BOSTON — The Red Sox looked all right in the opening game of the World Series against Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw scoring five runs on seven hits over his four plus innings.
The rap on them, though — if there is one for a team that led the majors in runs and most other offensive categories — is their dropoff in production against left-handers, about 100 points less of OPS, .817 to .719.
But before Tuesday's opener, Sox manager Alex Cora offered a pretty good excuse, or explanation. And certainly one that Rays fans will endorse.
"One thing about lefties, and I mentioned it halfway through the season, we don't get a mulligan or a pass, but we probably faced the best lefty in the big leagues three or four times, (Blake) Snell,'' Cora said.
"Take him out of the equation, and probably the numbers are a little bit better. I know you cannot do that, but he had our number. He was great.''
Whether Cora was taking a swipe at Kershaw, or simply giving credit, he had a point.
In a season the Rays believe worthy of a Cy Young award, including over Boston's Chris Sale, Snell dominated the Red Sox, going 3-0, 1.08 in four starts, allowing only three runs in 25 innings.
Former Rays ace LHP David Price takes the mound for Boston in Game 2 on Wednesday having shed the burden of being winless as a starter in the postseason and having regained the effectiveness with his changeup during his star turn in the ALCS.
Asked about the changeup in Tuesday's media session, Price made sure to give credit where deserved – to former Rays teammate James Shields.
"Just being with him early on in my career … just being able to work on it every day with him,'' Price said. "One of the guys that had one of the best changeups in all of baseball, to work with me on it every single day, that was huge.''
Thanks, but …
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, as expected, got a warm reception from the Fenway faithful in acknowledgement of the role he played by stealing a base to spark the Sox comeback to win the 2004 ALCS, and eventually the World Series. But when the Sox trot out members of the 2004 curse-busting team to throw out the ceremonial first pitches before Game 2 Wednesday, Roberts will stay loyal to his current team. "I'm going to be getting ready for a game,'' he said. "So I'll have fun with those guys but, yeah, I won't be a part of it.''
He said it
"It's very tall.''
— Dodgers South Korean LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, on his initial impression of seeing the 37-foot Green Monster for the first time.
* With Mookie Betts' first inning steal, Taco Bell will offer a free taco to all at a later date. Further benefit, no need to run those annoying commercials the rest of the series.
* The Red Sox added an extra lefty reliever, Drew Pomeranz, to their roster in place of RHP Brandon Workman. The Dodgers swapped lefties, adding Scott Alexander, who throws a sinker and more resilient, over Caleb Ferguson.
* Cora cooled the idea of Mookie Betts starting at second base during the DH-less games in Los Angeles next week as an option to get usual DH J.D. Martinez into the outfield.
* The Sox survived a scare when Martinez twisted his right ankle after slipping rounding second in the third inning as he stayed in.