Wait--I think that the Red Sox just scored again. Yes, game one of the World Series was pretty low on suspense as Boston took a 3-0 first inning lead over Colorado and rolled to a record-setting 13-1 victory. That is the biggest margin ever for a game one World Series victory but take heart, Rockies fans: the two previous teams that won openers by 11 runs, the 1959 White Sox and the 1996 Braves, went on to lose the World Series. Also, to paraphrase what Danny Ainge once said after a blowout loss in the NBA Finals, Colorado will not be starting out game two down by 12--and unlike basketball, in which a team or player can exploit the exact same mismatch each time down the court (or take advantage of another opening if the opponent uses a double team), game two will feature completely different matchups. As the cliche goes, momentum in baseball is next day's starting pitcher.
Still, no matter how you look at it, Boston's performance in game one was most impressive. Starting pitcher Josh Beckett struck out the first four batters he faced, something no pitcher has done in World Series play since Sandy Koufax struck out the first five Yankees he saw in a 1963 World Series game. Beckett has emerged as the Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson of this era and after this game his career postseason ERA is 1.73, the third lowest in MLB history (with a minimum of 70 innings pitched). Boston was just as impressive offensively, pounding out 17 hits, including eight doubles, the most in a World Series game since 1925. Every Red Sox starter got at least one hit and eight different players had at least one RBI. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez continued their torrid postseasons; Ortiz went 3-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Ramirez went 3-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.
Dustin Pedroia hit a leadoff home run on the second pitch that he saw to get things started for Boston. Colorado answered Boston's three run first inning with one run in the second inning but then the Rockies' bats pretty much went silent for the rest of the night as Colorado managed just six hits. Beckett struck out nine while allowing just one walk in seven innings and relievers Mike Timlin and Eric Gagne contributed three more strikeouts in two innings to close the game. Colorado starter Jeff Francis allowed six runs in four innings (13.5 ERA) but Franklin Morales really got hammered, giving up seven runs in two thirds of an inning, which adds up to an ERA that looks like a good NFL passer rating (94.5). He also committed the first balk in World Series play in 11 years.
Colorado had won 21 of 22 games prior to this, including a 7-0 record in the National League playoffs. It will be up to rookie pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to outduel veteran Curt Schilling in game two on Thursday night if the Rockies are to avoid facing an 0-2 deficit. Jimenez was just 4-4 in the regular season but he only gave up two runs in 11.1 innings in two postseason starts, both of which Colorado won. Schilling went 9-8 this season but he is 10-2 in his postseason career, including a 2-0 record in three starts this year.
Don't be surprised at all if Colorado wins game two. The main difference between these teams appears to be Beckett--and the Rockies won't see him again for several more games.