Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Game 1 - Boston at Oakland (in Tokyo)

"Live-blogging" via gameday audio:

Well, that certainly wasn't the nice, clean Papelbon inning we were looking for. And it took the help of a dreadful base-running play by Emil Brown, getting caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd on an RBI double. But the bottom line is this - Boston wins 6-5, and they are now 1-0. That's right, the Red Sox have the Best Record in Baseball.

Okajima gets the Win, Street the Loss, Papelbon the Save. Ramirez drove in 4 and Moss 2 for the Red Sox. And the important thing is that the Red Sox win.

And that 'W' is all that you're looking for. Not pretty at all, but just good enough...

The Red Sox don't score again, so they'll hand the ball and a 6-4 lead to Jon Papelbon in their quest to remain undefeated and in sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Manny Ramirez hits his second two-run double of the night, and the Red Sox take a 6-4 lead in the top of the tenth. Hopefully Papelbon outperforms Snyder...

The first nine innings were such fun that they're going to keep going. 4-4 after nine.

If Boston's going to win, they're going to have to do it in extra innings. They're just a clean Okajima inning away from getting the chance.

Brandon Moss' first Major League HR is the first run that the Red Sox ever score against A's closer Huston Street. That ties the game at 4, with the Sox still batting in the top of the ninth.

The Red Sox bullpen has retired the last nine A's. Unfortunately, the batter before that hit a two-run homer, which is why we're going to the ninth with Boston down 4-3. Lowell, Moss and Varitek due up against Street.

Youkilis and Ortiz hammer the ball against Foulke, but both right at outfielders. If the Sox are going to win, they're going to have to score their first run ever against Huston Street in the ninth.

Snyder and Javier Lopez retire the A's in order in the bottom of the seventh. We go to the eighth with Oakland up 4-3.

It's a good thing when your fastest runner (Ellsbury) leads off the seventh with a single. It's a bad thing when the next batter (Lugo) grounds into a double play on the first pitch. Boston doesn't score in the top of the seventh.

Snyder gets out of the sixth without further damage. We go to the seventh with the Red Sox down by one in a game that will be decided by the bullpens.

Matsuzaka won't be the winner. Snyder gives up a single and a home run to the first two batters he faces, and Oakland re-takes the lead, 4-3.

Matsuzaka's night is, indeed, done, as Kyle Snyder starts the sixth. But Daisuke could be the winner, as he made it through five and left with the lead. Snyder takes the mound with the Red Sox up 3-2.

With a runner at second in the first inning, Ortiz popped out to third. With runners at first and second in the sixth, he fouled out to third. But this time, Manny followed with a double inside the third-base bag, and two runs scored. Following a Lowell strike out, Brandon Moss, playing because J.D. Drew was a late scratch with a stiff back, singled to right, driving in Manny with the go-ahead run, and driving Blanton from the game. The Red Sox did nothing against Blanton for five innings, but he seemed to tire quickly. Which is not surprising - in an ordinary spring, this would have been his next-to-last spring start. "Real opening day" is, after all, still a week and a half away.

Well, after a truly painful beginning, Matsuzaka settled down nicely. If his evening's done after five (which I suspect will be the case), this is how it broke down:

First two innings:
6 outs - 13 batters, 60 pitches, 2 hits, 4 walks, 1 HBP, 2 runs

Next three innings:
9 outs - 10 batters, 35 pitches, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 HBP, 0 runs

But after two, you had to wonder whether he'd make it through 3, so that isn't a disaster outing. The question is, are the Red Sox going to score any runs and take him off the hook? They've done nothing so far...

Not only do the A's not score in the fourth, they don't get any baserunners. And Matsuzaka only threw 8 pitches. He might make it through five. Unfortunately, the Red Sox haven't done a thing with Blanton, so the score is still 2-0 Oakland.

The third inning was more successful. The Red Sox still haven't scored, but they got two base runners instead of one. And Matsuzaka only walked one and threw 15 pitches. He might make it through four...

Game time:
It is not unusual for me to have the Red Sox game on while I'm showering. This, however, the first time it's ever happened during the morning before-work shower. And hearing the game while riding to work is also peculiar.

In any event, the season is now underway. And, through two innings, it's off to an excruciating start. The first inning was painful, as the Red Sox had a runner at 2nd with 1 out and failed to score when Ortiz and Manny did nothing. And then Matsuzaka took 30 pitches to get through the first, while allowing two walks, a hit batsmen and a home run, and two runs. The Red Sox got another hit in the 2nd, erased on a double play, and Matsuzaka threw 30 more, although the A's didn't score. But it has just been painful to listen to.

After 2 - 2-0 Oakland.

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