Game 1 of the 2013 World Series is in the books, with the Red Sox coming away with an 8-1 victory at home to jump out to an early series lead.
The Cardinals will look to even things up on Thursday night when they send NLCS MVP Michael Wacha to the mound against John Lackey, but for the time being lets take a closer look at some important stats and facts from Game 1.
Fellow MLB Columnist Ely Sussman put together a list of 20 must-know facts and stats about the World Series earlier today, and now that Game 1 has been completed here are a few more worth noting.
Postseason Outs: 9
Postseason Pitches Thrown: 22
Pitches Per Out: 2.4
After featuring just one left-hander in their bullpen during their postseason run last year, the Cardinals signed Randy Choate to a three-year, $7.5 million deal in the offseason, giving them one of the top lefty specialists in the game.
Choate has made six appearances so far this postseason, logging three perfect innings to this point, but what is more impressive is just how short his time on the mound has been.
Four of his outings have been three pitches or less, with his "long" outing being an eight-pitch performance against the Dodgers. So why is that efficiency and effectiveness significant?
The team opted to go with Choate against Jacoby Ellsbury in Game 1, and he got the job done with a two-pitch out. Later that inning, the Cards' other left-hander, Kevin Siegrist, came in to face David Ortiz and saw his first pitch sail over the right field wall.
Ortiz loves to jump on the first pitch and Choate tends to get a lot of guys out on the first pitch. The Siegrist-Ortiz matchup was pointed to as one to watch by many, but moving forward it could be Choate who draws that assignment.
Ortiz is 3-for-9 with a double and three RBI against Choate in his career.
Boston Record When Jonny Gomes Starts in LF: 7-0
Boston Record When Daniel Nava Starts in LF: 1-3
The Red Sox have employed a platoon in left field all season, with Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp all seeing a good deal of playing time.
Seven times so far this postseason it has been Gomes penciled into the starting lineup in left field, and the Red Sox are now a perfect 7-0 in those games. Daniel Nava has been the starter in the team's other four games, with the Red Sox going 1-3 in those contests.
From a production standpoint, Nava has actually had the better postseason, hitting .333/.467/.417 in 12 at-bats compared to just .179/.233/.250 in 28 at-bats for Gomes. For whatever reason though, Gomes seems to be the team's good luck charm this postseason.
During the regular season, the team was 42-34 (.553) with Gomes in the starting lineup and 72-49 (.595) when Nava started, although there was some overlap there with Nava spending a good deal of time in right field when Shane Victorino was injured.
Shane Robinson AB Per HR: 68.4 (in regular season career, 5 in 342 AB)
Carlos Beltran AB Per HR: 10.3 (in postseason career, 16 in 164 AB)
After a two-hit, two-RBI performance against Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS, the Cardinals opted to start Shane Robinson over Jon Jay in center field again for Game 1 of the World Series.
However, by the bottom of the third inning, both guys were in the game anyway as Carlos Beltran was forced to leave with what was reported on the broadcast as a rib contusion.
Beltran had robbed what would have been a grand slam from David Ortiz in the bottom of the second, but crashed hard into the short right field wall at Fenway in the process.
According to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports, Beltran was taken to the hospital following his removal from the game, so there is at least a chance this could be a significant injury.
Robinson has no doubt given the team a nice spark over the last few games, but Beltran is one of the greatest postseason performers of all time and Robinson simply can't replace him if he does in fact miss significant time.
Consecutive Scoreless Innings to start WS Career: 13.1
Boston Record: 17 (Jim Lonborg, 1967)
The Red Sox have a long and storied history, so breaking into their record books is no easy feat, but Jon Lester took a big step towards doing just that on Wednesday with his 7.2 scoreless innings of work.
That outing, combined with his first and only other World Series start back in 2007 when he threw 5.2 scoreless innings against the Rockies, gives him the third-longest scoreless innings streak to open a career in team World Series history.
Bruce Hurst (15.1 IP in 1986), Luis Tiant (13.1 in 1975) and Dave Ferriss (10.1 in 1946) join Lester in double-digits, as the left-hander will be gunning for the team record his next time out.
Lester was the unquestioned ace of the Red Sox staff entering the postseason, and he's proven he deserves that title so far this October.
*It's worth noting, Babe Ruth allowed a run in his very first inning of World Series work back in 1916, then rattled off a then-record 29.2 consecutive scoreless innings extending two starts into the 1918 World Series. That record stood until 1961, when Whitey Ford set the current record with 33.2 straight shutout innings.
Since 1903 (First World Series), Game 1 winners are: 68-40 (63%)
Since 1969 (Addition of LCS), Game 1 winners are: 30-14 (68%)
Since 1995 (Addition of LDS) Game 1 winners are: 16-3 (84%)
Winning Game 1 is certainly a nice start to any teams hopes of capping off a title run, but how big of a step is a Game 1 victory?
Up until the addition of the Division Series in 1995, teams that won Game 1 of the World Series went a combined 52-37 (.584), so while there was a slight advantage towards the Game 1 winner, it was not an eye-popping advantage by any means.
However, since the Wild Card was introduced and the playoff format was changed in 1995, the team winning Game 1 is 16-3 in the World Series, so it would seem the Red Sox took a major step in jumping out to an early series lead.