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The Boston Red Sox struck first in the 2018 World Series.The Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 in Tuesday's Game 1 at Fenway Park and moved a step closer to their fourth championship in 15 seasons. In a showdown of aces and generational talents Mike Marjama Jersey , Chris Sale allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in four innings for Boston.Counterpart Clayton Kershaw allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts in four innings. Eduardo Nunez provided the offensive fireworks for the Red Sox with a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh to push a one-run advantage to four, while J.D. Martinez went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run, and Andrew Benintendi went 4-for-5 with one RBI and three runs.MLB MLBNOON TIME.#WorldSeries IFWyZwsix1 Kershaw's Struggles Will Doom Dodgers' World Series HopesKershaw is a surefire Hall of Famer, but his postseason struggles are a defining chapter of his resume and may leave him ringless. The southpaw has an MVP, three Cy Young Awards and seven All-Star appearances to go with a 2.39 career regular-season ERA, but his playoff ERA was 4.09 before Boston lit him up Tuesday.It isn't incompetence but rather inconsistency that has derailed his Octobers.According to Baseball Reference, his nine playoff starts of six or more innings with zero or one earned run are the most in the game from 2013 through 2018. However, he was also tied for the most starts with five or more runs (seven) in playoff history coming into Game 1, and he added to that tally with another disappointing showing.FOX Sports: MLB MLBONFOXAnother tough World Series start for Clayton Kershaw. 1psC1Sxk04Buster Olney Buster_ESPNKershaw first 17 pitches: No swings-and-missesJeff Passan JeffPassanClayton Kershaws fastball is sitting at 90 mph, and the Red Sox are teeing off on it. Its now 2-0. More troublesome is that his slider is 88-89. The lack of separation between the pitches could be awfully problematic.It is not fair to label him a playoff choker with so many dazzling starts, but he has not put forth the consistent production the Dodgers are looking for from the best pitcher of this era.Tuesday's start would have been even worse if a blistered ball by Jackie Bradley Jr. with runners on the corners in the second didn't deflect off the mound to a waiting Manny Machado for a double play.The only way the Dodgers will win the World Series is if they counter a Red Sox lineup that led MLB in runs (876) , hits (1,509), doubles (355), batting average (.268), on-base percentage (.339) and slugging percentage (.453). The best way to do that is with a shutdown ace who can take the mound three times in a series, but Kershaw wasn't up for the challenge.His failure exacerbated the pressure on the other options in the rotation.Walker Buehler was brilliant this season but is just a rookie with a 5.40 ERA in three playoff games this year. Hyun-Jin Ryu has a 4.40 ERA in three playoff appearances this year.That is not exactly what Los Angeles wants on the mound in must-win scenarios against mighty Boston, but Kershaw is unreliable at this point. The National League champions just don't know which version of him they will get on a given night in October.J.D. Martinez Primed to Win World Series MVPThe Boston lineup is full of threats and got the big blow from Nunez, but Martinez is already positioned to win the World Series MVP Award.Dan Mullenof ESPN noted the slugger entered Game 1 with a head-turning .455/.500/1.091 slash line in 13 at-bats versus Kershaw, and he delivered with two hits and two RBI against the Dodgers ace. One of the hits was a long double into center field that would have found the seats in many ballparks.Daren Willman darenwJD Martinez vs Clayton Kershaw tonight has hit a single 105.9 MPHand a double 109.1 MPH. 馃敟馃敟馃敟Bob Nightengale BNightengaleJD Martinez is underpaid. Even teammates joke hes worth $100 million more than the production hes provided this seasonMartinez figures to face Kershaw in at least one more game, if not more, which will give him the opportunity to continue smashing his pitches. He will be no slouch against the rest of the Los Angeles rotation either; he challenged for a triple crown with a .330/.402/.629 slash line to go with 43 home runs and 130 RBI during the regular season.While he will have challengers鈥攕uch as Benintendi鈥擬artinez's power and prowess against the Los Angeles ace put him in pole position to win MVP. Also Edwin Diaz Jersey , Nunez isn't consistently in the lineup, so his homer will be a memorable moment instead of a launching point to MVP.Martinez will also benefit from the fact Sale was uninspiring. The Boston ace was the MVP favorite coming into the series at +550 (bet $100 to win $550), per Bovada (h/tOddsShark). Martinez was not far behind at +700 and looks like a great bet after one game. Alex Cora's Brilliant Moves Make Red Sox Heavy FavoritesThe most important moment of Game 1 featured a