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Home » August 2009 Game CommentsAugust 2009 » Donnybrook


Game 112: August 11, 2009
L: Chris Lambert (0-1)
59-53, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox7
W: Junichi Tazawa (1-1)
H: Fernando Cabrera (1)
H: Takashi Saito (2)
64-48, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: Tazawa made his Fenway debut and after a rough first inning settled into a solid five-inning outing with 1 earned run, 2 base on balls, and 6 strike outs. Despite his skillful start Tazawa wasn’t the headlining act of last night’s show.

When Miguel Cabrera got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out I thought the damage would have been worse if the Tigers first baseman got the chance to swing the bat.

Then Nick Green failed to turn the double play on Carlos Guillen’s grounder with the ducks on the pond. A high throw pulled Dustin Pedroia off the second base bag and allowed Placido Polanco to cross the plate. The inning continued with Magglio Ordonez driving in a run on a fielder’s choice, a walk by Alex Avila, and Cabrera scoring on Brandon Inge’s liner to left.

Hit by pitch or three-run home run, by the middle of the inning the results were the same.

After Pedroia grounded into a double play in the bottom of the second Rick Porcello went after Victor Martinez. Martinez stared out at the mound bewildered.

The second inning transpired uneventfully until Cabrera stepped in the box. Junichi Tazawa’s pitch hit Cabrera in the hand but it was ruled a strike. With the count 1-2 Ryan Raburn replaced Cabrera and proceeded to swing at the third strike. Since Cabrera left with two strikes he is charged with the strikeout.

Don Quixote himself would have scratched his head to see Porcello aim his first pitch between Kevin Youkilis’s numbers. The rookie pitcher took it upon himself to avenge what he saw as a wrong against his team’s superstar by hitting the oft-plunked Youkilis, who is tied for fourth in the American League with 10 HBPs.

Without shield or lance Porcello faced the onslaught of Youkilis, who added a new variation on the well-worn trope of mound charges by throwing his helmet at his quarry. When the dust settled, only Porcello and Youkilis were ejected. “They don’t have to worry about his hundred pitch count tonight,” quipped Dennis Eckersley.

Today we learned that both players were handed five-game suspensions, but of course the impact on Youkilis and the Red Sox is greater because he is an everyday player. A strange way to fairly dole out the the blame given that the league cited both the Martinez and Youkilis incidents as intentional, but there is nothing fair the way Yankee Bob Watson runs his office.

Unlike scrums against the Rays and the Yankees, there weren’t multiple foci of hostilities (despite Edwin Jackson’s attempts to ratchet up the conflict). The benches cleared mainly to stop Youkilis from murdering Porcello on field.

Ginned up from the skirmish Terry Francona had Mike Lowell pinch run for Youkilis and his batters rallied. David Ortiz pulled a single between first and second and Jason Bay tied the game with a home run into the Monster seats.

(I giggled as much as you did when Lowell was tapped as a pinch runner. He demonstrated that the easiest way to navigate the bases is via the longball. Twice.)

Francona was ejected for arguing with second base umpire Brian O’Nora. They tangled over a call on J.D. Drew’s attempted theft of second. Inspired by his corner infielder’s helmet-hurling the skipper spit his gum into his hand and tossed it on the field.

Red Sox debutantes Tazawa and Fernando Cabrera must have been thankful for all the action. Their Fenway Park debuts may have gone unnoticed by most, but their successes will hopefully fuel them for the stretch run.

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