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Home » June 2007 Game CommentsJune 2007 » Uchikata [打ち方]

Uchikata [打ち方]

Game 62: June 10, 2007
Red Sox 1 L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (7-5) 40-22, 1 game losing streak
15-5-2 series record
WinDiamondbacks 5 W: Randy Johnson (4-2)
H: Jailen Peguero (1)
H: Tony Pena (13)
37-27, 1 game winning streak
12-9-0 series record
Highlights: Mike Lowell, even injured, proved productive. He drove in the only Boston run of the afternoon in the fourth with a grasscutter down the third base line. People on this side of the Pacific got to see Matsuzaka’s uchikata against major league pitching. Uchikata means batting form or swing. The first symbol 打 means strike, hit, knock, or pound; ち is a hiragana symbol with no particular meaning in this context; and 方 means way of doing. Another kata [型] refers to the memorized forms and patterns used in various Japanese arts, from the tea ceremony to kabuki to martial arts.

Two pitchers could not look more different and yet they twirled nearly identical lines. Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted 6 innings, allowed 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 walks, and 9 strikeouts while Randy Johnson matched him in innings, hits, and punchados. The one additional base on balls led to the extra run that would be the difference in the game until Mike Timlin returned to the hill.

Johnson in a red uniform makes him resemble a serial killer garbed in a blood-soaked shirt. He looked a little more macabre than usual with the stuff to match.

It doesn’t take much to tame a lineup with Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp getting five at bats apiece. Has the Red Sox front office been lax in sending recommendations to Terry Francona about how to most effectively use his hitters?

Daisuke Matsuzaka had a wretched fourth inning. I’ve mentioned before that four is considered unlucky in Japan and China because the way the number is pronounced is a homophone for death. Just as some buildings in the United States skip 13, buildings in these Asian countries often lack the fourth story. Despite walking two batters and being hampered by an error by Mike Lowell, Matsuzaka collected himself and struck out two batters to allow just an RBI single off the bat of Stephen Drew. Granted it was the eighth and ninth batters in the Diamondbacks lineup, but the damage was minimized.

The only intrigue Crisp caused on the basepath was a call for obstruction in the first. The ruling prompted Bob Melvin to spring from the dugout to confront first base umpire Chad Fairchild, but the decree was not overturned. Manny Ramirez also caused a bit of a stir in the fifth, arguing vociferously that he got a piece of a pitch in the dirt. He threw off his helmet and gloves, but I think he just wanted to show off his hairstyle. “Look good, play good.”

With Timlin back in the mix, Boston baseball operations staff should have also forwarded those reams of evidence that show the veteran does not pitch well with men on base. Timlin alone should not should the blame. Javier Lopez failed to induce the grounder he was supposed to from the shortstop Drew, setting up that situation that so flusters Timlin.

Okajima in the eighth, Timlin only if you have blind faith.

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