On Tuesday night in Fenway Park, and on-and-on deeper into the night, Boston handled the central problem the Dodgers pose for them. Can the Red Sox cope with wave after wave of excellent left-handed pitchers — the only known weakness (and not much of a flaw at that) this 108-win team has?

The Dodgers started the great Clayton Kershaw. They used prized young starter Julio Urias in middle-inning relief. They brought in Alex Wood, who went 16-3 in 2017, to try in vain to get one vital seventh-inning out. And they will start southpaws Hyun-jin Ryu in Game 2 and Rich Hill in Game 4, thus setting up lefties to start five of the first six games. All feature fine lefty curveballs, the one pitch the Red Sox haven’t handled — hitting .168 off such offerings (worst in MLB) and slugging .274 (second worst) this year.

How’s that working out? The underdog Dodgers lost Game 1, 8-4. And the key strategic moments of the game were implosions for L.A.’s left-handed tactics.

The Dodgers’ symbolic man — Kershaw — suffered another October mural mauling. As soon as we hang him on the wall in the fall, get the frame perfectly level, and stand back to admire him, some insubordinate foe pretends not to recognize The Claw at all and “Banksys” the masterpiece.

Kershaw was tagged for five runs in just four innings and saw his postseason record fall to 9-9 with a 4.28 ERA over 15 postseason series. That doesn’t sound so bad except his career record is 153-69 and his ERA 2.39, one of the best. As he was in the 2017 World Series, Kershaw is just an everyman, up to Claw standards one day, roughed up noisily the next.

More embarrassing, and fatal, was Manager Dave Roberts’ decision to go strictly by the numbers, not by what was happening before his eyes, with two Red Sox on base and two outs in the seventh. Instead of sticking with right-hander Pedro Baez, who had dominated and fanned Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts, Roberts avoided a matchup between Baez and rookie Rafael Devers, who drove in nine runs against Houston in the ALCS. Knowing Devers hits lefties poorly, he waved for Wood — playing that key Dodgers card: our lefties can either get out your left-handed hitters or else drive them out of the game for inferior right-handed pinch hitters.

Well, that seemed like a good idea — until pinch hitter Eduardo Nunez drove Wood’s second pitch over the Green Monster for a three-run homer to give Boston an 8-4 lead.

Some will crow that analytics, worshipped in excess, blew up in the Dodgers’ faces. But good data analysis never promises results, it only tips percentages. Luckily, humans are still allowed to play the game.

When this series resumes Wednesday night with a pair of left-handers, Ryu for Los Angeles and David Price for Boston, both teams will be eyeball-deep in statistics again, seeking matchups and using quick hooks. For those with a taste for such baseball-as-chess, there will be delights aplenty. For the rest, there will be approximately four hours of something that strongly resembles baseball but, at times, isn’t quite.

The last time these two franchises met, in 1916, they played 14 innings in Game 2. Babe Ruth pitched all 14 innings for Boston and won, 2-1 — in 2 hours 32 minutes. The Babe didn’t want to waste any good eating or especially drinking hours. The first half of Game 1 of this World Series took 2 hours 20 minutes.

Longer TV commercials aren’t going away. The next time a pro sport says, “Stop pushing all these thousand-dollar bills into our pockets, you’re damaging the aesthetic purity of our sport,” it’ll be the first time.

Also, the minutes added to games by two analytics-driven trends — “bullpening” and driving up pitch counts — are mathematically logical and, in many cases, unimpeachable. Once you face these contemporary facts, you must agree that Boston’s Chris Sale, after throwing 91 pitches in Game 1, lasting four innings and getting through the Dodgers batting order twice, plus a walk to open the fifth inning, should go get a nice hot shower before a bridge falls on him.

And you are tempted to second-guess Roberts when he sticks with Kershaw — in an identical spot — as one additional Boston batter rips a single to center.

That’s all analytics is trying to do — grab small edges, pick up neglected market inefficiencies. Sale left one man on base. He scored. Kershaw left two on base. Both scored. Those who data-mine advanced metrics might as well chant “Q.E.D.”

Games evolve, become more efficient and drive out inferior methods. The teams in this series exemplify it. But nothing says we have to hug whatever evolution hands us; witness the warthog.

Thus endeth the complaining about the length of games. That’s where we are. And the sport has never been richer in strategy. These two teams also exemplify that. If you keep score, have a magnifying glass handy so you can see all your tiny scribbling with platoon players lifted in midgame, constant defensive switches and the endless pursuit of “good matchups” by Roberts and Alex Cora.

Ironically, in their playing days, Roberts and Cora were the kind of versatile but not terribly gifted players who would have provided the managerial flexibility that is now in vogue. Then, they mostly got traded a lot, playing for 11 teams.

Usually we find out about the dark secret strategies employed in the World Series sometime deep in the winter when an assistant general manager or veteran scout spills the beans after a couple of pops at a rubber chicken banquet.

That’s not the issue this time. Everybody knows. The main strategy will be the same for both teams: When in doubt, call for a left-handed pitcher, to start, to relieve, maybe even to sing the national anthem.

Boston’s winning percentage against right-handers was a huge 15.1-percent higher than it was again lefties — a fabulous .719 to a merely very good .568. Perhaps most dramatic, Boston’s power shrank against lefties as it managed only one homer per 38.4 at-bats — like a hitter who has only 13 homers in 500 at-bats.

That’s why Roberts waved for Wood in the seventh inning to force Boston to pinch-hit Nunez for Devers. What could go wrong?

The numbers said there’d be no home run, no blown-open game.

The combination of human unpredictability, plus the smallest of all data samples — one at-bat — disagreed. When Nunez’s blast disappeared, just clearing the Green Monster, the Dodgers’ best-laid plans were as dead as an obsolete computer.

L.A. will reboot Wednesday night. But this southpaws and more southpaws strategy better start working fast. Or the Dodgers, out there on the left coast, will just be spending a 30th straight offseason without a world title.

Tom Boswell is a Washington Post sports columnist.

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