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Home » April 2008 Game CommentsApril 2008 » Replacements


Game 23: April 23, 2008
WinAngels 6 W: Jon Garland (3-2)
H: Justin Speier (5)
H: Scot Shields (4)
S: Francisco Rodriguez (8)
13-9, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox 4 L: Craig Hansen (0-1)
15-8, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Jon Lester on three days rest isn’t terribly different from Lester on full rest. He lasted five innings while allowing nine hits, four earned runs, two solo shots off the bat of Gary Matthews, Jr., and two bases on balls. His lone strikeout came against Garret Anderson in the third inning. Kevin Youkilis wasn’t in the starting lineup because of back issues so sparkplug Jed Lowrie covered for him at third. David Ortiz knocked in the tying run in the fourth but the taxed bullpen couldn’t fend off the Angels’ bats.

Games I’m Glad I Did Not Watch Live, Part 1 of 2

The Angels are a contending team. I’m looking forward to the Red Sox sweeping them in the ALDS as they have done in the past two playoffs they have met. For how this American League West team plays in the regular season is different from their postseason selves.

Mike Scioscia is even more tightly wound in the fall. He fiddles with the lineups like Jimy Williams and has his offense scrape out runs as if he were Tony LaRussa. Not that it’s an awful strategy to manage playoff series differently from regular season games, as Terry Francona in October is radically different from his spring and summer approach.

Francona deftly controls the pressure valve of his clubhouse, knowing when to let a bit of steam build up that will power his team on the field and when to release the stress so that his players can be loose when they need to be. Meanwhile, Scioscia hunches over the guardrails of dugouts reacting to every call on every pitch. Perhaps that bulldog mentality of a former catcher helps his club sustain momentum over 162 games, but by the time the postseason rolls around his overbearing mien has his club worn thin.

Craig Hansen made his first major league appearance since August 1, 2006, the beginning of that terrible month where the Red Sox’s chances of making the playoffs slipped away because of thin starting pitching. In light of this month’s flu epidemic, the baseball operation department’s ability to reap the farm for budding talent in emergency situations is heartening compared having to sign pitchers like Kevin Jarvis and Jason Johnson to plug into the rotation as they did in 2006.

How odd that Hansen was so full of promise then and how the innings he works in the majors now will go towards salvaging his formerly vaunted reputation. Hansen allowed the winning run to score in the sixth in the form of Casey Kotchman’s sixth homer of the year after notching two relatively easy outs. The lanky reliever did strike out three, so he had some positives to come away with on this venture into Fenway, but so much more to prove.

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