But baseball has a funny way of making a mess of all pre-written narratives, and the paper shredder was humming Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Kershaw and Sale both failed to record an out past the fourth inning, with Sale getting lifted after issuing a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier in the top of the fifth and Kershaw exiting after Mookie Betts drew a walk and Andrew Benintendi roped a single to left field to lead off the bottom of the fifth.
Kershaw was charged with five earned runs and the loss as his career postseason ERA climbed to 4.28 -- a sample size of 145 innings. Sale gave up three earned runs and took a no-decision.
It was the Red Sox offense -- and the Red Sox bullpen -- that carried the way in their 8-4 Game 1 victory. Benintendi tallied three runs scored and an RBI on three singles and one double, becoming just the third Red Sox player ever to record four hits in a World Series game. The other two: Wally Moses (Game 4, 1946 vs. St. Louis) and Jacoby Ellsbury (Game 3, 2007 at Colorado).
Eduardo Nunez, who’s been battling a right ankle injury since the ALDS and also struggled through knee and hamstring issues in the second half of the regular season, came off the bench in the bottom of the seventh inning and put the victory on ice with a pinch-hit, three-run homer off Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood. It sailed over the Green Monster and sent Fenway into an uproar.
Game 1 of the World Series took nearly four hours to complete and featured 12 different pitchers, 24 different hitters, and a total of 308 pitches. It wasn’t the kind of game anyone was expecting. But this Red Sox team has a way of rising to the occasion in all sorts of situations -- with first-year manager Alex Cora pulling all the right strings -- and Boston is now up 1-0 over Los Angeles in the best-of-seven Fall Classic.
The Red Sox won 108 games during the regular season. This was their 116th win of the year.
Quick Hits: Brewers general manager David Stearns was non-committal Tuesday when asked if the club will tender a contract to Jonathan Schoop … Josh Hader will remain in the Brewers’ bullpen in 2019 … Padres bench coach Mark McGwire informed the team earlier this month that he won't be returning in 2019 … Brewers infield prospect Mauricio Dubon (knee) is on track to be ready for the start of spring training … The Rays are working to complete a deal with Cuban right-hander Sandy Gaston that will reportedly include a $2.6 million signing bonus … Diamondbacks signed right-hander Shane Watson to a two-year minor league contract.