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Home » May 2007 Game CommentsMay 2007 » Presage


Game 25: May 1, 2007 ∙ 10 innings
WinAthletics 5 W: Justin Duchscherer (2-1)
S: Huston Street (7)
13-13, 1 game winning streak
3-5-1 series record
Red Sox 4 H: Hideki Okajima (6)
BS: Jonathan Papelbon (1)
16-9, 1 game losing streak
6-2-1 series record
Highlights: The Red Sox lose their first extra innings game of the season and Papelbon blew his first save of 2007. On the bright side, Okajima continued to devastate hitters; he sat the heart of the order in the eighth on 17 pitches. In the eighth, Manny Ramirez lined a single to center field for his 1,000 hit as a Red Sox player. The pitch was thrown by old friend Alan Embree. Alex Cora pinch hit in the ninth and was intentionally walked for the 29th time in his career according to Baseball Reference Play Index.

It was a reunion night of sorts. Lenny DiNardo (available from the bullpen but didn’t make an appearance), Justin Duchscherer (drafted by Boston in 1996), Alan Embree, and Todd Walker were there and I went to the game with Andrew of 12eight.

He’s not really the Mysterious Baseball Hermit as GYS names him but rather the Enigmatic Semi-Social Baseball Aficionado. Emerging from his Salinger-like seclusion, we sat just one section to the left and three rows back from his usual spot.

At least a half a dozen different groups descended upon the area and misinterpreted the obvious signs indicating section and row. They seem to have missed the episode of Sesame Street that continued beyond the number ten. There is an inverse correlation between the fussiness of grandstand ticket holders and their ability to navigate Fenway.

Usually in the bleachers when there is a slight seating deviation fans surrender the battle easily and use the numbers on the tickets as seating suggestions. Such is the difference between paying $23 or $45.

Curt Schilling pitched well, or “good enough for the win,” as they say. He worked out of an early jam in the second where, after disposing of Mike Piazza and Dan Johnson, consecutive singles by Bobby Crosby and Travis Buck threatened Boston’s lead. Schilling battered Jason Kendall through five pitches and finally on the sixth struck out the opposition’s backstop.

Johnson and Buck would exact their revenge, however. Johnson, seizing his opportunity with Nick Swisher’s recent injuries, homered into Papi territory in the fourth. Buck led off the seventh with a ringing double to center and would would later score on Walker’s line shot to center. It looked as if the former 2003 Red Sox player was going to be standing at first or possibly second or third if Coco Crisp wasn’t patrolling center field. Walker was robbed by Crisp with a trademark full sprint, dive, and tumble catch.

It wasn’t the ideal way to open May or the series, but at least our starting pitcher didn’t come up lame like some other American League East team I could mention. Not that they are of any note since they are in last place.

Not to be paranoid as Andrew (who called the blown save), but Papelbon’s velocity was down to 90 to 92 MPH compared to his habitual 95 to 98. He also wasn’t able to locate his breaking pitches. This might be something to keep tabs on in his future appearances.

Pictures to be posted eventually; I’m attending games tonight and tomorrow night. Some tantalizing hints of what’s to be seen: David Ortiz up in Charlie Reliford’s grill, Mike Piazza making a rare Fenway appearance, Ramirez’s 1,000th Red Sox hit, action shots of Schilling, Okajima, and Papelbon.

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