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Home » August 2008 Game CommentsAugust 2008 » Autokōsu [アウトコース]

Autokōsu [アウトコース]

Game 112: August 3, 2008
Athletics 2 L: Dallas Braden (2-2) 53-57, 6 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 5 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-2)
H: Hideki Okajima (19)
H: Manny Delcarmen (15)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (31)
64-48, 3 game winning streak
Highlights: Autokōsu has nothing to do with cars but rather means the outside pitch, which the Japanese refer to as “out-course.” Of course there is also inkōsu [インコース] for the inside pitch. Matsuzaka was working both yesterday in his 12th victory of the season. Incidentally, both terms also apply to golf and mean the front nine and the back nine respectively. Matsuzaka plays a mean round of golf, sporting a 7 handicap.

Maybe Jerry Remy is jealous of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s golfing prowess, for he sure has a burr under his saddle when it comes to this particular starting pitcher. Remy was on Matsuzaka’s case in the top of the fourth after Jack Cust worked the count full after falling behind 0-2.

“Another typical start by him,” groused the announcer. Cust proceeded to whiff on the next pitch and Matsuzaka struck out the side. Cust had walked in the first inning in an eight-pitch at bat, but even Remy admitted the final called strike by Brian Gorman was bogus.

Just another typical start by Matsuzaka in that the game was won. With Jon Lester’s no-hitter and emergence, other starters’ successes have paled in comparison. But outside of the spotlight the sophomore pitcher has put together a tidy season whether or not Remy deigns to acknowledge it.

Jason Bay didn’t homer this game but he did benefit from a fortuitous carom off of the left field stands in the first inning, intercepting Mark Ellis at the keystone sack before he extended a single into a double. It seems with every play by Bay on the field the fans rejoice, thinking to themselves that Manny would have never gotten that (even though in some cases, like this most favorable ricochet, he would have).

Rookie Carlos Gonzalez profited from another odd bounce off the center field garage door opening that had Coco Crisp chasing after the ball into the triangle. Gonzalez stood at third in the top of the second with no outs; in such situations at least one run will score more than 50% of the time. Matsuzaka struck out the next two batters and induced a fly ball out off the bat of Daric Barton.

The center field giveth and the center field taketh away, or rather, lackluster play by a young player that should be trying to impress both his peers and the brass taketh away. Gonzalez drifted lazily after Jed Lowrie’s fly ball and found himself waving his glove in vain after the missile. This time it was Lowrie who stood at third, but he had two runs to boast of for his efforts.

Barton would come back in the fifth to extract two runs out of the otherwise stingy arm of the Red Sox pitching staff with a homer into the visitors’ bullpen. But that only brought his team within two runs of the home team.

A rain delay broke up Jason Varitek’s sixth-inning at bat. He had worked the count full against Joey Devine batting lefty and then switched to righty with Alan Embree taking over for Devine after the 37-minute rain delay. Varitek chased a slider away for the final strike, and Embree got credit for the punchout even though he only threw a single pitch against the backstop.

Hopefully the rain delay gave Mike Lowell the chance to rest up. Despite the availability of Sean Casey and Kevin Youkilis at the corners and the fact that Lowell looked less sound than Kirk Gibson circa 1988 running the bases, Terry Francona used the grizzled third baseman for the entirety of the game.

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