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Home » July 2009 Game CommentsJuly 2009 » Replacement


Game 90: July 18, 2009
Red Sox2
L: Brad Penny (6-4)
55-35, 1 game losing streak
WinBlue Jays6
W: Marc Rzepczynski (1-1)45-47, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Unsurprisingly, Rzepczynski is the first major league player with a surname that begins with the letters “Rz;” the letter combination is a voiced retroflex fricative that has no English equivalent. What is surprising is that the rookie contained the potent Red Sox lineup to a single run over six innings. “Zep,” as he is called, gave up four hits and four walks but struck out four. Fo’, fo’, fo’.

Jim “Kitty” Kaat had retired from broadcasting in 2006 but returned to the booth after his wife’s death in 2007. He used to work for YES but distinguished himself from former colleagues such as Michael Kay by providing insightful commentary. Don Orsillo tried to bait Kitty a bit by bringing up Derek Jeter’s leaning into pitches, but Kaat came right back with Kevin Youkilis’s proclivity to do the same.

In the third a pitch ricocheted off the knob of Youkilis’s bat and he tried to convince Laz Diaz that the ball hit him. Diaz wouldn’t have any of it, so the All-Star settled for a ground-rule double. Youkilis was called out on a swinging strike in the fifth and looked for some sympathy from Jed Lowrie, who misplaced his copy of The Care and Feeding of a Temperamental Hitter. Later in the game microphones picked up Diaz admonishing Youkilis for complaining about his calls. Given Diaz’s wandering zone and Youkilis’s prickly personality, both sides had something to bellyache about.

Kaat brutally observed that Daisuke Matsuzaka is the highest-paid long man in the bigs and compared him to Marc Rzepczynski. What does that make Brad Penny, who has only gotten past the sixth inning three times in 18 starts with the Red Sox?

The Blue Jays’ starter with the alphabet soup surname started off 18 of the 25 batters he faced with pitches outside of the strike zone, and yet the Boston batters failed to convert any bases on balls into runs. Only Rocco Baldelli managed to drive in a run with his second-inning single to right. Jason Bay dashed home, Mike Lowell flashed speed (for him) and advanced to third, and Baldelli slipped into second on the throw.

Imagine the first pitch out of your hands landing into the bullpen you just left. Not only that, but the guy that jacked it had a grand total of two at bats since April 12. That’s what happened to Jesse Carlson in the seventh.

In his first game back Lowrie homered, a missile to left from the right-handed side of the plate. In 22 at bats Lowrie had as many homers as Julio Lugo did in 109. Even though the Lowrie Era commenced with a loss, Lowrie in the lineup improves the team for the rest of the season and beyond.

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