason looked like more of the same for a pitcher whose teams had previously never won a playoff game in which he started. He gave up three earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work against the New York Yankees, but that may have been because he was tipping a key pitch.

While there was more talk than ever about sign-stealing from second base during the postseason, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports revealed that the Red Sox discovered Price was tipping his changeup against the Yankees and when he faced the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS. The first base coach in both games was able to tell when Price was about to throw a changeup, and he would signal the hitter. The Astros tagged Price for four runs over 4 2/3 innings, though Boston was able to win Game 2.

According to Passan, the Red Sox discovered the pitch tipping between Price’s starts in Game 2 and Game 5 of the ALCS and eliminated the tell. Price used his changeup a career-high 39 times in Game 5, and the Astros swung and missed at it 12 times. They did that just once in Game 2.

In total, Price allowed 10 hits and three earned runs over 19 2/3 innings after the pitch-tipping was discovered.

While the Astros were accused of going cheating with some shady antics during the playoffs, there is nothing illegal about sign stealing while on the bases or discovering a tell a pitcher has. While most people thought Price’s struggles were between his ears, it would appear there was a lot more to it than that.

David Price played Fortnite before Game 5 start

David Price

David Price had some hand issues early in the season, and many people speculated that his love for playing video games had something to do with it. Not surprisingly, Price was happy to taunt those people after another gutsy playoff performance on Sunday night.

Price, who pitched seven innings of three-hit ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the World Series, said one of the ways he prepared for his start was by playing “Fortnite.”

Price has had an icy relationship with the media and fans since he signed a $217 million contract with the Red Sox, and he hasn’t always handled himself well. He got extremely defensive when asked if playing video games was the reason for his hand numbness after he got shelled against the New York Yankees back in May, so it makes sense that he rubbed it in to the media on Sunday.

If you remember, Price walked out of an extremely awkward interview earlier this year over a “Fortnite” question. It must have felt good for him to quiet all of his critics.

Red Sox still troll Yankees even after winning World Series

Red Sox celebrate

The Boston Red Sox couldn’t help but troll the New York Yankees after winning the World Series.

Once again, the Red Sox were playing “New York, New York” in their clubhouse after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series to win the championship. Their players were even singing along. You can hear it in this video:

This is the second time this postseason the Red Sox have done that. They also played the music after beating the Yankees on the road in the ALDS, although that was a revenge move for what Aaron Judge did after Game 2.

No matter what they accomplish, the Red Sox still have the Yankees and that rivalry on their mind.

Dave Roberts expects to return as Dodgers manager

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts was one of the most criticized figures during the World Series, and there is talk that he might not return as Los Angeles Dodgers manager next season. He feels differently.

Roberts said after the Dodgers lost the World Series on Sunday night that he expects “us to be back here next year.”

Roberts originally signed a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year when he took over as Dodgers manager before the 2016 season. He acknowledged after the game that his option has not been picked up yet.

“No, it hasn’t happened yet,” he said of his contract.

Roberts then said he’s planning to manage the Dodgers next year and bring the team a championship.

“My plan is to manage the Dodgers. I love this city, I love the organization. Everything that it’s about. And I love the high expectations. That’s the way it should be. I can always get better. I do believe that we’re doing a lot of good things,” Roberts said.

The Dodgers lost in the 2016 NLCS, then lost in back-to-back World Series under Roberts. I defended Roberts over all the criticism he faced after the Dodgers blew a 4-0 lead in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday, but it’s conceivable that the team’s leadership may feel it’s necessary to make a managerial change and bring in a new voice after the disappointment they’ve endured.

Texas Rangers send hilarious tweet to Dodgers after World Series

Texas Rangers

If there’s any team that can relate to the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s the Texas Rangers. And they sent the Dodgers a hilarious tweet on Sunday night after the Dodgers lost Game 5 of the World Series 5-1 to the Boston Red Sox, marking their second straight defeat in the World Series.

Here’s what the Rangers said:

The Rangers lost consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011, falling to the Giants and then the Cardinals. Losing in 2011 stings even more for Texas considering they were an out away from winning the championship before losing Game 6 in extras and then Game 7.

At least Dodgers fans did not have to endure the same heartbreak in 2018, though losing in Game 7 in 2017 wasn’t too fun.

2018 Boston Red Sox among best teams in MLB expansion era

Red Sox champs

The Boston Red Sox on Sunday captured their ninth World Series title in franchise history and fourth since 2004. They beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the World Series, completing one of the most impressive postseason runs in the last few decades.

