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Home » June 2008 Game CommentsJune 2008 » Harbinger


Game 81: June 25, 2008
Diamondbacks 0 L: Randy Johnson (4-6) 40-39, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 5 W: Tim Wakefield (5-5)
H: Manny Delcarmen (11)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (23)
49-32, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: Nerd alert! Kevin Youkilis manned first base with orange-tinted goggles. I only hope it doesn’t become a crutch like Rip Hamilton’s mask.

When you have a match-up between a veteran knuckleball pitcher and a youthful team that strikes out at an alarming rate, you get a game like last night. Looking over Tim Wakefield’s game log shows that despite having an unpredictable pitch he has turned in remarkably consistent starts: his five June starts have all lasted seven innings each, he has struck out at least three in the course of the game, and has not allowed more than three earned runs in each appearance.

Yet Wakefield only had one win to show for his efforts until Wednesday night’s game. Wakefield’s run support has ratcheted up to 5.1 runs a game. It wasn’t the guys whose names appear on the All-Star ballot who produced, but rather two role players came up big for their pitcher and their team. Brandon Moss plated the first two runs: an RBI ground out in the second and a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Kevin Cash homered in the eighth with two men on and none out.

The breathing room was appreciated even though everyone holds their breath when the mercurial Craig Hansen assumes the mound. The streaky reliever loaded the bases and left a mess for Jonathan Papelbon to clean up.

And clean up he did: Papelbon struck out hot-hitting Chad Tracy to seal the series and tally his 23rd save of the season.

Last year the Rockies visited Fenway and won the series in what would be a harbinger of the Fall Classic. The Diamondbacks have cooled since their scorching start but still lead the NL West. We may have well witnessed a standoff between the future pennant winners.

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