Mitch's Sports Report: MVP Of World Series Game One Should Go To Red Sox Manager Alex Cora
When the MVP award for the 2018 World Series is handed out it will go to one of the players on the Boston Red Sox or L.A. Dodgers. That's what the "P" in MVP stands for, after all, "player".
But one game in to the Fall Classic you could make a decent argument that the MVP should go to Alex Cora, the Red Sox manager, who continues to make decisions in the playoffs that lead to victory.
Last night it was his call in the 7th inning to bring up Eduardo Nunez as a pinch hitter to face Dodger lefty Alex Wood. The Red Sox were leading by just a run, 5-4 at the time, with runners on first and second, and Nunez, who was passed over starting the game at third in favor of Rafael Devers, cranked a line drive three run homer into the base of the light tower above the Green Monster, a knock out blow that sent Boston on to an 8-4 game one victory. Nice call, skip.
And it's not like starting Devers was a bad decision either. The youngster who turns just 22 today had an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth that increased the Red Sox lead to 5-3, and the pitching changes all worked for Cora as well, with Boston's bullpen giving up just one run after a shorter than desired outing by ace Chris Sale.
The lanky lefty did strike out seven but he had to throw a lot of pitches in the process and was taken out in the fourth inning after giving up five hits and three runs, leaving with a 3-2 lead that the Dodgers turned into a tie game with a ground out RBI off Matt Barnes.
The run was charged to Sale and Barnes went on to get the win, but it was the shut-down work of Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez, and another starter, Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched the 8th, that got the Red Sox to closer Craig Kimbrel in the 9th with that four run cushion provided by the Nunez homer. The only blemish was a run given up by Ryan Brasier in the 7th, but it was a wildly successful game one win for the Red Sox on a frigid night at Fenway when the wet and the cold and the wind were all factors.
Outfielder Joc Pederson was tentative on chasing a fly ball hit by Andrew Benintendi in the 7th, and the ball ticked off his glove for a ground rule double, helping to set up the Nunez three run homer. Benintendi finished with four hits on the night.
Dodgers ace Kershaw, meanwhile, looked dominant at times but couldn't survive the fifth inning and was ultimately tagged for five runs in taking the loss.
And the squad from sunny L.A. will have to contend with even tougher New England weather conditions, as will the Red Sox, of course in game two tonight, with temperatures at Fenway expected to be even colder than the 53 degrees that marked the start of game one.
David Price will try to build on his first ever playoff start victory that he earned in game five against Houston when he takes the mound for Boston tonight. The Dodgers counter with Hyun-Jin Ru, who got roughed up in his game six start of the NLCS against Milwaukee.
In the NHL, it's likely only hardcore puck partisans checked in last night on the Boston Bruins against the Ottawa Senators, but those who did saw David Pastrnak score two goals to tie him for the league lead in the Bruins 4-1 win.
The Montreal Canadiens were supposed to be in a rebuilding year but they are 5-2-1 to start the season after a 3-2 win against the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre last night. Jonathan Drouin and Jeff Petry each had a goal and an assist in the win.
The UVM men's soccer team had a chance with a 2-1 lead to knock off 15th ranked UConn on the road, but the go ahead goal by Geo Alves didn't hold up as the Huskies got the equalizer in the 66th minute and then won the game in heartbreaking fashion for UVM, scoring with just a minute left in regulation play, a 3-2 final in favor of Uconn.
The St. Michael's Purple Knights also lost a tough one, falling in double overtime 3-2 against New Haven, and the St. Mike's Field Hockey team were shut out 4-0 by third ranked Merrimack.