The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the World Series after a thrilling Game 1 last night. After jumping on Clayton Kershaw early it seemed like the Sox were going to throttle the guy who had never pitched in a game below 50 degrees before. With 1 out and 2 runs already in, JD Martinez got picked off at first and Xander Bogaerts popped out to end the inning though and Kershaw settled in. The Sox were able to pull out the W with contributions from pretty much everyone, so lets look at the Top 5 Takeaways from Game 1 of the World Series.
1.) Alex Cora Practices the Dark Arts
Big Z and I joked on The 300s Podcast preview of the World Series that Alex Cora has a horseshoe firmly shoved where the sun doesn’t shine. This guy can do no wrong. It seems every move he makes, despite all evidence to the contrary, is the right one and he proved it again last night. Like most of Red Sox Nation I groaned at my TV when I saw Cora pinch hit for Rafael Devers with Eduardo Nunez. Devers was second on the team in batting average this postseason heading into last night, already had an RBI on the night, and Nunez had been struggling mightily. What does Nunez do? Proceeds to SMOKE a three run home run to put the Red Sox up 8-4. Incredible.
That ball is GONE!
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 24, 2018
2.) Chris Sale Still Isn’t Right
Don’t get me wrong, the guy was throwing gas to start the game and actually ended up with 7 K’s in 4 innings. But it took him 91 pitches, only 54 of which were strikes, to get through 4. His K/9 IP remain elite, but he doesn’t have the stamina or the health or whatever you want to call it to go deep into games. Perhaps the Sox can use Sale out of the bullpen in this series and just squeeze whatever magic they can out of him, but I am still concerned about his ability to bounce back considering everything he’s dealing with.
3.) The Red Sox Bullpen Continues to Feel Its Way Through the Dark
As we all know, the Boston bullpen was a huge concern heading into the playoffs and Cora has made it work relying primarily on Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel. Last night it was those four guys once again leading the way. Joe Kelly was throwing freakin wiffleballs last night as he had arguably his best outing since he’s been in Boston. Oh and Craig Kimbrel was absolutely filthy with 2 K’s to shut it down (thanks Eric Gagne).
Joe Kelly, Filthy 87mph Changeup (release/spin axis). pic.twitter.com/f3JjvR1wPj
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 24, 2018
4.) We Officially Have a Name for the Swingman Starter/Reliever
Before Game 1, Cora officially gave a name to what I had been referring to as a swingman/super utility bullpen arm all month. The Rover. For guys like Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello who have started games, pitched in long relief, emergency relief, as setup men; basically doing whatever it takes despite the role. Henceforth, this shall be known as The Rover.
5.) The Red Sox Remain Undefeated Against Instant Replay
Steve Pearce grounded into an inning ending double play and it was a real rally killer. Bummer. Only to come back from the commercial break to find out that Cora was challenging the play at first. And wouldn’t you know it, Pearce beat the throw by a hair and was safe at first to extend the inning. What happens next? JD Martinez absolutely smokes a ball to center field to score Pearce and put the Sox back on top 3-2.
Looking Ahead to Game 2
Tonight we get David Price back on the mound for his first start since his excellent outing in the ALCS. Has he truly exorcised those playoff demons and is he ready to give the Sox a commanding 2-0 lead in the World Series? Or will he revert back to the shaky guy we’ve seen all too much?
Either way, jump on the train now and buy a YUCK sticker before they’re all gone.
The Dodgers will counter with Hyun-Jin Ryu who is 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA this postseason. First pitch is tonight at 8:09 pm. Make sure to grab a coffee on your way home after work because it’s gonna be another long night!
PS – Don’t forget about your free lunch today.
— The 300s (@The300sBoston) October 24, 2018