The 2018 season ended exactly the way it should’ve for the Boston Red Sox.
Statistically the greatest team in franchise history, the 2018 Red Sox capped off a remarkable campaign by clinching a World Series championship at Dodger Stadium. It all culminated Oct. 28 with the Red Sox’s 5-1 victory over Los Angeles in Game 5 of the 2018 Fall Classic.
Every Red Sox fan remembers Chris Sale punching out Manny Machado to seal the deal, but Game 5 featured many other noteworthy performances, particularly on the mound.
NESN’s latest “Red Sox Encore” series continues at 8 p.m. ET on Friday with the rebroadcast of Game 5 of the 2018 World Series. Here are a few things you might have forgot about that game:
1. Steve Pearce’s MVP moment(s)
As if his dramatic homer in Game 4 weren’t enough, Pearce cemented his place in Red Sox history with a massive performance in Game 5.
The first baseman, whom Boston acquired in an early season trade, got the Red Sox on the board in the first inning with a two-out, two-run homer off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw. Pearce added a solo home run in the eighth off reliever Pedro Baez to give the Red Sox a commanding 5-1 lead. He took home World Series MVP honors after hitting .333 with three homers and eight RBIs — while also playing great defense — in the Fall Classic. Pearce retired after an injury-plagued 2019 season.
2. David Price makes history
Price’s performance in Game 5 was historic, and for all the right reasons.
The Red Sox lefty became the first pitcher since 1972 to start World Series games under five days apart while also appearing in relief in between those games. He allowed one run — a solo homer from David Freese — on three hits and two walks over seven innings, becoming just the fifth pitcher to pitch six-plus innings and allow three or fewer hits in three consecutive postseason starts. You could make a strong case that Price deserved to win the series MVP.
3. Red Sox stars break out
It took a while, but Boston’s best hitters finally showed up in Game 5.
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez hit .211 and .214, respectively, with a combined zero homers and four RBIs through the first four games of the World Series. But none of that mattered after Betts took Kershaw deep for a solo homer in the sixth, with Martinez connecting for a solo homer off Kershaw to lead off the next inning. The pair of late-inning blasts helped take pressure off Boston’s pitchers, especially its relievers.
4. Joe Kelly overpowering in relief
Speaking of relievers, how about Joe Kelly?
Maddeningly inconsistent for much of his Red Sox tenure, Kelly was at his absolute best when it mattered most. The hard-throwing right-hander was dominant during the 2018 postseason, holding opposing hitters to a .186 batting average while striking out 13 and compiling a 0.79 ERA over nine appearances. After Price walked Taylor to start the bottom of the eighth, Kelly came in and struck out the next three betters to set the stage for Sale’s electrics in the ninth.
Joe Kelly forever. pic.twitter.com/GHfq7nHYtq
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) December 15, 2018