back-and-forth battle between the two managers.After Benintendi started the bottom of the seventh with a double, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts turned to the flame-throwing Pedro Baez. Baez proceeded to strike out Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts with an intentional walk to Martinez thrown in, but Roberts chose left-hander Alex Wood to face Rafael Devers.Alex Cora countered by pinch-hitting Nunez, who hit just 10 home runs this season.Chalk one up for Cora because Nunez blasted Wood's second offering over the Green Monster in left field to all but clinch Game 1.Jon Tayler, Smiling Politely JATaylerAlex Cora turned a baffling Eduardo Nu帽ez pinch-hitting appearance into a three-run home run, just make Cora the president of the universe now.Christopher Smith SmittyOnMLBEduardo Nunez pinch hits for Rafael Devers, the Red Soxs hottest hitter. Nunez hits a home run. Alex Cora wins again.Paul Flannery PflannsAlex Cora is always right. Its really amazing.The Red Sox have the best offense in the majors, a dominant ace in Sale and home-field advantage following 108 regular-season wins. It seems unfair to throw in a manager who is pushing all the right buttons, but that is exactly what Boston has in Cora.The Red Sox are in full control , and they have just the man to lead them to three more victories. What's Next?Boston will turn to David Price for Wednesday's Game 2 at Fenway Park, while Los Angeles will go with Ryu. The Boston Red Sox will try to accomplish something in Game 2 of the 2018 World Series that they haven't achieved yet in the postseason.After taking Game 1 of the series over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston is looking to win two consecutive home games for the first time in three series.The Red Sox dropped one of the first two contests in the ALDS and ALCS, which gives the Dodgers hope heading into Game 2 they can steal a game before heading back home for Game 3 Friday.David Price, who reversed his postseason struggles in Game 5 of the ALCS, opposes Hyun-Jin Ryu in the pitching matchup, but as we saw in Game 1, the relief pitchers on both sides could end up as the most important pitchers to toe the rubber in Game 2. Game 2 InformationStart Time:8:09 p.m. ETTV:FoxLive Stream:Fox Sports Go or Fox Sports app. PredictionBoston 7, Los Angeles 4Once again, the Boston bats will be on display at Fenway Park.In Game 1, Alex Cora's side racked up 11 hits James Paxton Jersey , seven of which came off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi set the tone at the top of the order, as they combined for five hits and five runs.Elise Amendola/Associated PressBenintendi went 4-for-5 in his World Series debut, and he'll continue his early quest to be World Series MVP in Game 2 with a pair of base knocks.The Boston hitters will have to be patient at the plate against Ryu, who conceded seven earned runs in 14.1 innings spread across three starts in the NLDS and NLCS.Los Angeles hopes it can get at least a six-inning outing of Ryu similar to the one he produced in Game 1 of the NLDS.But that will be difficult against a Boston lineup that found success against Kershaw immediately in the World Series opener.Even if Betts and Benintendi struggle, the Red Sox possess a handful of batters further down the order who are more than capable of reaching base and putting Ryu under pressure.Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon, who combined for three hits in Game 1, will be the difference-makers at the bottom of the order, and they'll set up Betts and Benintendi for RBI opportunities in their second and third at-bats.The biggest question mark for the Red Sox entering Game 2 is the performance of Price, who earned his first postseason victory as a starter in Game 5 of the ALCS.He doesn't have to be perfect, but he needs to produce a solid outing of five or six innings to set up his team's relief pitchers.The Boston left-hander will do enough to keep the Red Sox in the lead through five innings, but he'll have a tough time getting Manny Machado out.Machado continued his terrific postseason with three RBI in Game 1 , and he'll drive in at least two more runs with Justin Turner and David Freese getting on base in front of him.David J. Phillip/Associated PressOnce the starters exit, Game 2 will come down to which bullpen performs better, and based off Game 1, the edge belongs to Boston.Ryan Brasier was the only Boston reliever to be charged with an earned run Tuesday, while three of the four Los Angeles pitchers out of the bullpen gave up an earned run.Brasier, Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello will bridge the gap between Price and closer Craig Kimbrel while the Red Sox tack on two insurance runs in the final few innings.In the ninth inning, Kimbrel will shut down the Dodgers for the second straight game and hand the Red Sox a commanding 2-0 lead. Follow Joe on Twitter, JTansey90.Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.
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