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Home » August 2007 Game CommentsAugust 2007 » Introduction


Game 121: August 17, 2007
Angels 4 L: John Lackey (15-7) 70-50, 1 game losing streak
22-13-4 series record
WinRed Sox 8 W: Clay Buchholz (1-0)
H: Hideki Okajima (21)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (29)
73-48, 1 game winning streak
25-11-4 series record
Highlights: In his major league debut Buchholz pitched six innings, struck out five, walked three, and gave up eight hits with three earned runs. Casey Kotchman hit the rookie well: he went 4-for-4 and was the only batter to tally extra base hits.

Clay Buchholz’s debut was similar to Philip Hughes’s; on April 26 the Yankees’ best pitching prospect’s line was 4 1/3 innings pitched, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. But Hughes was saddled with the loss while Buchholz won.

He could have unraveled when he allowed Chone Figgins to reach on a leadoff walk in the first. Bruce Froemming seemed to be squeezing the zone slightly to give Buchholz a taste of major league umpirical whimsy. The young righty could have allowed J.D. Drew’s subsequent flub of Vladimir Guerrero’s line drive to unnerve him as well, but the greenhorn buckled down. Although Garret Anderson’s ground out to first plated Figgins, Buchholz rebounded by striking out Gary Matthews, Jr. to end the inning.

The crowd particularly enjoyed that Matthews was the victim given the center fielder’s criticism of Red Sox fans.

The home team offense would surge in the bottom of the first to support Buchholz’s debut effort. Dustin Pedroia doubled and was driven in by David Ortiz’s long ball into the stands near the visitors’ bullpen.

John Lackey was surprisingly hittable given he leads his team in wins and is considered the staff ace. Manny Ramirez continued the onslaught with a single and Drew made penance with an RBI triple to center. Drew’s hit clanged off the wall and gave Reggie Willits fits as he stumbled after it in center.

Mike Lowell, Doug Mirabelli, and Alex Cora all got to Lackey and the Red Sox batted around for the 28th time this season. The rally cost Mirabelli’s services for 15 days, however, as the backup backstop strained his right calf and was pulled from the game.

Despite the simpletons I was sitting near early in the game, most of the crowd was engrossed by the game even though Boston led for the entire game. The audience collectively winced as Guerrero’s throw to third glanced off Kevin Youkilis’s face into the dugout in the fourth and murmured in amusement at Chirs Bootcheck’s balk in the fifth.

Hideki Okajima’s two-strikeout seventh set off an earthquake of support from the stands, the masses rumbling their approval as he mowed down the top of the order.

Okajima had more difficulty with the middle third of the order, departing in the eighth with two on and two out. Again the assemblage provided a groundswell of support for the succeeding pitcher.

Jonathan Papelbon closed out the eighth and returned for the final inning He allowed a single to Orlando Cabrera after striking out Willits and Figgins.

Power matched power with the Red Sox closer facing off against Guerrero. Papelbon did not shy away from hurling fastball upon fastball over the plate and, true to form, the former MVP swung to foul off pitch after pitch, his bat covering a vast arc around the plate. At last Guerrero straightened out an offering but the fly ball did not have enough force to carry it beyond the reach of Coco Crisp’s glove.

Would the Red Sox outdo themselves in the nightcap?

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