World Series Game 1: The pivot points as Boston takes the first game, 8-4

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: The Boston Red Sox celebrate after an 8-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: The Boston Red Sox celebrate after an 8-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 23: Alex Woood #57 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as Eduardo Nunnez #36 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after his three-run home run during the seventh inning in Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Pivot point – Bullpen roulette

When neither Sale nor Clayton Kershaw retire anybody in the fifth inning, you know we’ve entered a new era of pitcher usage. The two teams combined to use 10 relievers, and Boston decisively won that contest.

In fact the superior performance of the Red Sox pen is probably the single most important factor in their victory. Sox relievers allowed just one run, although they did permit one inherited runner to score. But Dodger relievers allowed three runs and permitted two inherited runners to score.

The inherited Red Sox runners have been accounted for in the section on Betts’ non-groundout and Devers’ hit. The post-exit mark on Sale’s record was registered when Turner singled off Matt Barnes, driving home Brian Dozier.

But the key bullpen decision came in the Red Sox seventh, and it gave those desiring to second-guess Dodger manager Dave Roberts a clear shot at him.

After  Pederson allowed Benintendi’s pop to fall and bounce into the stands for two bases, Roberts lifted Julio Urias – who had pitched a scoreless sixth and whose only blemish was Pederson’s misplay – in favor of Pedro Baez. The move made sense; Baez had been superb in post-season play, and he was again Tuesday. He struck out Pearce and Bogaerts, in between those issuing the directed intentional walk to Martinez.

That brought up the left-handed hitting Devers to face the right-handed throwing Baez … or not. Roberts elected instead to bring in left-hander Alex Wood, prompting Red Sox manager Alex Cora to lift Devers in favor of right-handed pinch hitter Eduardo Escobar. Wood threw a breaking ball low and away, then threw a second not as far low and away. The pitch was outside the strike zone, but close enough to interest Nunez, who lined it over the Green Monster for a three-run homer that provided the decisive and final margin.