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Home » ∙ May 2008 » Tsuridama [釣り球]

Tsuridama [釣り球]

Game 39: May 10, 2008
WinRed Sox 5 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-0)
H: Hideki Okajima (9)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (11)
24-15, 1 game winning streak
Twins 2 L: Glen Perkins (0-1) 18-17, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Six of Matsuzaka’s seven strikeouts were of the swinging variety, including two by Joe Mauer. The Twins backstop struck out only eight times until last night. In Japanese one would say Matsuzaka was working his tsuridama, a pitch that lures the batter to swing. The first symbol means to fish, the second is the hiragana for the sound ri, and the last ideogram means ball or pitch. The final symbol is pronounced dama or kyū depending on the word or phrase.

Kevin Youkilis fired his eighth home run of 2008 to left field right to a Red Sox fan wearing a Green Monster t-shirt. I thought it may have presaged a successful night for the Celtics on the road, but the Green Machine stalled on the road again, falling 108-84 to the Cavaliers. I begin to wonder if they will ever have their first road win.

It was a night of other firsts, however. Coco Crisp launched his first homer of the season (his first since September 6, 2007, actually) and Jed Lowrie followed with his first major league four-bagger. Unfortunately for Glen Perkins, this all happened in his big league start and he failed to get the win. In his six innings of work Perkins had as may strikeouts as homers surrendered.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was at least fully recovered from the flu that plagued his team and the results were evident. The starter stretched 96 pitches over seven innings and conceded three walks, with one to the swing-happy rookie Carlos Gomez in the second inning with the bases loaded. The trio of free passes seems quite a bit to a team like Minnesota, which has the fewest bases on balls in the MLB. Given Matsuzaka’s most recent start, however, the number was a significant improvement.

Jonathan Papelbon returned to form last night. Although antagonist Mike Lamb mustered yet another single, it was the result of miscommunication between Youkilis, Jason Varitek, and Mike Lowell rather than hitting prowess. Probably only Ichiro Suzuki has had an infield single that traveled less than 20 feet.

Here’s hoping that Boston’s closer’s restoration will be harbinger for the men in green. If the Red Sox can win in a dome, certainly the Celtics can win at The Q on Monday night.

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