There's little other way to put it; the Boston Red Sox were a juggernaut in 2018. They won two out of every three games, amounting to 108 wins, the most in almost two decades and the most for them since the end of World War II. Offseason acquisition J.D. Martinez led the league in runs batted in (130) and second in home runs (43) and a .330 batting average. Up to Martinez' level? Second baseman Mookie Betts, who was second in home runs on the team (32) but led the league in batting average (.346). Pitchingwise, the Sox lacked a Schilling or Martinez compared to past years, but they had a lot of guys doing things well. Rick Porcello, David Price, Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez combined for a 58-23 record, and averaged a strikeout an inning. In the bullpen? Criag Kimbrel to mop up with 42 saves.
The team started on fire, winning 17 of their first 19 games, and 12 of their last 13 before the All-Star break. They eventually finished eight games ahead of the New York Yankees in the East and five ahead of the Houston Astros in the American League (this still seems weird to say for me) before meeting the Yankees in their first round of postseason play. After splitting the first two at Fenway Park, the Sox made sure the series wouldn't come back to Boston, winning Games 3 and 4, including the former by a 16-1 score, clinching the American League Divisional Series and playing the Astros in the ALCS.
Houston put up as much of a fight as the Yankees did, which is to say very little. Winning Game 1 7-2 thanks to some obligatory pitching dominance from Justin Verlander, the Sox swept the next four thanks to middle and short relief in some instances (Kimbrel saved three of the four wins) and key moments in others, particularly home runs by Martinez and Jackie Bradley Jr. The Sox then met the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series for the first time in more than a century, when the Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins. The Dodgers won their season tiebreaker game over the Colorado Rockies, then defeated the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers to return to the fall classic, having lost in the 2017 Series to the Houston Astros.
So what happens when the best team in baseball for the season gets to the World Series after steamrolling their playoff opponents? They keep rolling, as they chased three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw after five innings en route to a 8-4 win in Game 1. The Sox scored three runs in the fifth inning of Game 2 in a 4-2 win, then Game 3 came along and man, what a something. The Sox tied the game in the 8th inning in Los Angeles to go to extra innings and took the lead in the 13th, only to see the Dodgers tie. A home run by the Dodgers gave them their first win of the series 3-2 after 18 innings, seven hours and 20 minutes, the longest game by time and inning count. The win for the Dodgers would be their last, as the Sox scored all of their runs in the last three innings of a 9-6 win in Game 4, and Price shut down the Dodgers for a 5-1 win (behind two of Steve Pearce's three homers in the Series) for the title.
Shout! and MLB video continue to present the World Series winning sets and films for the Champions, and this one is no different, showing the Series games and clinching wins on each disc. They do lack the pre and post-game productions that previous releases had, so there's a bit of a downside that the broadcasts aren't faithful, so be advised.The Blu-rays:
Each game is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and uses the AVC codec. I didn't watch much of the baseball and haven't for a little while now, but as far as transfer goes there's nothing to complain about. The grass looks green as doth the Fenway Monster, skin tones appear natural and the image doesn't have any banding or smearing of note, or any saturation problems. This looks nice as you'd expect.The Sound:
Like past releases, you get the original English broadcast audio, the Spanish simulcast, and the radio calls for both teams. The sound is clean as you'd expect, with no hissing or drop-offs, and everything is well-balanced in the middle of the soundstage. Solid work.The Extras:
Not that I saw or that stood out. Usually they have montages of home runs and big win celebrations but alas.Final Thoughts:
By and large the Shout!/MLB video collaboration remains a solid one, though there are some wrinkles within the release of this 2018 World Series Collector's Edition that are concerning notes that I'll presume they rectify with the release of the official film or similar companion double-dip release they have going this year. Technically the disc is fine and the lack of even topical extras are a bummer, but if you have a Red Sox fan, you have their holiday present sorted out now.