Tonight the Red Sox face the Yankees in the final game of their series against each other this season. Boston has won the first two games, and tonight Daisuke Matsuzaka is playing the Yankees for the first time. Combine that with the fact that Hideki Okajima is becoming a very good middle reliever for the Sox, and I have an excuse to try and top last week’s live blog and show you even MORE crazy Japanese stuff. If only Matsui were off the DL, tonight would truly be insane. Let’s just hope the offense doesn’t go anemic like in the last two Matsuzaka starts (both solid outings on his part).
The madness commences!
8:09 pm: Up first for the Yankees: Johnny Damon. Or, as a true Fenway Park fan once called him while he still played for Boston, “Captain Vagina.”
8:11 pm: Matsuzaka has been pitching aggressively against Damon. And by aggressive, I mean, “A little off.” That’s two pitches from which he had to get out of the way.
8:12 pm: Damon flies out to Julio Lugo. He’s not the same without the beard. Jeter’s up next.
8:13 pm: Jeter flies out to J.D. Drew. If A-rod hits that, it’s a home run. Abreu is next.
8:14 pm: A nasty pitch by Matsuzaka. It just died before getting to the plate. Jon Miller thinks it’s the gyroball, but it looked like a slider.
8:16 pm: Kaibutsu (calling him Dice-K is lazy) walks Abreu, and A-Rod is up next.
And on the first pitch, he hits Rodriguez on the arm! I didn’t think he had the boorus to do that in the Major Leagues.
8:18 pm: Giambi hits to the left-center field wall, the edges of the Monster. Managing to reach it outside of the plate, and he gets a double. Abreu and Rodriguez score. 2-0, Yankees.
8:19 pm: Matsuzaka easily retires Robinson Cano, but the Yankees are already up 2-0 at the middle of the first inning.
Japanese picture of the first inning:
8:22 pm: Pitching for the Yankees tonight is rookie southpaw Chase Wright. Lugo is up first for the Red Sox.
You know you’re not going to run the bases well on a given night when Wily Mo Pena is playing center field.
8:24 pm: Lugo is walked to start the bottom of the first. Up next is Kevin Youkilis.
Lugo is caught out of position, and Wright nearly picks him off.
8:27 pm: Doug Mientkiewicz is the first baseman for the Yankees. It’s some kind of cruel joke that even after Boston won their first championship in 86 years, the guy who caught the final out is now in pinstripes. It would truly be a scandal if he still had had the ball from the final out, as was nearly the case.
8:30 pm: Lugo steals second base, and despite an initial 0-2 count, Youkilis is walked by Chase Wright. David Ortiz is up next, wearing #42 tonight. Apparently that’s because the Red Sox’s Jackie Robinson celebration got rained out.
8:32 pm: On the second pitch, Ortiz flies out to Abreu.
Manny Ramirez is now at the plate. He’s really been struggling early this year, batting .193.
8:34 pm: And just as quickly as Ortiz, Manny flies out to Abreu for the second out of the inning. J.D. Drew, who has done surprising well offensively so far, is up next.
8:37 pm: Drew strikes out to end the inning. 2-0, Yankees. Now these are the Yankees I;ve come to expect. Against the Mariners they were completely shut down. At least now it’s back to normal, leaving a bunch of guys on base before coming up empty. AAAHHHHH!!!
Japanese video of the first inning:
8:40 pm: Matsuzaka starts the second inning well, easily ridding of Mientkiewicz. But he sucks as a batter anyway, so maybe it doesn’t prove anything.
8:41 pm: A deep fly ball by Melky Cabrera, but Pena is there for the catch at the back of the Monster.
8:42 pm: Lowell catches the line drive to retire the side. It only took 7 pitches for Matsuzaka to get out of that inning, and the score remains 2-0, New York.
Picture of the second inning:
8:45 pm: Bottom of the second inning. Mike Lowell is leading off. He’s a good player, but to me he;s a reminder of that Boston should have never traded away Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins.
Just like that, Lowell strikes out. Jason Varitek is next.
8:48 pm: Varitek flies out to Abreu. That’s three right field flyouts already. Wright is pitching well this inning.
