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Home » September 2008 Game CommentsSeptember 2008 » Tuned


Game 142: September 7, 2008
WinRed Sox 7 W: Paul Byrd (11-11) 84-58, 1 game winning streak
Rangers 2 L: Brandon McCarthy (1-1) 70-74, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Byrd’s archaic wind-up much delighted analyst Ken Macha and flummoxed the Rangers line-up to boot. Usually the throwback twirler will concede around five runs, but the Texas bats were antsy. They chased after Byrd’s poky pitches for six and two-third innings, walking three times and striking out four while notching only three hits.

Save for Javier Lopez, the Red Sox relievers did not have clean innings. Manny Delcarmen was particularly erratic: he struck out three but surrendered a homer to rookie catcher Taylor Teagarden.

Most troubling has been Jonathan Papelbon’s heart attack saves. When contact is made it is usually hard shots to the outfield. When the ball hawks can’t track them down, they result in extra base hits or yet another batter he has to attempt to blow away.

The outfield of Jason Bay, Coco Crisp, and Jacoby Ellsbury is astounding; very few hits slip by the trio. In the sixth Bay and Crisp both charged hard into shallow left-center for a fly ball off the bat of Joaquin Arias and either could have made the catch. Bay gloved the ball and had to acrobatically avoid the sliding Crisp.

Defensive humdingers weren’t just happening in the outfield. Dustin Pedroia and Alex Cora combined for a double play on Hank Blalock’s ground ball. Marlon Byrd (no relation) attempted to upend Cora but the Red Sox infielder stayed with the play for a brisk twin killing.

Offensively every Boston batter except seventh-inning replacement Jed Lowrie tallied a hit. David Ortiz powered a two-run homer in the fifth, his first since August 14. Bay launched a rather rare opposite field homer in the seventh. Not to slight Texas, which will eventually be a fine team, but the Red Sox seemed to be tuning up for the series against the Rays that begins tonight.

This evening the record for consecutive sellouts will be broken, and perhaps also the youthful spirit of the division-leading Rays will be as well. I’ll be there with a standing room ticket for the left field pavilion, being a part of history and hopefully a witness to the Red Sox securing a firmer hold on their playoff future.

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