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Home » June 2008 Game CommentsJune 2008 » Ippatsu [一発]

Ippatsu [一発]

Game 82: June 27, 2008
WinRed Sox 6 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1)
H: Craig Hansen (5)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (24)
50-32, 3 game winning streak
Astros 1 L: Runelvys Hernandez (0-1) 37-43, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Matsuzaka looked more himself last night. The righty lasted the minimum innings for a decision while putting up a line of two hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. J.D. provided a three-run advantage with his shot that caromed off the facing of the second deck. In Japanese it would be called ippatsu, an absolute shot.

Minute Maid Park is one of the standout ballparks in the league. With Tal’s Hill and its attendant flagpole in center, a train with a cargo of oversize oranges in left, the Crawford Boxes in left field penned in by a 19-foot tall wall, and a retractable roof that enables the entire structure to be air conditioned, the field is instantly recognizable.

The placement of the stadium in relation to the sun’s path could probably be improved. Coco Crisp batted left-handed to lead off the game and seemed to be blinded by sunlight.

Unfortunately, the Astros organization is not as well put together as its venue. Baseball America has ranked the Astros’ minor league system no higher than 20th since 2001. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2005. Most recently starter Shawn Chacon and general manager Ed Wade exchanged words and reenacted the Latrell Sprewell/P.J. Carlesimo confrontation from 1997 for the benefit of the club.

Chacon was released and thus Runelvys Hernandez was granted to opportunity to start a major league game.

The Red Sox signed Hernandez to a minor league deal in 2006 and he didn’t make the team coming out of spring training. In June of 2007 the Red Sox considered filing tampering charges against the Yankees because the Bronx front office contacted him while he was still under contract. But then Theo Epstein and company realized, hey, it’s just Runelvys Hernandez.

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