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Home » August 2009 Game CommentsAugust 2009 » Dissipate


Game 108: August 7, 2009 ∙ 15 innings
Red Sox0
L: Junichi Tazawa (0-1)
62-46, 4 game losing streak
W: Phil Coke (3-3)
67-42, 5 game winning streak
Highlights: The first character of the name Junichi [純一] means pure, innocent, and simple and the second symbolizes one. His family name is Tazawa [田澤], the first kanji means rice paddy and the second ideogram denotes swamp, which demonstrates that the grain is central to Japanese cuisine and culture and that rice needs swampy conditions to grow. Tazawa made his major league debut on Friday night after having made the jump from Portland to Pawtucket at the end of July. He was going to pitch at Saturday’s Futures at Fenway doubleheader, but the major league club was in dire circumstances with the trade of Justin Masterson.

Four words, four hits.

That’s all I wanted to write about this game, but as Josh Beckett deserved more (any) offensive run support, this game merits better treatment.

A pure baseball fan would marvel at this 15-inning classic.

A.J. Burnett rebounded from his Chicago shellacking with 7⅔ innings of shutout ball. The Yankees hurler walked six batters, struck out six (although Jacoby Ellsbury reached on catcher’s interference), and allowed one hit. Josh Beckett countered with 7 innings and allowed two less baserunners; his came in the form of four hits and two bases on balls.

Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Ramon Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Takashi Saito, and Junichi Tazawa took the mound at the bottom of each frame and stared down defeat. The Red Sox bullpen proved itself by keeping the lethal Yankees lineup at bay for 23 outs, a feat that was unthinkable because of its recent extra-innings tangle with the Rays. On that 24th out freshly promoted Tazawa surrendered a two-run home run to Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was only trying to impress his new girlfriend Kate Hudson. Does she even realize that her main squeeze benefited from Chad Fairchild’s Incredible Shrinking Strike Zone? Or that Tazawa to that point had been a major leaguer for roughly five hours?

J.D. Drew executed the clutch catch of the evening in the fourteenth. Two runners reached on singles with one out and Eric Hinske starched a liner to right field that would have drove in the winning run were it not for Drew’s perfect route and full extension snare.

The story of this game, of the past half dozen games, in fact, is the dissipation of the Red Sox offense. Boston’s bats were befuddled by Mariano Rivera and crew, with Alfredo Aceves turning in a particularly gutty three-inning performance of three strikeouts, one walk, and one hit.

Call me an impure baseball fan, but this is one game I’d rather forget.

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