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Home » April 2009 Game CommentsApril 2009 » Recovering


Game 5: April 11, 2009
WinRed Sox5
W: Brad Penny (1-0)
H: Ramon Ramirez (1)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (2)
2-3, 1 game winning streak
L: Joe Saunders (0-1)
2-3, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: I analyzed the quartet of color analysts for Friday’s games, but there are not enough words in all the languages of the world to describe the lackluster performance of the Fox broadcasters yesterday. They confused Jason Bay with Rocco Baldelli and mixed up Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie. Left and right fielders with “B” names, names that start with “L” next to each other in the batting order — way too confusing for Fox.

Mike Scioscia’s team started the game with their usual small ball strategy. The poster child of that school of baseball, Chone Figgins, walked to lead off the bottom of the first, swiped second, and scored on two ground outs. Somewhere, Ty Cobb, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Morgan glowed at the thought of runs (or more correctly, a single run) being manufactured. It only cost two outs.

All of the Red Sox runs were knocked in by homers, a fact that would make Earl Weaver smile. Mike Lowell jacked a two-run home run in the fifth that was caught with Jerry Rice-like skill by a fan. And that was just the second-best catch yesterday afternoon. Rocco Bal — I mean, Jason Bay — snowconed a Torii Hunter fly ball in the fourth. Bay’s glove seemed to have hit the wall, which then caused the ball to pop out. Or perhaps the ball slipped out and hit the wall back towards Bay. Replays from two angles were inconclusive but this was not a replay situation anyway, so Scioscia’s appeals to second base umpire Marvin Hudson fell on deaf years. Bay kept his composure and re-caught the ball before it reached ground.

Bay put those same quick reflexes to work on the other side of the plate. The Red Sox left fielder put his team ahead for the first time in the game with a two-run longball in the seventh. He tacked on another four-bagger in the top of the ninth that would be the difference in the game.

After the first, the Angels all but abandoned any thought of small ball. Mike Napoli lofted two homers off the rotund Brad Penny. Penny’s Red Sox debut coincided with the debut with the new road grays, which are pretty much like the road uniforms of the early 80s but with the ornate Red Sox typeface rather than block letters. Penny wasn’t spectacular, but thankfully the Red Sox front office selected him as their reclamation project this season rather than Carl Pavano (1 inning pitched, 6 hits, 9 runs, 2 home runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 81.0 earned run average).

Ramon Ramirez had another impressive outing (1⅔ innings, 1 hit, 1 strikeout); the only hit he relinquished was a double off the bat of Napoli, but no one was getting anything by the Angels’ catcher yesterday. In the eighth Bobby Abreu smacked a sharp grounder to Kevin Youkilis who knocked it down but couldn’t glove the ball. The ball ricocheted towards Dustin Pedrioa who swiftly barehanded it and fired to Ramirez for the out. How odd to see a first baseman get an assist.

Jonathan Papelbon labored for 39 pitches to get the final four outs and gave up a home run to Hunter in the process. With the bases loaded, two out, and the count 0-2 Papelbon refused to waste a pitch to Howie Kendrick. The Fox color analyst kept on exhorting the closer to waste a pitch away or in the dirt to perhaps get Kendrick to chase after one, but with speedy Reggie Willits on third representing the tying run the Red Sox battery insisted on pounding the zone. After fouling off seven straight pitches, Kendrick finally straightened one out, but it found Rocco Baldelli’s glove despite the glare of the late afternoon sun.

The visitors will go into today’s game with a chance to win the series and bring their season record to .500

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