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Home » August 2008 Game CommentsAugust 2008 » Peroration


Game 131: August 26, 2008
WinRed Sox 7 W: Tim Wakefield (8-8)
H: Justin Masterson (2)
H: Hideki Okajima (20)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (34)
76-55, 2 game winning streak
Yankees 3 L: Andy Pettitte (13-10)
70-61, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Thus begins the first part of three wherein paeans to the nearly departed Yankee Stadium are sung, a national pastime in which even NESN will indulge. Bring your Bose QuietComfort headphones, at least until the Red Sox bullpen begins their drumming. Don’t discredit the buzz that musicians generate; the release of Masterson’s Olympia Sports commercial demonstrates that musical ability, solid pitching, and charisma can garner one endorsement deals. The lanky pitcher made the leap from Double-A to the majors with nonchalance; as Jed Lowrie has taken to making big league contributions without much fanfare so has Masterson assumed the role of spot starter and then reliable reliever without the ballyhoo of a Clay Buchholz. He made the rounds between Portland, Boston, and Pawtucket, but Fenway is where he’ll stay for the rest of the season.

As heartening as Manny Delcarmen’s “local boy does good” story is, the pitcher that impresses most is Justin Masterson. Not every 23-year old rookie possesses the sang-froid to take the mound with the bases loaded with one out and the tying run in the box in Yankee Stadium. A single swing by a man with multiple MVPs would stoke the dying embers of hope Yankee fans hold for their team’s playoff chances.

Both Yankee and Red Sox adherents may deride Alex Rodriguez for his lack of timely hitting, but that merely deprives Masterson of the praise he richly earns for inducing the two key outs of this game.

That acclaim should also be shared by Tim Wakefield, whose .500 record belies how well he has pitched in 2008. In his numerous quality starts either the batters weren’t providing the requisite runs or his bullpen failed to close down the opposition, robbing him of the victories that would give him a winning season.

Two of the three runs the Yankees managed were bloop homers provided by Johnny Damon. As a Red Sox player his homers silenced the crowd at Stade Fasciste; as a Yankee he can bask in gratuitous curtain calls for four-baggers that bring him and his team no closer to playoff contention.

For every Red Sox batter who started the game except Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Cash tallied a run. No one-man shows of supposed Yankee splendor could overcome the concentrated effort of nine men with a shared purpose: to see October baseball in Boston again. If the Red Sox weren’t reaching on hits they were getting bases on balls.

Pettitte uncharacteristically lacked control, though not-so-subtle lobbying by Jose Molina, Joe Girardi, and the lefty himself widened the strike zone as the game wore on. If the Yankees can’t have their PEDs, filibustering home plate umpire Jim Reynolds is the classy Yankee way of putting their thumb on the scale.

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