Red Sox finish greatest season in franchise history
This last one may seem like recency bias, but hear me out. The 2016 and 2017 Red Sox had each won the division before going out with a whimper in the ALDS both seasons. Manager John Farrell, never a great field tactician, had worn out his welcome in the clubhouse and seemed to be a less than inspiring leader.
The 2017 Red Sox were also one of the more unlikable editions of the team, with fans across New England having a hard time warming to them despite exciting homegrown stars like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Andrew Benintendi. The Red Sox decided to fire Farrell and hire former Red Sox infielder (and member of the 2007 World Series winning team) Alex Cora as manager.
The other big addition was the signing of free agent slugger JD Martinez to fill the void left by the retirement of David Oritz after the 2016 season. The Red Sox started the 2018 season hot and never let up, finishing with a major league-leading 108-54 record, the best in franchise history.
However, heading into the postseason most fans and media outside of New England didn’t think the Red Sox would go far in October. Standing in their way were the Yankees (100-62) and defending champion Houston Astros (103-59). Their previous two October failures also hung over their heads and counted against them in the eyes of everyone else.
It was important for the Red Sox to have a strong showing and at least get to the ALCS in order for the season to not be considered a failure. Instead, they rampaged through the postseason, defeating the Yankees in the ALDS (3-1) and the Astros in the ALCS (4-1) to square off against the Dodgers in the World Series. They then dominated Los Angeles, winning the World Series in five games to finish off the greatest single season in Red Sox history.
Was the 2018 the best Red Sox season ever? In terms of record and sheer dominance, it was, although it will never be as important as the 2004 team. Still, the 2018 team winning the World Series was huge for Red Sox fans and the team itself. It proved that the previous two seasons weren’t meaningless, that this next generation of stars had to take their lumps and endure their growing pains before learning how to become winners.
It’s also the most recent success the team has had and with the way things went in 2019 and are looking for 2020 and the near future, it might be the last for a while. For their sheer dominance from Opening Day to the final out of the World Series, the 2018 team winning it all was huge.