Jason Varitek comes through for the Sox in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win


Jason Varitek comes through for the Sox in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win

(April 30, 2008) – For the fourth straight game the Red Sox got another magnificent performance from their starting pitcher. And for the second consecutive game the Sox end the game with a walk off base hit into centerfield by catcher Jason Varitek, driving in left fielder Manny Ramirez with the game-winning run in the ninth.

Is it a full moon or something? It was kind of eerie because last night David Ortiz walked to start the rally. Tonight Ortiz hits a single through the over-sized shift in the infield to bring Ramirez to the plate. Ortiz and Ramirez flip-flopped their ninth inning stats from the previous night. Last night Ortiz walked and Ramirez got the hit, tonight Ortiz got the hit and Ramirez walked. Kind of eerie? But wait it gets better.

Right fielder Brandon Moss – who was making the start in due to J.D. Drew’s quad injury – lined a one-out base hit into center field almost in the exact same position of Kevin Youkilis’s last night. Remember how Vernon Wells bobbled the ball last night and was un able to throw out Ortiz? Tonight the Jays center fielder came up cleanly with the ball and through a perfect strike to catcher Rod Barajas who tagged out pinch runner Jed Lowrie, who was coming from second with the potential game-winning run. Wells would have another chance to make a game saving play for Toronto after Varitek’s single to center but the outfielder’s throw arrive too late and the rest is history.

Daisuke Matsuzaka had the unenviable position of following Jon Lester’s outstanding performance of eight innings of one-hit ball but the man from the land of the Rising Sun was up to the challenge. In seven innings of work, Matsuzaka was solid giving up just two hits and walking no one while striking out four Jays.

But also like last night, Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan was also on top of his game, retiring 16 consecutive Sox hitters in a row at one point. His one mistake came against David Ortiz, in the bottom of the seventh. With out in the inning, McGowan let a 2-0 pitch grab too much of the plate and Ortiz had that glimmer in his eye that he knew this pitch was going to end up in the outfield seats just second later. And it did. Ortiz connected for his fifth homerun of the season and 21st RBI, putting him one behind Ramirez for the team lead in homeruns and one ahead in of Ramirez in RBIs.

After completing seven full innings, Matsuzaka was in line for his fifth win of the season when he turned the game over to the Sox bullpen in the top of the eighth. But the 747 Red Sox hit some turbulence after Jays left fielder Adam Lind led of the inning with a base hit into centerfield off of reliever Manny Delcarmen. Opting not to have the right-handed Delcarmen face the ambidextrous catcher, Gregg Zaun, Terry Francona made his way to the mound to bring on the left-handed Hideki Okajima.

Okajima did not fair much better. He allowed a double down the left field line to Zaun, moving Lind to third. Lead off hitter of the game, right fielder Alex Rios hit a sinking line drive out to right field. The ball was sinking so fast it looked, for sure, as if it was going to drop in but out of nowhere came Moss to make the diving catch for an ESPN Web Gem. (Well one could hope.)

After the boys were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, it is fair enough to say the next team that plays the Red Sox is not going to home happy. The Sox are angry and they will unleash their anger onto the Jays that will result in a three game sweep of the good kind. Here are some words of wisdom to the other 13 teams in the American League and the five in the Senior Circuit who will be facing the Sox this year: DON’T WAKE THE SLEEPING GIANT!

Tim Wakefield will toe the rubber for the third and final game in hopes of completing the sweep. The knuckleballer is 2-0 on the season with a 4.06 ERA with 19 strike outs. He is coming of a six inning game against the Rays where he allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits while walking five Tampa Bay batters and striking out just one.

Making his seventh start of the season, A.J. Burnett is 2-2 with a 6.07 ERA and 19 strike outs. In his last start against the Kansas City Royals, Burnett pitched 7.1 innings allowing five runs, three earned, on eight hits while walking three and striking out six. But like teammate Roy Halladay, who pitched on Tuesday night, Burnett is a ground ball pitcher. 62% of the balls that are put in play, by opposing batters for an out, are ground balls.

WIN: Jonathan Papelbon (2-0)

LOSS: Scott Downs (0-1)


Game Notes:

J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury are both out of the line up for tonight’s game due their respective injuries. I do have a feeling Ellsbury is going to an injury prone player throughout his entire career. His built and his obsession with working out tells me that.

At the end of the month of April 16-11.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Jason Varitek, BOSTON 1-4 Game-winning single and RBI
  1. Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOSTON 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 2BB, 4K
  1. Dustin McGowan, TORONTO 7.1IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 5K

No comments: