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Home » September 2008 Game CommentsSeptember 2008 » Gakkari [がっかり]

Gakkari [がっかり]

Game 144: September 9, 2008
WinRays 5 H: Grant Balfour (13)
BS, W: Dan Wheeler (4, 4-5)
S: Troy Percival (28)
86-57, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox 4 BS, L: Jonathan Papelbon (5, 5-4) 85-59, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Jason Bay lined a go-ahead two-run shot into the first row of the Monster seats with two out in the bottom of the eighth. It wasn’t a moonshot but rather a four-bagger that seemed to be shot out of a particle accelerator. As it elevated Bay himself wondered if it would clear the wall, shouting “Get up!” as he ran down the first base line. Bay was summoned for a curtain call; take note, Yankee fans, this was an example of a meaningful moment in which a player deserves such an honor. Boston was three outs away from first place in the AL East, a position they hadn’t held since July 15.

The Rays provided the black hole to suck away the Red Sox players’ brief triumph in the top of the ninth.

Speaking of suck, why is Jonathan Papelbon doing so? He seems to have become a one-trick pony with his fastball, unable to draw on other pitches in his arsenal to keep hitters guessing. Dan Johnson (or as Heidi Watney calls him, Don Johnson), a player who hasn’t seen major league pitches since April 2, shouldn’t be able to sit dead red on Papelbon’ cheese and propel the tying run into the stands in his first at bat.

He was looking for a heartbeat, and that heartbeat came in the top of the ninth. Consecutive doubles by Fernando Perez and Dioner Navarro granted the visitors the lead. The new guy coming up big and rookie contributions--that’s the exultant storyline that is supposed to be written by the home team, not by the upstart Tampa Bay club.

From the spotty start by Daisuke Matsuzaka to the blown save by Papelbon, the game was letdown, or gakkari in Japanese. Given all the hits (eight) and walks (four) that Matsuzaka gave up, it’s a wonder this wasn’t a complete blowout.

The hitters did what they could against Rays ace Scott Kazmir: Kevin Youkilis doubled in a run in the first and Mike Lowell homered in the fourth.

This evening the Red Sox attempt to redeem themselves behind the potent arm of Josh Beckett. One more win and they’ll be half a game behind.

It could have been a game ahead.

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