Game 1 of this year’s World Series was quite a strange ballgame. Anyone who watched even the first few innings knows what I mean.
At a “macro” level, it was strange to see a final score of 11-7 in a game started by two ace pitchers (Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum). Traditionally, Game 1 match-ups produce relatively low scoring games. This was particularly true before the era of play-offs, when teams more often were able to use their best starter in the opening game. In fact, for three straight years, 1948-1950, the score of Game 1 was 1-0.
There is a very little precedent for both teams going off offensively in Game 1 match-ups featuring ace pitchers. There were, though, two such games in the 1990s. In 1993, Toronto beat Philadelphia 8-5 (Curt Schilling against Al Leiter) and in 1999, the Yankees beat San Diego 9-6 (David Wells against Kevin Brown. But I don’t recall either score raising as many eyebrows as last night’s scoring fest.
UPDATE: The three 1-0 games referred to above were:
1948 — Cleveland (Bob Feller) 1 Boston (Johnny Sain) 0
1949 — New York (Allie Reynolds) 1 Brooklyn (Don Newcombe) 0
1950 — New York (Vic Raschi ) 1, Philadelphia (Jim Konstanty) 0
In Game 1 of the 1980 Series, Philadelphia and Kansas City combined for 13 runs in a Phillies victory. But Philadelphia’s rookie starter Bob Walk (11-7, 4.56 ERA) was certainly not an ace.