By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, bad eyes even blearier after watching Browns-Steelers/Bengals-Buccaneers, Rams-Packers and Red Sox-Dodgers in one very long sitting, other than a brief timeout for a meat loaf dinner.
The Boston Red Sox sipped and mostly sprayed the World Series champagne for the fourth time in 15 years Sunday night.
With a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series four games to one. The four titles in 15 years began in 2004 when the Bosox broke the Curse of the Bambino by beating the St. Louis Cardinals.
And their previous triumph came in 2013, also against St. Louis. Amazingly, only Xander Bogaerts remains on the Boston roster from that 2013 team.
—And didn’t it seem as if every time you turned on your television David Price is pitching for the Boston Red Sox? He is a like summer re-runs of The Price is Right.
And Price loved seeing umpire Jeff Nelson behind the plate. Price was 7-and-2 for his career when Nelson called balls and strikes.
He is now 8-and-2 after a dominating performance in Game 5, a surprise starter on short rest because expected starter Chris Sale was held back because of shoulder problems.
And this Price was definitely right. His first pitch of the game was hit out of the park by David Freese, but that was LA’s last hurrah. After that Price gave up no runs, two hits and retired 13 straight until he walked Chris Taylor on a full count to open the eighth.
That ended an incredibly gutsy performance from a guy criticized heavily for previous post-season failures before this season. He was 3-and-1 in the post-season, winning his last three starts, two in the World Series.
Bespectacled relief pitcher Joe Kelly completely muzzled the Dodgers by striking out the side, all three pinch-hitters — Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger.
Just because he wears glasses doesn’t mean Kelly is soft. He received a six-game suspension in April for hitting New York Yankee Tyler Austin in the back after Austin slid spikes-high into Boston second baseman Brock Holt.
Now the Dodgers know how tough this guy is.
Chris Sale, who would have started Game 6, put the finishing touches on everything in the ninth. He struck out Justin Turner, struck out Kike Hernandez and struck out the much-despised Manny Machado as the last six Dodgers struck out.
The offense was a home run production, three off LA starter Clayton Kershaw by Steve Pearce, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. And Pearce hit his second of the game in the eighth off Pedro Baez, giving Boston four homers.
Pearce hit three solo home runs and a three-run double in the last two games. It earned the well-traveled journeyman the World Series MVP trophy.
That was enough to dip Kershaw’s career record in post-season elimination games to 1-and-4 as the Dodgers finished as World Series losers for the second straight year after losing to Houston last year.
—LA starter Kershaw retired the game’s first batter, then gave up a single to Andrew Benintendi and a Pearce hit a first-pitch home run over the left center wall. In his last three at bats he had a home run, a double and a home run, driving in six runs.
That was the first first-inning home run Kershaw gave up this season. But there was more to come.
Pearce’s career resembles a marquee on a Greyhound bus — Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Houston, New York (Yankees), Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Toronto, Boston.
He has played for all five American League East teams, three different times for the Baltimore Orioles.
The Red Sox acquired him from Baltimore at mid-season this year, an incredible ‘get’ for the Bostons.
—David Freese, leading off the bottom of the first, hit Price’s first pitch into the right field seats for a home run that cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.
—After the first inning, Kershaw retired 15 of the next 16. Then Mookie Betts, on a 0-for-13 slide, homered into the left field seats for a 3-1 Bosox lead.
—After the first inning, Price gave up no runs and two hits and retired the 14 before his game-ending walk to Taylor in the eighth.
—Boston’s Home Run Derby continued in the seventh inning when J.D. Martinez drilled one over the center field wall leading off the inning, the Red Sox third home run and a 4-1 lead.
It was the third post-season home run for Martinez and the third he has hit during his career off Kershaw.
—The Red Sox love their road uniforms, the blue tops and the gray bottoms. They were 7-and-1 on the road during the post-season. And they were 10-0 in the post-season when they scored first.
—The Dodgers? They haven’t won a World Series since 1988, two years longer than the last time the Cincinnati Reds won one (1990).