The Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series after eliminating the Houston Astros on Thursday.
Boston took down defending champions the Astros 4-1 to lock up the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in five games.
David Price was impressive as Houston never strung anything together offensively.
The Red Sox will head back to the fall classic for the first time since 2013.
It's all about matchups
Price is not a good starter in the postseason. Coming into game two of the ALCS, Price's teams had never won a game in which he started in the postseason. But the playoffs are all about matchups and Price has always matched up well with the Astros.
Coming into Thursday's game Price had a career 6-2 record with a 2.94 ERA against the Astros. In the postseason he had posted a career 3.17 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts.
Price tossed six innings of three-hit, shutout ball with no walks and nine strikeouts in game five.
Justin Verlander should be infuriated with his team-mates
To be clear, Verlander would never call out his team or express any kind of anger toward a group that helped him win his first World Series last season, but he should be extremely frustrated with them. Not just for their performance on Thursday, but because of their lack of production for him at Minute Maid Park all year.
While Verlander was on the mound in game five, Houston scored no runs. This is not new for the Astros at Minute Maid Park with Verlander on the mound in 2018. Houston was shut out five times in Verlander's starts on their home field in 2018. The team scored three runs or less eight times and four or less 11 times in 19 starts.
And it is all either mental, or the Astros really cannot see with the new batter's eye in the outfield. However, Boston scored eight runs in games three and four and another four while Verlander was on the mound in game five, so it could very well be in their heads. This season Houston scored 51 more runs on the road than at home and 3/4 of a run less per game away from Minute Maid (5.23 v 4.60). In Verlander's starts at home it was even worse as Houston scored 3.84 runs per game.
Verlander is as close to perfect as it gets in the postseason, especially in elimination games, but he almost had to be perfect for the Astros to win at home this season and he simply was not on Thursday. It is his fault for giving up four runs in this game. It is his team-mates' fault for not backing him up – at all – at the plate.
JV, meet J.D. pic.twitter.com/V2gjyNrWaf— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2018
Pitching is for the regular season, hitting is for the playoffs
The team that hit better in the postseason wins. This is almost always true. In the last five World Series the team with the higher OPS have won. That has been true for eight of the last 11 as well.
In the ALCS specifically, the team with the higher batting average during the season have won seven of the last nine series. Pitching is great to have and the Astros had all kinds of it this season, but Boston's hitting beat the Astros' pitching, smacking five home runs and 13 extra-base hits in the final four games to close out the series.
The Red Sox were the best hitting team in a great hitting American League this year. They out-hit the Astros this series.
|Niasse joins Cardiff on loan from Everton|
|Hendrick credited with Fulham strike|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Adelaide United 2: Goodwin compounds Wanderers woes|
|Chahal and Dhoni carry India to ODI triumph|
|Levante report Barcelona for alleged use of ineligible player in Copa del Rey|
|Solskjaer regrets Sanchez´s Reading setback|
|Tomic brands Hewitt a ´liar´ as feud continues|
|Ruthless Nadal thrashes teenager De Minaur|
|Wozniacki enjoyed status as defending champion in Melbourne|
|Solskjaer backs Mourinho to return to football´s big time|
|Murray to miss Open 13 Marseille|
|Solskjaer´s United turnaround no easy task, says Hughton|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|How James Harden´s 2018-19 numbers compare to his MVP campaign|
|It´s insane! - Tsitsipas excited to face ´legend´ Federer|
|Sharapova ends Wozniacki title defence|
|American teen Anisimova sends records tumbling at Aus Open|
|Lakers survive Ball´s gaffe to beat Thunder in OT|
|Federer expects ´athletic´ and ´attacking´ Tsitsipas clash|
|Alcacer is fit and available – Favre|
|Fantastic Federer breezes past Fritz|
|Pogba happy with Man United approach under Solskjaer|
|Mickelson leads Desert Classic, ties career-low with 12-under 60|
|Warriors´ Durant on Curry: He´s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent|
|Patriots owner says Brady is greatest player, not just quarterback, of all time|
|Inglis to retire from representative duty this year, NRL in 2020|
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Valverde not worried about Levante´s Copa appeal|
|Nowell an option for England at flanker, reveals Jones|
|Pellegrini: Arnautovic available for the right price|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
|Canelo and Jacobs agree unification fight|
|Barcelona 3 Levante 0 (4-2 agg): Dembele at the double as Barca advance|
|Levante to lodge complaint over Barcelona Copa selection|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Everton do not have financial conditions to enter transfer market - Silva|
|Andy Cole joins Sol Campbell´s coaching staff at Macclesfield|
|Atletico confirm Saul has thigh injury|
|Wood replaces injured Stone in England squad|
|Lebanon 4 North Korea 1: Disciplinary record cruelly denies Radulovic´s men|
|Saudi Arabia 0 Qatar 2: In-form Ali bags brace as Qatar top group|
|Robertson signs new Liverpool deal|
|Vunipola backs Farrell to thrive in solo leadership role|
|People don´t know what´s going on behind the scenes - Mourinho defends United stint|
|Indefatigable Muguruza knocks out Konta at 3:12am|
|Serena coasts, difficulties for Halep and Muguruza´s marathon|
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|
|Not seen at Aus Open since Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in 2009 – ´Next Gen´ make move|
|Martial: Solskjaer lets me express myself|
|Djokovic sees off Tsonga to reach third round|
|Returning Cousins calls Warriors ´the most hated team in sports´|
|Halep injury ´nothing dangerous´|
|Warner picks up elbow injury in Bangladesh|
|Mkhitaryan returning to Arsenal training next week|
|Leeds United pounce for Real Madrid goalkeeper Casilla|