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Home » June 2007 Game CommentsJune 2007 » Kakkoii [格好いい]

Kakkoii [格好いい]

Game 72: June 22, 2007
WinRed Sox 2 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5)
H: Javier Lopez (8)
H: Manny Delcarmen (2)
H: Hideki Okajima (12)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (17)
47-25, 3 game winning streak
17-6-2 series record
Padres 1 L: Greg Maddux (6-4) 41-31, 3 game losing streak
16-6-2 series record
Highlights: The Red Sox tallied their first win against Maddux; they are now 5-1 against him. Despite the loss, both starters were cool customers; Matsuzaka won by overcoming his early wildness and playing with an offense that strung together a few timely hits. Grammar pundits may deride the overuse of the word “cool” in English, but in four letters it has captured the gamut of what is stylish and acceptable in youth culture for decades. The Japanese equivalent is kakkoii; kakko means appearance or manner and ii means good. It’s a concept that covers everything from awesome to stylish to having that ineffable aesthetic in attitude and demeanor that sets you apart from the rest. It’s the essence of Daisuke.

The Padres, despite their fashion sense, is a spiffy National League team. The San Diego starting rotation ranks among the best in both leagues and the NL West divisional race, featuring divergent front and field management styles of the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Rockies, should prove to be one of the more exciting this season. Demonstrating the pitching prowess of the Padres:

  • They lead the majors in team ERA with 3.04. The Red Sox are no slouches themselves, ranking third with 3.69.
  • Opposing teams have plucked the fruit of the hen 11 times. Boston and Oakland are tied for second with seven shutouts.
  • Of course the vastness of Petco Park has much to do with this, but Padres pitchers have given up only 37 home runs. Fourteen of those homers came at Petco in 35 games and 23 away over the course of 36 games.

Just as the color of the names on the back of the Padres jerseys of the 80s don’t match the number, San Diego’s hitting doesn’t meet the standards of excellence set by its hurlers. Again, Petco’s park factors depresses its home offense, but consider that the Detroit lineup the similarly spacious Comerica Park is second in triples with 23 while the Padres are in the middle of the majors with 12. Other indicators of the Padres’ average offense:

  • With just .317 they are 26th in OBP.
  • Their .393 slugging matches the Cardinals and the Twins, the former being a disappointing team and the latter another pitching-heavy club.
  • Overly aggressive plate approach lands them second in the majors in strikeouts with 568.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, garbed in the sedate road uniforms of 20 years ago, was out of sorts in the first inning. He walked Marcus Giles, Jose Cruz, and Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases, throwing six strikes out of 18 pitches. Mike Cameron popped out in foul territory for a slight reprieve, but the newly acquired Michael Barrett laced an RBI single to left for the early lead. Matsuzaka collected himself to strike out Khalil Greene and induce a fly out from Russell Branyan.

In the remainder of his five innings on the hill the Padres sprinkled five hits and bases on balls here and there, but only Greene in the sixth made it to within 90 feet of the tying run. When there were runs threatening, Matsuzaka would notch timely strikeouts, like his whiff of Giles to end the sixth. Boston pitchers compiled 13 strikeouts: nine for Matsuzaka and two each for Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon.

Greg Maddux’s poor inning was, ironically enough, the fourth. A quartet of hitters, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, and Jason Varitek, scattered the hits for the only two runs of the game. The brace of scores was enough in a pitcher’s duel.

If an umpire other than Brian Knight didn’t man home plate this game could have gone into extra innings. Knight called the 0-2 pitch to Youkilis that skirted the outside corner a ball. It glanced on the spot where Maddux stakes his Hall of Fame career on. Knowing he just missed striking out, Youkilis jumped on the next pitch to plate the tying run.

It was game-hardened Maddux that let the pressure get to him, not Matsuzaka. He fell behind Varitek on his pitch, forcing him to throw one over with too much of the plate. Varitek lined the offering past the leather of the multiple Gold Glove winning pitcher for the go-ahead run.

Coco Crisp continued to show signs of his reinvigoration at the dish, going 3-for-4 and extending his hit streak to a season-high eight games. Meanwhile Julio Lugo plumbed new depths of futility; he slipped below the Mendoza line and his hitless in his last five games.

David Murphy, recalled to the major league club take Curt Schilling’s spot, replaced Wily Mo Peña in the sixth. He struck out in his only at bat, which came against Royce Ring. Kason Gabbard or possibly Jon Lester will be summoned to make a start when Schilling’s place in the rotation comes up.

Like most places where Boston visits, Red Sox fans commandeered the stadium. Petco, despite its beauty, is not the place to find steadfast home team fans. Hence the theme night gimmickry that entailed displaying David Ortiz decked out like Mr. T and Ramirez coiffed like a hair band guitarist on the scoreboard.

It is the organization that spawned Theo Epstein and employs the much-lauded Kevin Towers as general manager. With the talent infusing the front office and the rotation, combined with its spectacular location, the team should have a rabid cadre of supporters. I suppose between personal training, therapy, and cosmetic reconstruction sessions San Diegans don’t have much time for baseball.


Kakkoii. That's the word I was looking for.
Dice-K is kakkoii. Totally.
I love those flashes of emotions he shows at those rare moments, like last week when he was ordered by the dugout to walk Bonds in his first at bat. He walked behind the mound to compose himself after ball four and you could tell he was just pissed. Or last night when he struck out Giles to end his night, he kind of snapped his glove and sneered.
He's the anti-Papelbon in the way he bottles up his emotions on the mound, where Paps just lets everything fly. But when he does allow people to see he is feeling, it's like lighting against the nighttime sky.
Totally kakkoii.
My gosh, what a competitor.

"...it's like lighting against the nighttime sky."

Perfectly and poetically stated, Yaz.

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