You really couldn’t have drawn up a more appropriate ending to the Boston Red Sox’s 2018 season.
When spring training opened in February, no player had more to prove than David Price. The left-hander was coming off a bumpy 2017 season and still had yet to exorcise his postseason demons as a starter.
Fast forward through a stellar regular season for the Red Sox in which Price pitched well most of the way, the southpaw’s playoff woes seemed like they were incurable after a poor outing in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees.
But now the Red Sox are 2018 World Series champions, and it couldn’t have been done without him.
The Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday, clinching their first title since 2013 and fourth since 2004.
It only was fitting that Price didn’t just pitch in the clincher, but he spun an absolute gem. He allowed one run over seven-plus innings, giving up three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The 33-year-old pitched 1-2-3 innings in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.
Price bested Clayton Kershaw in the World Series clincher and Houston Astros star Justin Verlander in the final game of the AL Championship Series.
That’s pretty historic.
Price put a lot of past strife to bed this campaign, and it only was fitting he capped it off with a tremendous World Series-clinching start.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Dodgers Game 5:
— Price is not the only pitcher to show some impressive resolve throughout the season.
After becoming an elite late-inning arm early in the season, Joe Kelly was bad to the point where his spot on the postseason roster was in jeopardy.
But Kelly was lethal this postseason, and the free-agent-to-be put an exclamation mark on his season in the eighth inning of Game 5. He took over after Price walked the leadoff batter and was tasked with preserving the 5-1 lead. He responded by striking out all three batters he faced to strand the runner.
— Chris Sale was expected to get the start in Game 5, but manager Alex Cora instead tabbed David Price for the outing.
That didn’t mean the ace didn’t see any action.
Sale was given the ninth inning and he struck out the side to end the game. His final punch out was to Manny Machado, who he and the Red Sox go way back with.
— Steve Pearce was named MVP.
The first baseman hit two home runs in Game 5, a two-run shot in the first inning and a solo blast in the eighth.