|Game 54: June 4, 2009|
|Red Sox||6||W: Tim Wakefield (7-3)|
H: Justin Masterson (2)
H: Hideki Okajima (9)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (14)
|32-22, 4 game winning streak|
|Tigers||3||L: Dontrelle Willis (1-3)||28-24, 3 game losing streak|
| Highlights: Jim Leyland told the Red Sox radio team about how Ted Williams tried to give him hitting advice: “Just look for the little red dot as the ball comes in.” It’s just that simple. Maybe that is why David Ortiz is going to get his eyes checked.|
Behind every big inning is a beleaguered pitcher, none moreso than Dontrelle Willis. His impressive debut season in 2003 and his breakout performance in 2005 seem a lifetime ago.
Back then his riotous delivery flummoxed batters and caught the imagination of most baseball fans. Aficionados of this sport love quirky, and Willis’s unorthodox approach epitomized odd.
But when one’s genius is driven by one’s unconventionality, there aren’t many people to turn to get advice. Would James Joyce go to your AP English teacher for writing tips? Or Jonas Salk to the local CVS pharmacist for a consult? So Willis flounders in a purgatory from which only he may free himself.
Willis did not allow a hit in today’s game but started the third by hitting Jacoby Ellsbury and then walked five batters. Jim Leyland got ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Jeff Nelson’s supposedly tight strike zone for his pitcher. Zach Miner relieved Willis, in a manner of speaking: he allowed of his inherited baserunners to score.
Jason Bay is such a nice guy he looked almost guilty when he lined a two-run double to left field. Wait, that’s his normal stoic expression.
For the second time this season the Red Sox faced a first-place ball club and swept the series. Fortunately this series was only three games long; any longer and the beanball battle may have escalated to a war or more players may have gotten dinged. Both teams’ first basemen, Kevin Youkilis and Miguel Cabrera, came up lame and left the field early.
The win put Boston in a tie with the Yankees for first in the AL East, just in time for next week’s showdown.