DID BOSOX WIN OR DODGERS LOSE 2018 WORLD SERIES?
Boston Red Sox first-year manager Alex Cora must have paid close attention to Houston skipper A.J. Hinch while he was the bench coach for the Astros.
For the past couple of seasons, the Astros led the major leagues in victories away from home.
Whatever Hinch did to win games on the road must have rubbed off on Cora—even if was only outhouse luck—as his talented Red Sox team swept the final three games from the Astros at Minute Maid Park to win the ALCS and then turned right around and took two of three at Los Angeles against the Dodgers in the recently-completed 2018 World Series.
After sweeping the first two games of the series in Boston’s Fenway Park, the Red Sox mowed down the Dodgers in the final two games played in LA.
Night owls were probably the only fans to watch the conclusion of Game Three which went 18 innings and ended at 3:30 a.m. (Boston time) when Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy ended the longest game in World Series history by hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the 18th inning and giving his team a 3-2 hard-earned win.
But Game Three was the only one that I thought Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts out-maneuvered Cora with his use of personnel.
Most of the faithful fans at Dodgers Stadium wouldn’t dare go home before Friday’s game ended early Saturday morning with more than 40,000 of the sold out 53,114 fans still on hand to watch Muncy’s heroics.
What a difference 24 hours makes as Cora looked like a genius with his managerial moves in Saturday’s Game 4 while Roberts made choices that made him resemble a buffoon.
Roberts over-used his closer Kenley Jansen, who failed to hold a 1-0 lead in Game Three and then did the same thing in Game Four, and jerked out two starters who were pitching shutout baseball going into the seventh inning.
In Friday’s marathon game Roberts relieved rookie right-handed starter Walker Buehler after seven innings, despite the fact he had only allowed two Red Sox hits and was protecting a slender 1-0 lead. Jansen came in and promptly gave up a home run by Jackie Bradley, Jr., sending the game into extra innings.
Cora, on the other hand, was changing pitchers left and right until his bull pen was dry. But he didn’t hesitate to insert starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in the 12th inning. Both teams scored a run in the 13th inning and then the pitcher’s duel continued.
And in Game Four, for no reason at all, pulled starter Rich Hill in the seventh inning after Hill had given up only one hit and left with a 4-0 lead. After making several moves from his dog-tired bullpen, Boston scored 9 runs and won the pivotal game 9-6.
In Game Five Boston scored a pair of first-inning runs off Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw while Bosox lefty David Price gave up a first-inning run and then coasted until Cora relieved him in the eighth with fire-balling Joe Kelly and his 100-mile-an-hour fast ball and used his ace Chris Sale in the ninth who registered three strike outs.
This was the first time two minority managers faced off in a World Series, along with being the first managers to have played for both teams. They are very good friends and former teammates during their playing days.
Cora, 43, the Red Sox’s first minority manager, is a native of Puerto Rico and joins Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox as the only Latino managers to win a World Series. Both Cora and Guillen played for the Beaumont Golden Gators in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Roberts, 46, has an African-American father and a Japanese mother and the Dodgers’ first minority manager. He would have been the first African-American to win a World Series since Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993.
Roberts has taken the Dodgers to the playoffs all three season’s he’s managed there, including back-to-back trips to the World Series.
And both times in the World Series appearances, the Dodgers were over-matched on the mound—by the Houston Astros in 2017 and Boston Red Sox last week.
KWICKIES…The Texas Longhorn players must have been reading too many press clippings praising their defense, which totally fell apart Saturday at Stillwater as unranked Oklahoma State ripped the Texas defense for 38 points and 502 total yards in a game that was not nearly as close as the 38-35 final score indicated. The Longhorns plummeted from No. 6 to No. 15 in this week’s AP College Football Poll.
And while on the topic of this week’s Top 25 Poll, a total of seven new teams qualified for the weekly poll, including No. 17 Houston, No. 18 Utah State, No. 20 Fresno State, No. 21 Mississippi State, No. 22 Syracuse, No. 23 Virginia and No. 24 Boston College. Texas A&M, which was downed by Mississippi State 28-13, dropped from No. 16 to No. 25. The first five teams remained the same again this week.
The Los Angeles Rams, who’s defense is coached by Orange native Wade Phillips, remains the only undefeated (8-0) National Football League team. The Rams play the red-hot New Orleans Saints (6-1) who upset the Minnesota Vikings 30-20 Sunday for their sixth-straight victory.
Today (Wed.) is the final day to make a trade before the 3 p.m. deadline. The Houston Texans, winners of five games in a row, need to find a replacement for speedy wide receiver Will Fuller, who tore an ACL in Thursday’s impressive 42-23 win over the Miami Dolphins. First year General Manager Brian Gaine has been working the phone lines all weekend in hopes of finding a wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback. Hopefully he’ll find some help to keep the current winning streak going.
JUST BETWEEN US…It looked to me like the Missouri Tigers got screwed out of a victory Saturday by the referee crew on the final play of the game when Kentucky’s 6-5 tight end mowed down the much-shorter Mizzou cornerback who was called for pass interference in the end zone. The game clock showed 0:00 but rules say a game can’t end on a penalty as the huge tight end caught the game-winning touchdown pass which gave the visitors a controversial 15-14 Southeast Conference win to the dismay of the sellout crowd at Columbia.