8:50 pm: Wily Mo Pena gets the free pass to first base, as Wright walks him. Dustin Pedroia is batting next. His batting average this year is a whopping .158. Ugh.
8:51 pm: Pedroia manages to hit a line drive past Rodgriguez down the third base line. Amazingly, he gets the first hit of the game for the Red Sox. Boston goes back to the top of the order.
8:52 pm: But on the second pitch, he grounds out to Jeter. The Yankees still lead, 2-0 after 2 innings.
Japanese video of the day: okay, technically it isn’t Japanese, but it inspired the title of tonights live blog. And it’s really funny.
8:55 pm: Johnny Damon hits a grounder off Matsuzaka’s leg and into the outfield for a base hit. BOOOOOOOOO!!!
8:56 pm: On the first pitch, Matsuzaka beans Derek Jeter. I think it’s just bad location on his part, but I think that by hitting the two biggest Yankees stars in his very first start, he has completed his initiation into the Red Sox brotherhood.
8:59 pm: Kaibutsu strikes out Abreu with a nasty changeup. Alex Rodriguez is up next. Let’s see how he bats after getting hit in the first inning.
9:01 pm: You know who stinks? Aramark. They are the company on charge of concessions at Fenway, and thanks to them you can’t get a Sam Adams in the stadium, in Boston, Because they have a contract with Budweiser. That’s like having to drink Chinese beer in a stadium in Munich! WTF?
Daisuke strikes out Rodriguez. Two out, runners on 1st and 2nd, Giambi at bat.
9:05 pm: One strike away from the end of the inning, Giambi manages a blooper to the outfield. Pedrioa can’t reach the ball, and Damon scores to make it 3-0, Yankees. In so doing Jon Miller and Joe Morgan manages to insult midgets in some way.
9:07 pm: Matsuzaka strikes out Cano to end the inning, but The Yankees lead 3-0.
Japanese Picture of the 3rd inning:
9:11 pm: Bobby Abreu has played really well at right field tonight. That’s the fourth fly ball he’s caught, this time one he had to chase courtesy of Kevin Youkilis.
9:12 pm: I think it only took one or two pitches to get Ortiz to fly out again. He’s 0-2. Manny’s up next.
9:14 pm: HOME RUN! Manny hits a solo shot over the Monster and through the window at the Cask & Flagon across the street. 3-1, Yankees.
9:16 pm: ANOTHER HOME RUN! J.D. Drew hits a hanging breaking ball into the stands behind the bullpen at right-center. 3-2, Yankees.
9:17 pm: ANOTHER HOME RUN over the Monster, this time by Mike Lowell. By the angle, I’m pretty sure that ball is now somewhere on I-90. 3-3.
9:19 pm: WWWHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Another solo shot over the Monster, this time by Jason Varitek. 4-3, Red Sox. Wright is getting absolutely lit up right now, and the bullpen is already warming up.
This is the first that the Red Sox have ever hit 4 home runs in a row.
9:20 pm: Pena strikes out, but Boston takes a 4-3 lead with four straight home runs. Total insanity.
And speaking of total insanity…the Japanese video of the third inning:
9:25 pm: Right after getting a lead from the offense, Matsuzaka allows Mientkiewicz to hit a ground rule double into the deepest part of center field.
9:27 pm: Cabrera grounds out to Youkilis at first base, but Mientkiewicz goes to third.
9:30 pm: My nightmares of losing a lead against the Yankees to a backup journeyman catcher are nearly realized. Thankfully Dustin Pedroia is there to catch the line drive. Two down, Damon up next.
9:32 pm: Captain V grounds out to Youkilis to end the top of the 4th. Red Sox lead, 4-3.
Japanese pitcure of the 4th innning:
9:34 pm: Joe Torre has pulled Chase Wright, and now pitching for the Yankees is some fat guy with a weird pitching motion whose last name is Bean. This oughtta be interesting.
9:36 pm: Pedroia hits one solidly into left field, but Cabrera is able to chase it down for the first out.
9:39 pm: Nieves is hurt in his left hand. Based on Jon Miller’s reaction, you don’t even want to know who the third option is at catcher for the Yankees.
