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Home » May 2007 Game CommentsMay 2007 » Hijinks


Game 40: May 17, 2007
Tigers 2 BS, L: Wilfredo Ledezma (2, 3-1)
24-16, 2 game losing streak
8-3-3 series record
WinRed Sox 4 W: Brendan Donnelly (2-1)
H: Javier Lopez (3)
S: Hideki Okajima (2)
28-12, 2 game winning streak
11-2-2 series record
Highlights: Donnelly came off the schneid with a one and one-third inning appearance in which he struck out two, walked none, and allowed just one hit. The one hit he allowed was erased by Javier Lopez’s twin-killing pitch to Omar Infante. Okajima: he holds, he closes. He chops, slices, and juliennes opposing teams’ lineups. The pitching coaches speak of his split-change as the “Okey Dokey,” but it should also be noted that if it is spelled “Oki Doki,” you can create a sort of bastardized Japanese catch phrase that means “Okajima time,” as doki means “time” in Japanese.

Doubleheaders are twice as nice. Both teams doubled the runs they produced in the afternoon game, resulting in the local nine sweeping the two Thursday games on the last day of the Tigers’ only visit to Fenway this year.

Curt Schilling was the only hospitable Boston player. He kept on inviting Tigers to come home, but inexplicably the visitors declined his bidding. Schilling walked a season-high four batters, struck out six, and allowed two earned runs (one a Gabe Kapler-like homer off the Green Monster’s countertop lofted by Brandon Inge in the fourth). The other run scored in the third with consecutive doubles to right by Magglio Ordóñez and Carlos Guillen.

Schilling was a workhorse, if by workhorse one means “labor intensively in the first two innings of the game and leave three innings of work for your bullpen.” For the third start in a row the starter didn’t make it beyond the sixth inning.

Coco Crisp, who also scored the first run in the first game, singled to right to leadoff the game. The speedster swiped second with Alex Cora at the dish and advanced on Cora’s ground out to first. Jim Leyland had his infield defense pull in and Kevin Youkilis responded by scooting a single by them to plate Crisp.

The rest of the evening revolved around bench player Eric Hinske. It was he who neatly knelt to make the final out of the first after Schilling had loaded the bases. It was his facial imprint in the right field warning track that marked where he made the spectacular catch of Mark Rabelo’s fleetly falling fly. Hinske was the one who crossed the platter in the sixth to tie the score, and he was the one to launch the two-run home run into the home bullpen in the seventh to break the tie.

Wily Mo Peña, perhaps spurred by his benchmate’s performance, walked a season-high three times and struck out once.

The game capped a satisfying end to a pivotal series, but questions remain in its wake. Has Hinske opened enough eyes to give him more at bats? If so, is it time to make some moves involving him or Peña? Is Schilling’s effectiveness being hampered by age?

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