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Home » August 2008 Game CommentsAugust 2008 » Gaiyu [外野]

Gaiyu [外野]

Game 134: August 29, 2008
White Sox 0 L: Javier Vazquez (10-12) 76-58, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 8 W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2) 78-56, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Seven Red Sox players (Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Mark Kotsay, Alex Cora, Jason Bay, and Kevin Youkilis) got balls to fall in the gaiya (outfield); what they lacked in home runs they made up for in timely shots with runners on base. There were two outstanding plays by gaiyashū (outfielders): Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving snare of Orlando Cabrera’s fly ball to the fringe of the turf at the entry to the triangle. Ellsbury was a last-minute addition to the lineup because of Coco Crisp’s illness and the gem was the first pitch of the first at bat of the game. Long and lean Jermaine Dye similarly robbed Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the second. The ball was slicing towards the stands near the curve in the right field fence and Dye sprung up like a cornerback intercepting a Hail Mary.

If one can improve as a pitcher even though he leads his team’s rotation in wins, ERA, strikeouts per nine innings, hits per nine innings, and slugging percentage against, Daisuke Matsuzaka is doing so. He has quietly compiled an impressive sophomore season in the shadow of Josh Beckett’s struggles and Jon Lester’s success.

The White Sox possess one of the most prolific offenses in the majors: they lead the league in homers, are second to the Rangers in slugging percentage, and are third in total bases behind Rangers and Cubs. Matsuzaka shut them down for eight solid innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while punching out seven. Sadly, he neither figuratively nor literally punched out A.J. Pierzynski. Mike Timlin pitched a perfect inning of relief to secure the 44th home victory of the season.

Last night was the first game that video replay was available in Fenway. I would recommended a camera dedicated solely to Pesky’s Pole because that angle is too difficult for the umpires to judge and the camera crews are not positioned well to capture definitive proof. I disagree with the seemingly haphazard deployment of these systems with the majority of the games played, but on the other hand Commissioner Bud Selig did not turn a blind eye to the rash of missed calls and took action. If all the kinks can be worked out in the remaining games of the season, I am hopeful that postseason controversies will be averted.

A swarm of bugs descended in the third inning, but Javier Vazquez showed more fortitude than Joba Chamberlain in facing them. Vazquez had already weathered a first-inning bases-loaded jam in which he allowed just one run; a few midges wouldn’t unhinge him. Most of the game was a pitchers’ duel until the fifth, when the Red Sox finally deciphered Vazquez’s pitching patterns.

In the fifth Dustin Pedroia blooped a one-out single to left (not quite a laser that time) and swiped second with David Ortiz in the box. The designated hitter foiled the shift with a rope to right that had him sliding into second while Pedroia notched the second run of the game. Youkilis laced a humpback single to left that dropped a few feet in front of the warning track to advanced Ortiz, who was driven in by Mark Kotsay’s double, which was reminiscent of Ortiz’s own two-bagger.

Jason Bay struck out in that rally, but his bases-clearing double that had Nick Swisher careening off a center field sign provided the exclamation point to the sixth inning surge.

Tonight will be a night of firsts for me and the Red Sox. I managed to get a ticket to the new left field pavilion and Michael Bowden will make his major league debut.

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