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Home » 2008 PostseasonOctober 2008 » Kattobase [かっ飛ばせ]

Kattobase [かっ飛ばせ]

ALDS Game 2: October 3, 2008
WinRed Sox 7 H: Hideki Okajima (1)
H: Justin Masterson (2)
BS, W: Jonathan Papelbon (1, 1-0)
Angels 5 L: Francisco Rodriguez (0-1) 0-2
Highlights: Jason Bay rhymes with kattobase (pronounced ka to BAH say), which means belt out, crush, or kill a pitch for a home run. Japanese fans will yell this when exhorting their hitters. Despite the preponderance of Thunderstix®, cheers for the visitors could be heard. In the first inning Bay smashed a 2-2 slider to the boulders left of the batter’s eye with two men on and two out.

How refreshingly enjoyable it was to watch a start by Daisuke Matsuzaka without the roiling undercurrent of contempt that Jerry Remy brings. It may not be pretty, but most fans have long accepted that the pitcher will not efficiently work through the lineup, but he will more likely than not leave the mound with his team ahead. Even with the early lead Matsuzaka nibbled at his plate like Keira Knightley at supper (her only meal). The three runs the Angels scored over Matsuzaka’s five innings were the result of singles and bases on balls.

In the seventh Justin Masterson inherited two baserunners from Hideki Okajima with no outs. The towering reliever then alternated between outs and walks, a problem when the bases are loaded. Despite pushing across a run thanks to a five-pitch walk to Mike Napoli, whatever John Farrell said to his charge during his mound visit refocused Masterson. The reliever buckled down to strike out Erick Aybar and escape the bottom of the frame with a one-run lead.

Jonathan Papelbon was called upon to secure six outs. Masterson had surrendered a leadoff triple to Chone Figgins to start the eighth; the three-bagger was the Angels’ only extra base hit of the series. Garrett Anderson got under a ball that seemed destined for the photographers’ well but for Kevin Youkilis’s reach. Buck Martinez recognized it for the impressive play it was, but Youkilis would have done well to take a gratuitous dive over the fence to heighten the drama.

Mark Teixeira’s fly ball to center was deep enough to plate the tying run. Angels attendees responded with intense jubilation as the Jumbotron told them to do. The home fans had no teleprompter to aid them after J.D. Drew’s two run bomb in the top of the ninth off of record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez.

The success that characterized the Angels of the regular season has not carried over into the playoffs. Sixty-two times Rodriguez had converted save opportunities while blowing a mere seven chances. The AL Los Angeles team’s offense has been as laughable as Torii Hunter nearly taking himself out of the game with his third-inning tantrum. The center fielder jumped in protest at first base umpire Kerwin Danley’s out call and fell awkwardly.

In contrast was the Red Sox right fielder’s clutch performance on the field. Not only did he smack the game-winning blast but also excelled in defense. The ball hawk tracked down a high fly off the bat of Anderson in the sixth to end the inning cleanly. The ball could have easily clanked out his glove as it did to Reggie Willits on David Ortiz’s ninth inning double, but Drew held firm.

On the whole TBS’s coverage of the divisional series has been acceptable. I much prefer Buck Martinez’s analysis to Chris Berman’s bumbling, although the former tends to talk over the action rather than allowing the play to unfold. Informed commentary is always appreciated over inane sound bites.

Craig Sager’s attire has grown on me. His light green blazer was accented by a floral tie along with a brown and yellow pocket square. Perhaps he was trying to meld in with the emerald field. Maybe his ensemble was an homage course of the baseball season: the viridescence of his jacket symbolizing the tender buds of spring growing into the abundant blooms of summer that give way to the fiery foliage of fall. Most likely he is colorblind.

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