Roche: Big-Game Jon Lester Shines Again And Other Takeaways From Game 1
BOSTON (CBS) – Here are a few thoughts from the Red Sox’ Game 1 thumping of the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway on Wednesday night.
– Jon Lester did it again. He’s never failed to come through in a postseason game in his career. He is a big-game pitcher. Wednesday night he had a great cutter and curve and a good fastball. In his two career World Series games Lester has now thrown 13.1 scoreless innings. He’s allowed just five runs in 27 innings this postseason. If he was worried about not being considered an elite starter or true ace, those worries are no more.
– The play of the game for Lester? The 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the 4th inning to end it.
–Since 1993, when the home team wins Game 1 of the World Series they win it all. The 2004 and 2007 Red Sox were two teams to do it.
– How can a hitter change his slumping ways? How about with one swing of the bat? Mike Napoli did just that against Justin Verlander in Detroit in Game 3 of the ALCS and has been on a tear ever since. In fact, the active player with the most World Series RBI? Napoli with 13.
– David Ross epitomizes all that is good in the game. He eats, drinks, and sleeps baseball. He prepared tirelessly for Jon Lester’s Game 1 start. He then adjusted in-game because the Cards were looking for and swinging hard at fastballs. So Ross instructed Lester to throw his cut fastball to both sides of the plate. After the game, Ross said he loved every second of executing the game plan and talked about it to anyone and everyone after the game.
— One more note on Ross. The backstop took some high heat up and in in the eighth inning from young Carlos Martinez and was none too pleased. However, veteran catcher Yadier Molina quickly talked to Ross and then went out and talked to his pitcher about it — the right way to handle it.
THE WALKOFF: Lester Turns In Ace-Worthy Performance
— Don’t expect the Cardinals defense, who had three errors in Game 1, to play that way in Game 2. Michael Wacha has been as good as it gets this postseason and the Cards should be better in all three phases of the game.
– The one big factor for Game 2 is whether or not Carlos Beltran is in the St. Louis lineup, and if he is, can he be effective? Beltran took a full-speed blow to the ribs after making a brilliant catch off of David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the second inning, and it had to hurt. X-rays were negative, but if he can’t go it changes the entire Cardinals lineup.
– I liked that the umpires all got together and corrected a horrible initial call on the drop at second base by Peter Kozma in the first inning. However, I can understand why Cards manager Mike Matheny was upset because there is no instant replay on those types of plays. Even though it was obvious, you don’t see things overturned like that. But again, it was the right thing to do and would have been a disaster for MLB if it wasn’t changed.
– And with that play, as well as a pop-up that fell between Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina and another Kozma error, the Red Sox capitalized on mistakes — something they’ve done all postseason.
– David Ortiz is a stud and he’s locked in. It’s truly amazing to watch.
– I’m not sure what to make of Clay Buchholz. He is slated to start Game 4 Sunday in St. Louis and the way he talked after the game it sounds like he will try to do all he can do to pitch that one last time in 2013. He said he felt tightness in his shoulder in his last start in Saturday’s ALCS Game 6, and he also told me this injury is different than when he missed three months during the regular season. That injury was causing him to pitch bone on bone around the socket area of his shoulder, whereas this is tightness. Felix Doubront will be ready to go in case Clay can’t.
– I’m looking forward to James Taylor and the ’04 guys tossing out the first pitch prior to Game 2. The pregame ceremonies were awesome Wednesday night, with the flyover was as powerful as it gets!
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.
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