LOS ANGELES -- Way back yonder on March 30, the Boston Red Sox earned their first win of the 2018 season, as David Price pitched them to victory over the Rays. On Sunday night, the Red Sox won their 119th game of the 2018 season, as David Price pitched them to victory in Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers. That triumph secured the belt and the title for the Red Sox, and also cemented them as one of the greatest teams in MLB history.
Those 119 wins combine their 108 regular-season wins and their 11 October wins en route to the championship. Here's a full listing of the teams to win more games in a combined regular season and playoffs ...
- 1998 Yankees (125 wins)
- 2001 Mariners (120 wins)
Yes, that's it. Just the storied and vaunted '98 Yanks and 2001 Mariners formed a handshake queue or victory scrum more often than the 2018 Red Sox have (and let it be noted that the M's that year bowed out in the ALCS). Yes, the Red Sox are "merely" tied for ninth when it comes to most regular season wins, but just four teams -- the aforementioned '98 Yankees, the 1909 Pirates, the 1927 Yankees, and 1961 Yankees -- won more games in the regular season than this year's Boston model did while also winning the World Series. So often, the best team in the regular season doesn't wind up hoisting the trophy -- baseball is by turns uplifting and frustrating that way -- and that's in part why the Sox are in such rarefied air.
Yes, the three-tiered postseason means champions can rack up 11 wins, which can be said to pad that combined total. On the other hand, that's three chances for a regular-season powerhouse to come up short in the playoffs. For the pre-divisional era colossi, they need only vanquish one opponent in the postseason.
Speaking of that, let's remember this ...
- The Red Sox in the ALDS prevailed 3-1 over the 100-win Yankees.
- The Red Sox in the ALCS prevailed 4-1 over the 103-win, defending champion Astros.
- The Red Sox in the World Series prevailed 4-1 over the back-to-back NL champion Dodgers, who, at the level of the run differential, played like a 102-win team in the regular season.
That's a gantlet right there, and the Red Sox ran it while losing just three times in 14 games. So in reality this is a team with a 119-57 record that faced one of the toughest dockets of playoff opponents ever. By any sensible measure, that makes the 2018 Red Sox one of the greatest teams in baseball history.