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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Ame [雨]

Ame [雨]

Game 62: June 13, 2009
WinRed Sox11W: Hideki Okajima (3-0)38-24, 5 game winning streak
Phillies6L: Antonio Bastardo (2-1)35-25, 2 game losing streak
Highlights: I’m going to give Daisuke Matsuzaka a mulligan for his performance last night. He was dealing in the first inning but his momentum was stalled by a 1:35 rain delay. Ame, the Japanese word for rain, is pronounced ah-may, like the first two syllables of the word “amazing.” David Ortiz had the day off and sat in the dugout with his umbrella [amagasa, 雨傘].

The Red Sox jumped to a five-run lead in the first inning. Three errors by the Phillies extended the inning. Carlos Ruiz started the circus when he airmailed his throw into center when trying to catch Jacoby Ellsbury, allowing Boston’s center fielder to not only steal second but advance to third. In the second ring of the circus we have Antonio Bastardo’s pickoff toss to Ryan Howard, who not only missed the catch but tarried long enough for Ellsbury to score and Kevin Youkilis to take third.

After Jason Bay launched a homer (his 17th of the season), Mike Lowell doubled and Rocco Baldelli walked. Shane Victorino uncharacteristically missed a line drive; the bounding ball got all the way by him to the center field wall. Lowell and Baldelli scored on Julio Lugo’s single and Lugo ended up on third.

Daisuke Matsuzaka actually made contact but popped out to third. He took the mound and dispatched the first three Phillies batters in 14 pitches. The hurler looked crisp and confident, but then the rain came.

After the rain delay it was as if someone pressed a reset button. To stay game-ready Matsuzaka had another bullpen session after the delay; the extra work obviously took its toll as the game wore on. Matsuzaka relinquished two home runs in the fourth and the Phillies had pulled themselves within in a run of the visitors. When Matsuzaka reached base on a fielder’s choice in the fourth he held his gloves in his hand like a real baserunner.

The letters in Jack Taschner’s name can be used to spell the word trash. Coincidence? He toed the rubber in the fifth and compiled a line of 1 inning pitched, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout. Victorino put himself in the running for an ESPY for Best Performance by an Outfielder Attempting to Sell a Trap as a Catch when he gloved Bay’s sinking liner to start the frame. The Phillies center fiedler then atoned for his error with an outstanding basket catch of Youkilis’s fly ball to put a merciful end to Taschner’s outing.

Judging by the cheers, the sole Phillies reliever to do his job was Sergio Escalona. Sure, he gave up a couple of runs in his two innings of work, but he nailed J.D. Drew with a pitch. Only the longballs hit by Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz, and Jayson Werth elicited louder applause.

The Red Sox bullpen reaffirmed that it is the class of both leagues with a five-inning production that limited the home team to a mere two runs. Of note is Ramon Ramirez’s recovery from a pair of tough outings; the righty pitched a perfect eighth with a strikeout.

Games presented by Don Orsillo and Dave Roberts are pleasant but bland. Roberts is almost too much of a nice guy to be a color analyst, though. To zest up his commentary, Roberts could take a more critical stance to the plays on the field. Can you imagine what Jerry Remy or Dennis Eckersley would have said during the top half of the first inning? It’s funny to think that Roberts has to wait for a ride in Philadelphia; in Boston people would offer to carry him 20 miles on their shoulders to get him where he needed to be.

The previous four series have been against first-place teams: Detroit, Texas, New York, and Philadelphia. Boston swept the Tigers but lost the series against a youthful Rangers team. The Yankees were in first place for one game until the sweep in Fenway. The Red Sox have assured themselves a series win against the defending champions, and the AL East leaders seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.

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