Red Sox

Why 2018 Red Sox were the best championship team in all of sports

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USA TODAY Sports

Why 2018 Red Sox were the best championship team in all of sports

The Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball this year. That's not exactly a hot take.

But how do the 2018 Red Sox stack up to the recent champions (and top contenders) of other major sports leagues? Quite well, it turns out.

The data analysis website FiveThirtyEight recently ranked the best overall teams of the 2018 calendar year using relative Elo ratings, which measure team strength based on "head-to-head results, margin of victory and quality of opponent."

The top team in 2018, ahead of the mighty Golden State Warriors and Alabama Crimson Tide? Your Boston Red Sox.

In fact, Boston's 1610 Elo rating was the highest of any Major League Baseball team in the 21st century, as FiveThirtyEight's Neil Paine noted any Elo rating over 1600 in baseball "makes you an all-time great club."

(If you're wondering why the Red Sox rank No. 1 on this list despite having the "lowest" Elo rating, it's because each rating is relative to its sport: MLB teams have much lower overall Elo ratings than NBA teams, mostly due to the number of games they play.)

Boston certainly played like MLB's team of the century, winning a franchise-record 108 regular season games before going 11-3 in the postseason against two 100-win clubs and a 92-win Los Angeles Dodgers squad.

The Red Sox did earn one dubious distinction, however. According to FiveThirtyEight, they were part of the worst upset of 2018 when the lowly Baltimore Orioles defeated them 10-3 on Sept. 26. (The pitching matchup in that game: Chris Sale vs. Jimmy Yacabonis.)

Even one of the greatest baseball teams of all time can't win 'em all.

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Curt Schilling on Hall of Fame: 'If I'm outside the Hall of Fame with Luis Tiant, I'm all right'

Curt Schilling on Hall of Fame: 'If I'm outside the Hall of Fame with Luis Tiant, I'm all right'

Curt Schilling is in his eighth year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Is this the year that he'll finally get in?

The former pitcher spent 20 years in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Boston Red Sox. He went 216-146 record, a 3.46 ERA, and 3,116 strikeouts (good for 15th most all-time) in his storied career. 

It's his postseason dominance (11-2, 2.23 ERA) that elevates Schilling's Hall candidacy. He's a three-time World Series winner, two of which came with the Red Sox, was a co-Series MVP with Randy Johnson in 2001 with the Diamondbacks and was named an All-Star six times.

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Despite his numbers, Schilling hasn't gotten into the Hall yet. While he may be inching closer to making the cut, he isn't counting on getting in with the 2020 class.

"I don't think I'm going to make it this year," Schilling told MLB Network's Bob Costas in a recent interview. "The trend has usually been that players will drop a certain amount of percentage between the public and the private ballots. And I don't think I'm high enough above that 75 [percent needed for election] for the tail-off not to get me."

Though Schilling doesn't think he'll get in, he's not worrying about it too much. And he's focusing on the fact that there are plenty of great players who never made the Hall of Fame, including another former Red Sox ace.

"There are also some pretty good people who aren't in the Hall of Fame," Schilling said. "If I'm outside the Hall of Fame with Luis Tiant, I'm all right."

Schilling does have a good point. There are plenty of great, deserving players that haven't made the cut for the Hall of Fame. He still has three more chances to get in, so perhaps his time will come.

And speaking of Tiant, there surely is a case for him to be a Hall of Famer. He went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA in a 19-year career and also struck out 2,416 batters. Had the Red Sox gotten him a ring in 1975, perhaps he would've had a stronger case to get in.

Red Sox add LHP Matt Hall via trade with Tigers, designate Travis Lakins for assignment

Red Sox add LHP Matt Hall via trade with Tigers, designate Travis Lakins for assignment

The Boston Red Sox made their second trade of the week Friday.

The Sox acquired left-handed reliever Matt Hall from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for minor league catcher Jhon Nunez.

Hall appeared in 21 games for the Tigers the past two seasons. He was 0-1 with a 9.48 ERA, 32 strikeouts, 18 walks and a 2.07 WHIP in 31 1/3 innings in that span. Hall made his major league debut for Detroit in 2018.

To make room for Hall on the team's 40-man roster, the team designated right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins for assignment, per Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.

Lakins, 25, made his major league debut in 2019 and logged 16 appearances for the Red Sox. He went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 10 walks and a 1.41 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings of work.

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On Wednesday, the Red Sox traded first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis to the Texas Rangers in exchange for left-handed reliever Jeffrey Springs, while also designating lefty pitcher Bobby Poyner for assignment.