Though they might not have been as loaded with All-Stars as other teams, between their regular season and postseason success, the 2018 Boston Red Sox should be remembered as one of the best teams of the MLB expansion era.

Since all MLB teams began playing a 162-game regular season in 1962, only one team has won more regular season games and won the World Series — the 1998 New York Yankees, who won 114 games. The 1970 Baltimore Orioles, 1975 Cincinnati Reds, and 1986 New York Mets won the same amount of regular season games as the Red Sox — 108 — while winning the World Series. The ’70 Orioles went 7-1 in the postseason; the ’75 Reds needed seven games to win the World Series; and the ’86 Mets went 8-5 in the playoffs and needed help from Buckner to win it all.

This 2018 Boston Red Sox team went 108-54 (.667) in the regular season and 11-3 (.786) in the postseason. Their road to the World Series championship might have been the toughest we’ve seen.

Only seven times in MLB history have three teams won 100 games during the regular season. 2018 was one of those years, with all three teams coming in the AL (Houston Astros at 103 wins and New York Yankees at 100 wins). That means the Boston Red Sox had to navigate arguably the toughest playoff road ever just to reach the World Series. And they didn’t just navigate; they mowed through.

The Red Sox beat the Yankees in four games in the ALDS. That was a Yankee team that ranked second in the league (behind Boston) in runs scored during the regular season and had the reigning AL and NL MVPs in their lineup. Not only did Boston beat them in four games, closing the series on the road, but they also handed the Yankees their worst postseason loss in franchise history — an embarrassing 16-1 defeat in Game 3.

Next up, the Red Sox faced the defending World Series champion Astros. Houston had won 103 games in the regular season, were fresh off sweeping an excellent Indians team, and they had an extremely highly-regarded pitching staff. The Astros had the best team ERA in MLB at 3.11, 0.27 runs better than the second-place Dodgers. They were over half a run better than the next best team in the AL. Leading all of MLB despite being in the AL and having to face the DH is astounding. The Astros also had the most strikeouts and lowest batting average against.

Despite all that, Houston’s staff was no match for Boston’s hot hitting. After losing Game 1, Boston ripped off four straight wins over the Astros, lighting them up for 27 runs in those games (6.75 runs per game). They won three in a row in Houston and beat former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in the Game 5 clincher. They also won Game 3 8-2 that was started by Dallas Keuchel, another former Cy Young winner.

Then in the World Series, the Red Sox beat a heavily reinforced Dodgers squad (Dodgers made numerous mid-season trade acquisitions), smashing nearly every pitcher thrown their way. Their only loss came in a 3-2 heartbreaker in 18 innings in Game 3. They came back from down 4-0 in the 7th to win Game 4 and clinched it all by beating another former Cy Young winner in Clayton Kershaw.

Boston clinched all three series on the road, beating two Cy Young winners in those clinchers.

Few — if any — MLB teams have faced a tougher road in the playoffs, and not many have made it look easier. The Boston Red Sox led MLB in runs during the regular season, led the league with 108 wins in the regular season, and needed no more than five games to beat any of their three excellent playoff opponents. They went wire-to-wire as the best team in the league.

Along with the 1998 Yankees, the 2018 Red Sox are the best MLB team I’ve seen.

Watch: Mookie Betts breaks slump with solo home run off Clayton Kershaw

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts broke out of a postseason slump in a big way.

Betts had been 0-for-13 after going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in Game 3, 0-for-4 in Game 4, and making outs in his first two at-bats in Game 5. But he snapped out of it with a solo home run off Clayton Kershaw in the top of the 6th inning of Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night.

Betts took a 2-2 flat slider from Kershaw and sent it over the wall in left field to give Boston a 3-1 lead.

That was Betts’ first homer of the postseason.

The Red Sox entered the game leading 3-1 in the series and needed one win to capture the World Series title.

Fans hang banner with message supporting transgender people during Game 5

Los Angeles Dodgers stadium

Some fans attending Game 5 of the World Series in Los Angeles on Sunday dropped a banner during the middle of the game that included a political message supporting transgender people.

During the fifth inning of the Dodgers-Red Sox game, the following banner saying “trans people deserve to live” was unfurled.

The political message was displayed at a time when the current presidential administration is reportedly leading an effort to strip transgender people of rights by having the Department of Health and Human Services narrow the definition of what it means to be transgender.

This is not the first time we’ve seen a banner at a sporting event that contained a political message. Fans rappelled at a Carolina Panthers game to make a statement a few years ago. Last year some fans unveiled a banner about racism at a Red Sox game.