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Home » June 2008 Game CommentsJune 2008 » Ovation


Game 61: June 3, 2008
Rays 4 L: Matt Garza (4-2) 35-23, 1 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 7 W: Justin Masterson (2-0)
H: Manny Delcarmen (7)
H: Craig Hansen (3)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (17)
36-25, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Masterson: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 2.95 ERA, W
Joba Chamberlain: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2.42, ND

I felt the compelling need to write about the last place team in the AL East despite their lack of significance. Perhaps it is because throughout the day ESPN trumpeted Joba Chamberlain and his much-ballyhooed debut as a starter and compared his outing to that of Pedro Martinez, who returned to the rotation last night.

Meanwhile, the teams battling for first featured starts by Matt Garza, a 2005 first round draft pick, and Justin Masterson, second round pick from 2006. Both pitchers lasted more than five innings, unlike Chamberlain. While the Yankees claim to be refocusing their efforts to develop their homegrown talent, this is merely a superficial gesture. They threw their best-known name on the mound knowing he could not throw more than 70 pitches, while Garza and Masterson were stretched out and could at least contribute to the a game decision.

The only thing Chamberlain contributed to his team was empty publicity.

Masterson started off tenuously by surrendering a leadoff home run to Akinori Iwamura but soon found his groove. Carlos Peña coped well with Masterson’s sinker, launching a ground-rule double in the fourth to plate a run and a two-run double in the sixth. Later that evening he found out he was playing with a broken broken finger since the first inning. Instead of placing him on the disabled list the Rays should have cracked two more of fingers so he could reach 46 home runs again.

Manny Ramirez received a warm and resounding ovation upon his return. The home run-o-meter on the left field wall read 502 and the two-person crew was ready to flip the last digit if need be.

But it wasn’t Ramirez who would come up big for the Red Sox last night. Ramirez was on first when Mike Lowell blasted his eighth homer in the second. For the rest of the runs, J.D. Drew was in the middle of the action.

Drew spanked a shot to the left-center gap for a stand-up double in the second but was stranded. He decided to do the dirty work himself in the fourth by walloping a solo shot to the right field stands, landing in the vicinity of Peña’s double. He walked in the sixth to load the bases and scored the insurance run right after Ramirez crossed the plate for the go-ahead run on Coco Crisp’s high-flying double to the base of the wall.

The Red Sox right fielder also notched two exceptional defensive plays. He ran down rookie phenomenon Evan Longoria’s fly to curve in the right field wall, catching Peña in a lurch. The Rays first baseman assumed the ball would be caught and was between second and third; the lapse in judgment meant he could not tag up.

The camera between the bullpen served a finer purpose than catching Jonathan Papelbon’s warm-up windmils or sunflower seed tossing contests. It was perfectly placed to track Drew’s snare of Dioner Navarro’s deep fly in the fifth. I don’t think a similar shot can be captured anywhere in the majors; like the park itself the moment was singular.

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