By Ted Gay – @TedG63
The local hero rode into town with the National League Championship trophy and the chance to add to his playoff legacy. When he was announced he wallowed in the admiration of the local spectators while his pitching coach and starter were subject to the taunts of fans, people the Dodgers seemingly never encountered in LA. By midnight the hero was still beloved locally, but back in The City Of Sun, popular opinion was that David Roberts was another John Farrell, overmatched on the big stage.
The play that spurned this opinion, and has been examined ceaselessly, was, in the end, meaningless. Roberts replaced Pedro Baez, who looked unhittable striking out Mitch Moreland and Xavier Boegarts, sandwiched around a JD Martinez intentional walk, preceded by an Andrew Benintendi, hitting like he has a 12 million dollar World Series MVP incentive in his contract, single, for Alex Wood, to face Rafael Devers, who already had an RBI. Alex Cora trumped the pitching advantage by sending Eduardo Nunez to pinch hit and before Boston fans could say “What the hell is Cora thinking,” the manager rolled another seven and Nunez hit a three-run home run to extend the lead to four.
Nunez provided insurance runs, and, it is easily imaginable that the Dodgers would have mounted more of a fight if they were down one run, not four, but the pinch-hit home run was not the difference. Game One one was a story of two pitching staffs.
Except for Matt Kemp’s second-inning home run, surrendered by Chris Sale, who was again bailed out by the the Sox offense and pen, and has reached the point of his career when he needs to stop being a thrower and start being a pitcher, relying less on striking men out because, as Crash Davis said, “strikeouts are boring and they’re fascist,” the Sox retaliated in the bottom of each inning after the Dodgers scored.”
In the top of the third That Bastard Machado tied the score by singling and driving home Justin Turner. In the bottom of the frame, JD Martinez singled home Steve Pierce who reached on a fielder’s choice. When That Bastard Machado hit into a fielder’s choice against Matt Barnes plating Brian Dozier in the fifth, the Sox answered by loading the bases, then Xander Boagaerts hit another run-producing fielder’s choice, and Rafael Devers, who, at that point, was playing like someone who should never be sat for Eduardo Nunez, singled to put the Sox up two. That Bastard Machado brought the Dodgers within a run with a flyout in the seventh, and the Sox answered again with Nunez’s blast in the bottom half. Winning teams need to shut down the opposition after they scored. The Dodgers pitching failed at every point but one.
Teams that make the World Series do not let yesterday’s game bleed into today’s. The balls have been racked, the cues chalked and a new game commences tonight. A big Sox win last night does not guarantee one tonight. That’s why they keep insisting on playing these games and not let popular opinion decide the winner.
B & B notes.
How did John Smoltz turn into a grumpy old man grumbling about how things were better when he was young while confusing Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes? Every fan base hates the national announcers, but Smoltz is equally bad across all platforms. No matter what the circumstances, on the field or off if you have the choice between Dennis Eckersley and Smoltz you pick Eck every time.
If I am a GM, I don’t overpay for Clayton Kershaw or Sale. Neither has proven they can go Full Baumgartner in the postseason. They are pitching more like air it out eighth inning guys than starters.
Roberts emptying his bench in the seventh inning was more someone managing an All-Star game than Game One of the World Series. Cora and Roberts are playing Three Card Monte. Cora keeps moving the Queen and Roberts keeps guessing wrong.
The pregame weather which spurned heavy wind, rain, park clearing lightning and tornadoes was like the baseball Gods had gone to war to determine which team, both the whipping boys for the Bronx Machine in the previous century, they would bless with luck over the next seven games.