The 2018 Boston Red Sox World Series championship team will always have a special place in my heart. When Chris Sale struck out Manny Machado to record the final out, I dumped water on my head and immediately started packing to go to the parade. My trip to Boston included waiting for hours to make sure I saw the parade in the front row. Then, capped things off with lobsters. Anyway, one of the more unsung heroes of that 2018 team is Mitch Moreland. His one home run in Game 4 is the straw that broke the Dodgers back.
It all started in the top of the 7th inning. The Dodgers had a 4-0 lead and were already coming off an 18 inning Game 3 win. Rich Hill was pitching the game of his life. It really sucked because Hill was a Boston guy born and raised in Massachusetts. 6 innings of 1 hit ball. That’s when things changed.
Hill walked Xander Bogaerts in a tough at-bat to lead off the inning. Eduardo Nunez proceeded to strike out next. That’s when Dave Roberts dug his own grave. The same man who gave the Red Sox their first breath of life when he stole 2nd in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. Roberts took Hill out of the game and all hell broke loose.
Scott Alexander came into the game to face Brock Holt. He walked him in short order. Roberts pulled him right away for Ryan Madson. To this day, Madson will always be my favorite Dodger. Madson recorded the first out facing Jackie Bradlye but there were still two runners on. That’s when Mitch Moreland came in to pinch hit for the pitcher spot.
To this point, the Red Sox felt lifeless. The momentum was with the Dodgers. They just lost a brutal 18 inning game. They were down 4-0 in this one and haven’t created a scoring chance all day. Things felt so dead that Chris Sale went crazy on his teammates in the dug out.
It was that moment when everything changed. To this point, Moreland had done basically nothing like his usual self. He was 0-5 the night before and really lost all time at the plate because of the groove Steve Pearce was on. Moreland had one hit the entire 2018 World Series but it came at the time Boston needed him most.
The Sox were still down 4-3 but at that point it was over. Boston proceeded to score in the 8th and 9th inning. Game 5 turned into a formality. The soft kids from LA got their spirit broken. Moreland’s one swing of the bat ended the 2018 World Series.
Truth be told, I was never a fan of Mitch Moreland. He was going to hit .240 with 20 home runs of meh every year. He was a stable vet that you always could upgrade. I guess that’s what postseason baseball is all about. The most unlikely of heroes often surprise you. I’ll never say another bad word about Mitch Moreland again. From that moment, I could never criticize Moreland again. His heroics that game make him an unsung legend of the 2018 Boston Red Sox World Series team.