Baseball-Almanac.com's Divisional Series section
1998 American League Divisional Series:
Cleveland Indians (3),
Boston Red Sox (1)
As in the previous year's contest, all teams participating in the American League Divisional Series were entering familiar territory. Manager Joe Torre's Yankees had remained the top story throughout 1998 after outplaying the infamous 1927 team and finishing the season with an astonishing one hundred, fourteen regular-season wins (and soon-to-be eleven postseason victories). The Bombers win column had represented the most "Ws" by any team in one hundred, twenty-three years of Major League baseball and most felt that a trip to the Fall Classic, over the Texas Rangers, was a foregone conclusion. Their rivals, the Boston Red Sox were desperately trying to end a 13-game playoff-losing streak dating back to 1986, and were slated to go against the always-competitive Cleveland Indians.
As predicted, the Yankees did not disappoint and continued their historic run at their 24th World Series title by sweeping the Texas Rangers three-games-to-none behind one of baseball's greatest pitching rotations: David Wells, Andy Pettitte, David Cone and closer Mariano Rivera. They would go on to complete their incredible season with a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres and a final-season club a record of 125-50.
The Boston Red Sox were counting on their own rotation led by the newly acquired Pedro Martinez to take them the distance. Hitting however, proved their greatest asset in Game 1 as "lumberjack" Mo Vaughn homered twice and drove in seven runs himself. The result was an 11-3 road-win that finally ended their postseason misery (at least for the time being). Both teams continued to trade wins and Red Sox starter Pete Schourek seemed in total control for Game 4 after shutting out the Indians on two hits for 5 1/3 innings. Tom Gordon, who had set a major league record during the regular season with 43 consecutive saves, was brought in to finish the job, but stumbled after David Justice hit a two-run double in the eighth that resulted in a 2-1 victory and another shot at the American League title.
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