By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — To reach the World Series, the Red Sox are going to have to pitch well, they’re going to have to play the field well, and they’re going to have to continue hitting the way that they’re hitting. A 2-1 series lead guarantees absolutely nothing.

But after winning Game 3 in convincing fashion, the Red Sox do have history on their side.

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The team shared in its pregame notes on Monday night that the ALCS had been tied at 1-1 in 23 instances prior to this season. In those 23 series, the winner of Game 3 went on to win the series 18 times — or 78.3 percent of the time.

Those are some strong odds — and the Red Sox have contributed to some of that history, too. And they did it against the Astros, no less.

In 2018, the Red Sox lost the ALCS opener at Fenway Park, 7-2. Boston won Game 2 by a score of 7-5, and then won 8-2 in Game 3. The series never returned to Boston, with the Red Sox winning Games 4 and 5 to advance to the World Series.

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The Red Sox also lost Game 1 of the 2013 ALCS to the Tigers, before winning Game 2 at home and Game 3 on the road — both by a single run. With a run differential of plus-1 but a series lead of 2-1 heading into Game 4, the Red Sox won 7-3 in Game 4, ultimately winning the series in six games.

While there’s some positivity in the history, the Red Sox have also beaten that history before. In 2007, the Red Sox and Indians split the first two games of the series, before Cleveland won Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. Cleveland won Game 4, too, to go up 3-1, before the Red Sox rattled off three straight wins.

And of course, nobody in New England will ever forget 2004, when the Red Sox staged the most incredible comeback in MLB playoff history, winning four straight to erase a 3-0 series lead for the Yankees.

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So, again, the games will need to be won on the field. Yet being on the right side of that kind of historical data is always preferable to the alternative. Staff