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Home » May 2008 Game CommentsMay 2008 » Thieves


Game 33: May 4, 2008
Rays 3 L: Scott Kazmir (0-1) 16-15, 3 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 7 W: Jon Lester (2-2)
H: Manny Delcarmen (4)
H: Hideki Okajima (5)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (9)
20-13, 3 game winning streak
Highlights: According to this March 2007 Baseball Prospectus article by Dan Fox, Terry Francona ranks amongst the trailers of managers who would put on the double steal. He apparently wanted to make up for lost time in this game by having two twin swipes.

Who could blame him with blazers like Coco Crisp, Julio Lugo, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia batting in a row? Yes, you read right: Pedroia was part of the double steal in the first inning. The speedster at second base ran in tandem with Ellsbury. Given that Scott Kazmir began the season on the disabled list and this was his first major league start, it would be hard enough to react to conventional baseball let alone esoteric stratagems.

Terry Francona had to be the quirky manager since Joe Maddon wouldn’t be able to put on the shift with David Ortiz riding pine. Unlike Maddon’s maneuvers, Francona’s gambit paid off when Ellsbury scored on Kevin Youkilis’s sacrifice fly to center.

With a newly-inserted relief pitcher Trever Miller on the mound in the eighth the Red Sox duplicated scheme succesfully, this time with Lugo and Ellsbury. Youkilis again brought his men home, this time with a rope into left.

Youkilis had led off the previous inning with solo shot into the batter’s eye. The ball trampolined off the black tarp like Lucky the Leprechaun during the Celtics’ halftime show. (I needn’t have been so fretful about the cross-town roundballers, thankfully, as they embarrassed the upstart Hawks 99-65.)

Don Orsillo, weak from loss of blood from a shaving accident, had been calling Eric Hinske “Nathan Haynes” because he misread Jerry Remy’s writing. Haynes’s middle name is Raymond, which may explain why Haynes gets any playing time.

Hardly anyone remembers Hinske was on the Red Sox despite him sacrificing his face to the warning track gravel on a spectacular catch in right in 2007. Hinske clearly remembers the nuances of the foul line between home and third as he consummately bunted in the eighth so that the ball meandered along the line but never lost contact with chalk.

Mike Lowell jokingly moved the ball into foul territory after it came to a stop. The third baseman knew better than to blow the ball foul as Len Randle of the Mariners did back in 1981 since the rule had to be rewritten because of Randle.

In his postgame press conference Jon Lester looked as if his mother had dressed him for Sunday school: starched white shirt and a broad brown tie with thick gold stripes. He looked more in his element on the mound with his second consecutive quality start and fourth overall. With Lester’s solid start and contributions from the bullpen staff the Red Sox avenged the Rays’ sweep with one of their own, just in time for a 10-game road trip.

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