9:40 pm: Youkilis grounds to Jeter, and Cano nearly converts the double play, but Youk gets there just in time. Ortiz is up next.
9:42 pm: Just a thought: I do not want to be the guy that has to clean David Ortiz’s gloves. he spits on them before every swing.
9:43 pm: The phlegm is powerful, as Big Papi hits a ground rule double into right field. Runners on the corners, and Manny is up next.
9:45 pm: You have to believe that by this point in his career, Joe Torre is slipping Jack Daniels into his Gatorade to keep from going insane.
Which reminds me: Happy Birthday, Terry Francona!
9:46 pm: Ramirez hits a ball on a check swing, and is easily thrown out by “Mr. Bean to end the inning. Two LOB, but Boston still leads, 4-3.
Japanese video of the 4th inning:
9:49 pm: Wow. Even his little necklace says “Dice-K” on it. Still, I refuse to surrender to that nickname.
9:50 pm: Jeter manages to hit a high inside pitch by Matsuzaka over the Monster to tie the game at 4. AAAAHHHH!!! Why did it have to be Jeter? At least Wil Nieves didn’t hit one out of the park. That would really suck.
9:53 pm: Daisuke redeems himself, retiring Abreu and then striking out Rodriguez in 3 pitches. His breaking ball for strike three was unhittable.
9:55 pm: Giambi’s pop foul is caught by Varitek to end the inning, but the game is now tied, 4-4 at the middle of the fifth.
Japanese picture of the fifth inning:
10:00 pm: J.D. Drew is walked by Mr. Bean. After the home runs, the offensive output has been decidedly disappointing against New York’s relief pitching.
10:02 pm: Mike Lowell flies out to center field. Jason Varitek is up next.
10:04 pm: Drew steals second base, and Varitek walks to put runners on first and second with one out, and Wily Mo Pena at bat. Most fans think “home run” or “RBI single”. As a Sox fan, I automatically think “inning ending double play.”
10:06 pm: Instead of a double play, Pena strikes out swinging to bring up Dustin Pedroia. Wait, that’s the same thing!
10:07 pm: Pedroia grounds to Jeter, who forces out Varitek at second to end the 5th inning. The game is tied, 4-4.
Japanese video of the 5th inning:
10:12 pm: The Yankees get two straight outfield singles off of Matsuzaka. Nobody out, runners on the corners, Cabrera at the bat.
10:15 pm: Cabrera grounds into the double play, but Cano scores from third. Nieves is quickly disposed of, but the Yankees lead 5-4 at the middle of the 6th inning.
10:26 pm: Sorry, missed the bottom of the sixth. The Sox didn’t score, leaving the score at 5-4 in favor of New York. Pettite pitched in relief in the 6th, retiring the side in 9 pitches.
10:28 pm: Johnny Damon flies out to begin the 7th inning.
Jeter grounds out on the next AB. Two outs, nobody on, Abreu up next.
Joe Morgan: We still don’t know if the Gyroball exists.
Umpire: you are blind. That’s two straight strikes that you’ve called balls.
Matsuzaka ends up striking Abreu out swining to end the inning. The score remains with the Yankees leading, 5-4.
Japanese photo of the 7th inning:
10:34 pm: Manny Ramirez leads off the bottom of the 7th inning. Scott Proctor is pitching against him.
10:36 pm: Manny hits a grounder that rolls into right field for an easy base hit. J.D. Drew is up next.
10:37 pm: Drew hits a double just off the bottom of the Monster. Manny goes to third. Nobody out, runners on second and third, Mike Lowell is at bat. The Yanks consider bringing in Vizcaino to pitch, but decide against it. Still, he’s warming up.
10:40 pm: HOME RUN! Mike Lowell hits one deep, and it just barely makes it over the top of the Monster. A three run shot by Lowell, and The Red Sox lead, 7-5.
Luis Vizcaino is definitely coming in now, after Proctor really screwed thing up for New York.
10:44 pm: Vizcaino forces a groundout for Varitek, and the Yankees finally get their first out of the 7th inning. Pena is up next.
