Red Sox journeyman Steve Pearce was named MVP of the 2018 World Series. The 35-year-old, who grew up a Red Sox fan and was selected by the Red Sox (but did not sign) in the 2004 draft, hit three homers in the span of two games, knocking in seven runs as the Red Sox won the championship in five games.
Pearce was hitless in the first three games, but did draw three walks while scoring a run and knocking in a run. His impact was felt in Game 4, as his solo home run in the eighth inning off of Kenley Jansen tied the game up at four apiece. Pearce then hit a bases-clearing double off of Kenta Maeda in the ninth, padding his team’s lead to 8-4. Pearce opened the scoring in Game 5 with a first-inning, two-run homer off of Clayton Kershaw and added a solo shot for good measure off of Pedro Báez in the eighth to push the lead to 5-1.
Pearce joins David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Manny Ramirez as members of the Red Sox to win the World Series MVP award, which began in 1955.
Pearce’s transaction history is a wild journey:
- Selected by Pirates in eighth round of 2005 draft
- Signs with Twins as a free agent (Dec. 2011)
- Signs with Yankees as a free agent (March 2012)
- Purchased by Orioles (June 2012)
- Selected off waivers by Astros (July 2012)
- Purchased by Yankees (August 2012)
- Selected off waivers by Orioles (September 2012)
- Re-signs with Orioles as a free agent (April 2014)
- Signs with Rays as a free agent (Jan. 2016)
- Traded to Orioles (Aug. 2016)
- Signs with Blue Jays as a free agent (Dec. 2016)
- Traded to Red Sox (June 2018)
Quite the feel-good story. The baseball postseason has a way of bringing out the best from these kinds of players. Pearce’s postseason performance has shades of Cody Ross.
The Braves clinched a postseason berth with Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Nationals. Now, the only question is whether they’ll get there with an NL East division title or via one of two wild card spots currently up for grabs.
Granted, things are looking pretty good on the division title front. After losing their second straight game to the Braves, the Nationals sit 10.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and every other division rival is at least 15 games out. The Braves, meanwhile, carry a magic number of four; should they clinch, it’ll be their 19th franchise title and 14th since they migrated to the East division in 1994.
They certainly looked like postseason contenders on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz led the charge with six innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball, limiting the Nationals to four hits while rookie right-hander Austin Voth kept the Braves scoreless through 5 2/3 frames. Things started to tip in Atlanta’s favor in the sixth inning: Nick Markakis put the team on the board with an RBI single, and a four-run breakout in the seventh helped cement a sizable lead. Over the last three innings, the Braves found opportunity after opportunity against the Nationals’ bullpen, capitalizing on walks, throwing errors, and productive outs as they climbed toward a double-digit finish.
The win didn’t come without some sacrifice, however. The Braves lost Charlie Culberson to a facial injury after he was struck by a Fernando Rodney fastball in the seventh inning, and they’ll likely be without him for the remainder of the regular season — pending a formal diagnosis, of course. Culberson’s loss isn’t the only one the club is feeling right now, either, as Johan Camargo ended his season with a hairline fracture in his right shin and Freddie Freeman is playing through a minor bout of elbow soreness after making an early exit from Friday’s 5-0 shutout.