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Red Sox roll to 8-1 victory in World Series Game 1


There was a party Wednesday night at Fenway Park. And the Cardinals were merely serving the cocktails.

Jon Lester threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings and the Red Sox offense tagged the vaunted St. Louis staff early and late as Boston captured Game 1 of the World Series in an 8-1 rout. The only Cardinals run came on a ninth-inning solo blast by Matt Holliday. It was served up by Red Sox righty Ryan Dempster, who pitched just two total innings in the first two rounds. Dempster wound up finishing the game.

The Cardinals’ problems began in the bottom of the first inning when Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright issued a leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury. It was just the 37th walk in 38 starts this year for the Cardinals’ ace and it kicked off a crushing opening frame for the visiting club. Dustin Pedroia followed with a one-out single and then David Ortiz reached on a botched would-be doubleplay. More on that here. Mike Napoli then hit a bases-clearing, three-run double into the left-field gap, scoring Ellsbury, Pedroia and Ortiz with one swing.

Wainwright made it just five innings, yielding five runs — three earned — in by far his worst outing of the 2013 postseason. And the St. Louis bullpen — save for John Axford — wasn’t really any better.

Game 2 of the World Series is on Thursday night, back at Fenway Park.

It’ll be Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha vs. Boston’s John Lackey.

Michael Cuddyer not shining in left field early in NLDS Game 1

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.

Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.

With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.

Mets take lead during NLDS Game 1 with Daniel Murphy’s solo homer

Daniel Murphy
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
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Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.

Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.

Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.

Qualifying offer for free agents set at $15.8 million

Jason Heyward
AP Photo
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Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.

This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.

Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.

Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.

A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.