Sat, Oct 20, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Red Sox sail into World Series

MAKING HISTORY:On his 43rd birthday, Alex Cora, who was serenaded by his players, became the first manager from Puerto Rico to take a team to the World Series

AP, HOUSTON, Texas

Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox catches a fly ball hit by Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros, unseen, in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Thursday.

Photo: Erik Williams-USA Today

David Price, at last, looked like a post-season ace. Craig Kimbrel pitched a lockdown inning and much-maligned Jackie Bradley Jr became a Most Valuable Player.

Most everything went right for the Red Sox as they sailed into the World Series.

Now the big question for Boston: Is everything all right with ace Chris Sale?

“We’re not perfect. That’s the cool thing about this team. We feel that we can keep improving and we have one more series to go,” triumphant manager Alex Cora said on Thursday.

On his 43rd birthday, Cora became the first manager from Puerto Rico to take a team to the World Series.

The club that led the majors with 108 wins this season eliminated defending champions the Houston Astros with a 4-1 victory, taking the American League Championship Series 4-1.

After the Red Sox surrounded Cora in the clubhouse and sang Happy Birthday to their rookie skipper, they began turning their attention to next week.

Game 1 of the World Series is on Tuesday at Fenway Park in Boston against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers. The Dodgers held a 3-2 lead in the National League Championship Series going into Game 6 yesterday at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

The Red Sox will try to bring Boston their fourth crown in 15 years — it is their first World Series trip since winning it in 2013.

Those extra days off at home will give Sale even more time to rest up.

The seven-time All-Star has been regaining strength since his release on Monday from Massachusetts General Hospital, where he spent Sunday night for observation because of a stomach illness.

The club has not specified Sale’s ailment or treatment.

Cora said before Thursday’s game that the lefty ace was prepared for his next start.

“We knew the skinny guy was ready for Game 6,” Cora said after Price and the Red Sox finished off the Astros.

Sale went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA this season, but was limited down the stretch because of shoulder trouble. His velocity dipped in the playoffs, where he won the American League Division Series opener against the New York Yankees and also relieved in the clinching Game 4.

Sale lost the opener to Houston, working four uneven innings. After losing weight, he threw on flat ground on Thursday, leading Cora to say Sale was ready.

The rest of the Red Sox look locked in.

Price had been 0-9 with a 6.16 ERA in 11 career post-season starts before holding Houston to three hits in six shutout innings, striking out nine.

The 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner was thrilled he will not be asked again about that zero in the win column.

“That’s awesome,” Price said. “I don’t have to prepare myself for it in spring training on Feb. 20 or September when I’ve still got five regular-season starts. I don’t have to answer that question anymore, and man, it feels good.”

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