10:46 pm: Pena strikes out AGAIN! He’s really chasing outside pitches that he shouldn’t swing at.
10:47 pm: Pedroia Gets a line drive single into left-center. Lugo is up next, with two outs and one on.
10:50 pm: Another walk, this time to Lugo, and there are runners on first and second with two outs and Youkilis at the plate.
10:53 pm: The Yankees get the forceout off the grounder by Youkilis, but the Red Sox have taken a 7-5 lead after 7 innings. The Yanks’ power lineup is up perhaps for the last time in the game.
10:57 pm: Top of the 8th inning, Matsuzaka is still pitching, and everyone’s favorite breakfast cereal/center fielder, Coco Crisp, is back in the lineup.
10:58 pm: Rodriguez hits a line drive single over Pedroia’s head, and that will be all for Matsuzaka. He’s leaving the mound, and Hideki Okajima is coming out of the bullpen in his place.
Japanese Video of the 7th inning:
11:00 pm: Top of the 8th, Matsuzaka is still in, Rodriguez is at the plate, and everyone’s favorite breakfast cereal is back at center field, Coco Crisp.
Rodriguez line drives one over Pedroia’s head for a single, and that will be all for Matsuzaka. He’s leaving the mound, and Hideki Okajima is coming out of the bullpen in his place.
11:01 pm: Wow. The only guy on the Red Sox roster more metro than Daisuke is Okajima.
11:02 pm: Giambi flies out, but the wind almost carries it away from Mike Lowell. 1 out.
11:03 pm: Robinson Cano is able to get a base hit, as Crisp can’t get to the ball in time. Runners on first and second, 1 out, and Jorge Posada is pinch hitting.
11:07 pm: Okajima walks Posada to load the bases. With Melky Cabrera up next, Okajima is out and Donnelly is in.
11:12 pm: Lugo gets the forceout at 2nd for out #2, but can;t convert the double play, and Rodriguez scores from 3rd to make it 7-6, Red Sox. The run was given officially to Matsuzaka, who will be charged with 6 ER in 7 IP. Statistically his worst performance so far, but the Red Sox a very much in position to win.
11:15 pm: Pedroia makes a great dive for the third out, and the Sox get out of the inning, Still leading 7-6 in the middle of the 8th. No matter what, Papelbon will have at least a one run lead to save in the 9th.
Japanese photo of the 8th inning: Aren’t yachts in your face enough?
11:20 pm: Bottom of the 8th.
David Ortiz hits one deep into left field, but it’s very playable, as Cabrera makes the easy catch. One away.
11:24 pm: Manny gets another base hit, and J.D. Drew is up next against Yankees pitcher Sean Henn.
11:25 pm: Drew grounds to third base. Rodriguez is able to throw him out, but Manny gets to 2nd base. Two outs, one on, Mike Lowell at the plate.
11:29 pm: Lowell is walked, and Jason Varitek is up next with runners on first and second.
11:30 pm: Varitek is promptly rid of for the third out. The Red Sox are hanging on to a 7-6 lead going into the 9th inning. Papelbon will be in to close the game.
Japanese video of the 8th inning: Pray to God that your Grandma is smart.
11:34 pm: Top of the 9th, and the top of the Yankees order is batting.
11:35 pm: I haven;t noticed this before, but Johnathan Papelbon has an absolute death stare.
11:36 pm: Joe Morgan: “Damon got good wood on the ball, but he couldn’t get it up.” You gotta love baseball. Ramirez catches the fly ball for the first out.
11:38 pm: Papelbon fires the inside fastball, and Jeter strikes out swining and missing badly. Two down, and it’s up to Bobby Abreu to extend the game.
11:41 pm: Uh-oh. Papelbon walks Abreu, and Rodriguez is up to bat, representing the potential game-winning run.
11:44 pm: Rodriguez grounds to Lowell, who gets the forceout at second to end the game. The Red Sox win, 7-6, sweeping the Yankees for the first time in 17 years at Fenway, and in turn take a dominating early lead in the AL East. Matsuzaka, despite an average pitching performance, is credited with the win.
I leave with one more piece of Japanese weirdness. Good night!