World Series Grades: Red Sox clobber Cardinals to take Game 1

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Thanks to an unexpected but not completely surprising offensive outburst, the Red Sox took Game 1 of the World Series from the Cardinals by the score of 8-1. They were only three outs away from a shutout when Matt Holliday hit a mammoth solo homer in the ninth inning. Let's hand out some grades for what baseball fans everywhere should hope is the first of seven World Series games:

TeamGradeAnalysis
A You want your ace to set the tone in Game 1 of the World Series, and Jon Lester did exactly that for the Red Sox. The southpaw shut the highest scoring team in the NL out for 7 2/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing only five singles and one walk. The Cardinals only had two batters reach third base and the final nine men they sent to the plate against Lester made outs. He was masterful.
B+ Eight runs against one of the best pitchers and bullpens in baseball is usually grounds for an A, but the Red Sox had some help from the sketchy Cardinals defense. They were gifted about four extra outs in the first two innings. Anyway, the Boston hitters would have had 11 runs instead of eight had the now injured Carlos Beltran not robbed David Ortiz of a grand slam in the second inning. (A run did score on the sacrifice fly.) As we saw all throughout the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, this Red Sox lineup is deep and relentless. It seems like every time you look up, the opposing pitcher has thrown 25+ pitches in the inning.
C The way I see it, second base umpire Dana DeMuth gets an F for blowing the call on Pete Kozma's botched double play transfer in the first inning but an A for conferencing with the other umpires and overturning the call. That averages out to a C. They had to get that call right -- especially considering the magnitude of the play and the World Series and all that -- and they did. It just took a little longer than it should have.
D Early location (and defensive) problems sabotaged Adam Wainwright in the first and second innings of Game 1, as the Red Sox hung five runs on him before he recorded his sixth out. Waino settled down after that and ended the night with those same five runs (three earned) allowed in five innings, meaning he simply didn't give his club much of a chance to win. The Cardinals were playing catch-up right from the very first inning behind their ace, which is no way to start the World Series.
F The Cardinals infield as a whole gets the F. I'm not quite sure where to start, so it might as well be with the offense. The five infielders (catcher included) went a combined 3-for-19 (.158) at the plate with five strikeouts, including a back-breaking 1-2-3 double play by David Freese to kill the team's best rally of the game in the fourth inning. Defensively, they made three errors (two by Kozma, one by Freese) and it could have easily been four had Wainwright or Yadier Molina touched the routine pop-up that dropping in for a hit. Baseball rules are weird sometimes.
CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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