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Home » July 2008 Game CommentsJuly 2008 » Overwhelm


Game 103: July 23, 2008 ∙ 12 innings
WinRed Sox 6 W: Jonathan Papelbon (4-3)
S: Craig Hansen (2)
60-43, 3 game winning streak
Mariners 3 L: Sean Green (2-3) 38-63, 5 game losing streak
Highlights: The Rangers, the Nationals, the Mariners, and the Rays have never been to the World Series. Coincidentally, Alex Rodriguez has been on half of those teams. Since Rodriguez joined the Yankees in 2004, the team has not been to the Fall Classic, but his addition merely extended the Gotham goons trophy-free streak intact since 2001. (Just warming up for the upcoming series.)

I got home in time for the fifth inning and I thought it would be nice to catch the last four innings to put away a series sweep. Jose Vidro had other plans.

Vidro, the former second baseman converted to designated hitter, possesses a career slugging percentage of .445. In contrast, the Red Sox expect their invaluable DH to return to the lineup tomorrow, a man who has slugged .555 throughout his 11 seasons in the majors. Vidro, playing the role of the blind squirrel, found a nut in Clay Buchholz’s 2-0 fastball in the bottom of the sixth. When the unlikely homer settled into the right field stands, the score stood at 3-3 and Buchholz would continue to toe the rubber and allow a walk and single.

Starter-turned-reliever Justin Masterson was next in the procession of young and lanky Red Sox hurlers to fend off the Mariners. Masterson proceeded to strike out the next two batters in the inning and then pitched the next two innings perfectly.

The problem with extra-inning getaway games played on the West Coast is that the stomach-churning pivotal plays inevitably happen in the midst of supper time. In the bottom of the eleventh Jonathan Papelbon found himself in a jam after allowing an infield pop-up single with English drop for the hot-hitting(?!) Vidro and then a line shot single off the bat of Yuniesky Betancourt.

With runners on the corners and one out Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis circuited the ball around the bases for an inning-ending, game-saving double play. And in my exultation I nearly failed to exhale as a morsel of my chicken Caesar salad went down the wrong pipe.

Craig Hansen did not close out the game as breezily as Papelbon did the night before, but he was a good boy and cleaned up his own mess. With the bases loaded and two out Vidro had another chance to tilt the game to his team’s favor, but the nominal DH failed to turn in his first multi-homer game since April 14, 2007.

Vidro tapped out to Pedroia to seal the game and the ninth series sweep this season. With momentum mounting the Red Sox return home to greet a bevy of unwelcome but obligatory guests.

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