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Home » July 2007 Game CommentsJuly 2007 » Osae [押さえ]

Osae [押さえ]

Game 100: July 24, 2007
WinRed Sox 1 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-7)
H: Hideki Okajima (17)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (23)
61-39, 5 game winning streak
20-9-4 series record
Indians 0 L: C.C. Sabathia (13-5) 58-42, 2 game losing streak
19-12-2 series record
Highlights: The Japanese word for closer is osae, pronounced oh-sah-eh. The word also carries connotations of weight or anchor, but Papelbon ain’t heavy, he’s our brother, and he’s tenth in the majors for saves.

Daisuke Matsuzaka had just two 1-2-3 innings and walked three batters over the course of seven innings, and yet only a single Cleveland player made it within 90 feet of home. When runs threatened to score, as they did in the first and fourth, the rookie righty marshaled his resources and struck out the opposition. Jhonny Peralta whiffed in the first with the bases loaded and Ben Francisco and Josh Barfield hacked away in fourth with two men on.

Although C.C. Sabathia compiled more strikeouts than his counterpart (seven compared to five), his team couldn’t muster a run against the trio of Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon. Seven, five, and three are significant ages for children in Japan. There’s a Shichi Go San festival on November 15 to celebrate as seven-year old girls can now wear obi around their kimono, five-year old boys are allowed to wear hakama, and three-year olds of both ages are allowed to grow their hair.

The Red Sox team has had less of a coming of age in this winning streak but rather a rebirth. The cobwebs of the June swoon have been dusted away and disposed of. Shining on the mantel is the reinvigorated Julio Lugo and his 14-game hitting streak, a sparkling bullpen, and a few gems as starters. And just think: a few of the better pieces of the collection are in the shop for repair.

The only run of the game came in the fourth when Francisco couldn’t catch up to Mike Lowell’s arcing RBI single to left. Kevin Youkilis scored from second on the play.

Youkilis also made a pivotal defensive play in the seventh. With the leadoff runner on he cheated towards home to snatch Barfield’s bunt and relayed it to Lugo for erase a runner from scoring position.

The Red Sox go into the match-up tonight guaranteed at least a split against one of the better AL teams. Before Boston leaves town for Tampa Bay on Thursday the Indians had better get an estimate for the Wily Mo Peña-shaped indentation in their left field wall caused by his collision with it in the sixth. Like David Ortiz’s shoulder, however, at least there was no structural damage.

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