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Home » May 2009 Game CommentsMay 2009 » Modori [戻り]

Modori [戻り]

Game 42: May 22, 2009
W: Johan Santana (6-2)
H: Bobby Parnell (8)
S: Francisco Rodriguez (12)
22-19, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox3
L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2)
25-17, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: “Modori” means return in Japanese. Like Matsuzaka I returned to Fenway last night; I was there to help kick off the series sweep against the Blue Jays and hoped to do the same for the opening of interleague play.

Johan Santana had other ideas. Santana is one of those lefties that doesn’t rely on craft rather than stuff. His nasty repertoire had all the Red Sox hitters befuddled. Kevin Youkilis, who rarely get punched out, struck out swinging thrice, as did David Ortiz. Since his time off, Ortiz has had to face off against three southpaw starters, and one of them could legitimately be titled the best pitcher in baseball. Santana may have gone to the weaker senior circuit, but his pitching translates to any league.

My voice is hoarse from trying to out-yell Mets fans. They were in full throat and it being May they weren’t choking. Come this September these Mets fans will have abandoned their garishly garbed team in favor of the Giants or Jets (whichever team is doing better).

When Daisuke Matsuzaka emerged from the dugout to begin his warm-up routine the first thing I noticed was that he seemed to have put on some weight. The next thing I saw was that he eschewed the highlights in favor of his natural hair color. But what matters is his performance on the mound, and given that this was his first outing since being on the disabled list he did rather well.

The hardest hit balls against him were Gary Sheffield’s second inning homer (which died on its way to the Monster seats and would have been a fly ball out in other parks) and Carlos Beltran’s fourth inning ground-rule double (which was legitimately scorched). The rest of the hits in the fourth were not rockets by any means; they were hardly sparklers. David Wright, Omir Santos, and Ramon Martinez’s singles were bleeders and bloops, but that’s all you need to string together a rally.

The Red Sox answered back in the bottom of most every inning the Mets scored in: Jason Varitek matched Sheffield’s home run and scraped out two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Without Martinez’s fielding error, both of those runs would not have crossed the plate. So much for hometown scorer’s bias. Unlike the hitter who was magically granted a single from Mariners’ scorer on Nick Green’s throwing error Varitek merely got an RBI.

Jason Bay’s running catch Martinez’s fliner (a great portmanteau) to left looked more impressive in person. As Bay glided towards the wall and made the stretching leap at the last instant reminded me of a Ted Williams photograph I saw on Sports Temples, an online photograph collection hosted by the Boston Public Library. That site is currently being revamped, so watch that space.

Looking back at those photos one tries to imagine how the game was once played and how Fenway used to look. I heard a father tell his kids about how spectators used to stand on the field of play itself. Judging by his first inning Baltimore chop, Jacoby Ellsbury would do well on a team practicing “inside baseball.” No wonder he isn’t well-liked on Sons of Sam Horn.

For once I remembered to record the live version of the game and was blessed with a priceless sound bite in doing so. Dennis Eckersley said one of George Carlin’s seven words when reenacting Youkilis getting hit by a pitch.

He said what I wanted to say about that game had not a family of four with their 12-week baby girl sat to my immediate right. After the cussing, Eckersley said, “Never mind.” Same thing with this almost inevitable loss. Turn the page and try to salvage the series, starting tonight.


Do watch the BPL Sports Temples space! The redesigned site should be up in a week! I hope you like it.

Scot Colford
Web Services Manager
Boston Public Library

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