Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Game 2 - Boston at Oakland (in Tokyo)

Live-blogging the Major League Baseball season since yesterday...

(Chris Lynch is up and blogging, too...)

Well, the Oakland offense has, through two games, been far more consistent than the Boston offense. Oakland scored 5 runs in each game in Tokyo, the Red Sox scored 6 in one and only 1 in the other. So they finish the far east portion of the schedule at 1-1, and the dream of an undefeated season falls.

The big play of the game was obviously the three-run Emil Brown HR in the third, after which there was never a sense that the game was going to be competitive. The Red Sox had nine baserunners, and only in the third, when Youkilis drew a two-out walk with Lugo already at second, did they have two on at the same time. None of their hits came with runners on base.

The star of the game was Rich Harden. Making his first MLB start since last July, he went six innings, allowing only 3 hits, 3 walks and 1 run, while striking out 9. An outstanding performance.

The two teams will next meet on Tuesday in Oakland to conclude the four game series.

Corey fails to keep the deficit at three, giving up a double and a single for another Oakland run. They go to the top of the ninth down 5-1.

The A's also do not score in the seventh. The Sox have six outs remaining to make up a three-run deficit.

Well, inning one PH (Post-Harden) isn't an improvement. They waste a two-out Crisp double and go to the bottom of the seventh still down by three.

Manny goes deep, and cuts the lead to three, 4-1. That's all they get, but I'd be surprised to see Harden, with 95 pitches already, come out for the seventh. This game's still got a ways to go.

David Aardsma makes his Red Sox debut with a quick and clean, nine pitch, no base-runner inning. Still 4-0 after five, and Harden's very likely to pitch the sixth. If they're lucky, he's tiring. Even if not, this should be his last inning, but it would be nice to see some offensive productivity with Youkilis, Ortiz and Ramirez due up.

Boston doesn't score in the fourth. In somewhat of a shocker of a development, neither does Oakland, as Lester decides to pretend he's a Major League pitcher, and retires the A's in order on 10 pitches. Why he waited until he had a four-run deficit to pitch that way, I don't know. Maybe he's trying to enhance the drama of the series by letting the Red Sox try to put together another come-from-behind victory.

And the walk and HR bite the Red Sox again. Lester walks the lead-off batter in the third, and after a fly ball out and a single, gives up a 3-run homer. That makes this officially a bad performance from young Mr. Lester. Four hits, three walks and four runs through 2 1/3 innings isn't going to get it done very often.

The Red Sox draw a couple more walks in the top of the third, and pick up a stolen base, but don't score. Harden's struck out five and allowed no hits so far.

He's also thrown 60 pitches. He may get through the fifth, but he won't go any further than that. The Oakland Bullpen's going to have to pitch again today. (Of course, with Lester at 39 pitches through two innings, so is the Boston bullpen...)

Once again, the A's jump out to an early lead, and Boston's playing from behind. And the Red Sox starting pitcher is giving the A's too many base runners, with two walks through the first two innings. 1-0 Oakland after two.


Lester's first inning today is better than Matsuzaka's yesterday. Only one walk, only 16 pitches, no runs. Harden also gave up a two-out walk and nothing else. 0-0 after one. There is a tendency to say "scoreless" but that isn't really correct, is it? After all, the team's have scores - they each have 0 runs. One could say that they are "scoreless," I suppose, in the sense that neither team has scored yet, but the game itself isn't scoreless...

Game 2

Jon Lester vs. Rich Harden

Tokyo Dome

What could be more exciting?

First pitch - 6:09 AM at Fenway Park...

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