10 takeaways from Game 1 of the World Series. It was a Battle of Men With Beards vs. Boys Mainly Without. The Men won 8-1. Adam Wainwright walked Jacoby Ellsbury to start the game for Boston and it went downhill from there. The Cardinals now look to Wunderkind Michael Wacha in Game 2 Thursday night to bail them. Wacha began this season pitching for the Texas A&M Aggies. The Red Sox counter with John Lackey, whose 2013 comeback in Boston has rivaled that of New Kids on the Block. We'll be there at Fenway Park Thursday night. Destiny would have no other way since we've witnessed Lackey pitch in Fort Myers, Tampa Bay and Oakland this season.
We'll keep the Bud Light at game-time temperature.
10. The last time the Red Sox lost a World Series game Jon Lester was just three months shy of his third birthday. That was 27 years ago Sunday, in Game 7 of the 1986 Classic Fall. The Red Sox were put out of our misery that night, losing 8-5 to the Mets. Darryl Strawberry hit a home run of Al Nipper in that game that cleared Long Island Sound and landed somewhere south of Bridgeport.
Now, the Red Sox, the franchise that once trademarked epic October Surprises, have now won nine straight World Series games. Lester has played a pivotal role in two of those games and has thrown 13 innings of World Series baseball without giving up a run. His 7.2 innings Wednesday were a masterpiece of mixed speeds and a fearless use of his cutter and breaking ball, as he got four batters to take called third strikes on balls going down and in or down in out. In all Lester finished with eight strikeouts and only one walk in Boston's 8-1 rout, giving up just five hits. Lester, as a rookie, also tossed 5.2 shutout innings against the Pebbles in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series at Denver, a game Boston won that game 4-3.
9. All season, Red Sox fans, reporters who cover the team and even members of State Run Media have questioned whether or not the Red Sox have an ace in their rotation. Lester had answered that question with an affirmative "yes" in the playoffs. He's 3-1 and has fanned 22 batters while walking just five, with a 1.67 ERA over 27 innings. If there was a Conn Smythe Trophy in baseball, he'd be Koji Uehara's main challenger in Boston.
6. Bobby Valentine this past week said he could have managed these Red Sox to the World Series. The day of John Farrell's "there's a new sheriff in town" introductory press conference, he spoke of noticing problems with Lester's delivery while managing the Blue Jays. Farrell, of course, was Terry Francona's pitching coach.
Valentine's most memorable moment with Lester was when he left him in against Toronto on July 22, 2012 as Lester gave up four home runs and 11 runs in four innings at Fenway Park.
Valentine was so clueless he would not have noticed if Lester was throwing right-handed.
5. Carlos Beltran made his first World Series game memorable for the right and wrong reasons. He stole a grand slam from Oritz, which turned into a loooong sacrifice fly, that would have made the score 8-0 Red Sox. But Beltran injured his ribs on the play. Beltran's catch reminded us that he made $115 million playing for the Mets and never made it out of the NLCS.
4. The Cardinals played more like International League champions than National League champions. Show me, anything. The team that won 97 games and rolled through the Dodgers in the NLCS was lost in the lights, mayhem and chill of Fenway Park. St. Louis made three errors and should have been tagged with a fourth as Wainwright watched Drew's popup turn into a single. The Red Sox won't make four errors in this entire series.
3. Who are these guys, anyway? Most of the position players on the Cardinals not named Molina were strangers to viewers outside Missouri, Arkansas or the rest of Pennsyltucky. One of the "notables" on the Cardinals' roster was David Freese. Wednesday, Lester was Mr. Freeze for the Red Sox. Mr. Freese was the MVP of the 2011 NLCS and World Series. Forgive the Red Sox and their fans if they weren't paying attention. The Red Sox were heading into their baseball fallout shelters at that time as the Nuclear Winter began its grip across Red Sox Nation.
Freese hit into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the fourth inning that would be the turning point of this game, if there was ever a curve in Boston's steady ascent in Game 1.
1-2-3, just like they drew it up in Fort Myers.
2. The funniest moment of the Fox broadcast came when first-ballot Hall of Famer Kevin Siegrist came into face Oritz in the seventh. Joe Buck called him "a shutdown left-hander" who throws in mid 90s. Seigrest's first pitch didn't stop until it landed in the bleachers behind the Red Sox bullpen.
1. Babe Ruth, Bruce Hurst and Lester are the only three lefties to ever start Game 1 of the World Series for the Red Sox. The three have combined for 24 scoreless innings in their World Series opening performances. The Red Sox have won Game 1 of the 1918, . There was no World Series MVP when Ruth threw 14 consecutive scoreless innings against the Cubs, including a complete-game victory in Game 1. If there was such an award, it would have gone to either Ruth or Carl Mays. Hurst was MVP of the 1986 World Series for a few fleeting moments before Gary Carter got things started for the Mets with two out and nobody on in the bottom of the 10th in Game 6.
Lester is certainly in contention for that honor this season after Wednesday. Luckily for Boston, Calvin Schiraldi has long since retired, even though his spirit has been spotted floating around Clay Buchholz at times this season.
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