The Boston Red Sox won the AL East for the first time in 12 years, the only team title that had eluded the Sox since John Henry bought this team in 2003. Now they face the Angels in the ALDS, up 1-0 in the series so far. The playoffs is when the real season begins.
But the real reason we’re covering this game is because it’s Daisuke Matsuzaka’ first start in the MLB playoffs. At Digital Headbutt, that means only one thing: A Live Blog/Engrish/Japanese game show extravaganza!
8:58 pm: The Red Sox-Angels game is currently being pre-empted by Yankees-Indians, which just went into the 11th after Cleveland left the bases loaded. Meanwhile, Daisuke just got out of the 1st inning, and it’s still 0-0.
9:00 pm: CORRECTION: You can see the Sox game on TNT.
9:02 pm: Kevin Youkilis faces 0-2, but he manges to bring up a walk from Kelvim Escobar, setting up a David Ortiz at-bat with one on.
9:05 pm: Ortiz gets an base hit, a 1-2 line drive to left-center field. Two on, one out, Manny at the plate.
9:09 pm: After a long at-bat, Manny hits a ball deep into center field…and right into the glove of Chone Figgins. Two on, two out.
9:12 pm: Escobar walks Mike Lowell to load the bases for Boston. This is both a good thing and a bad thing; The Red Sox lead the MLB in runners stranded, and J.D. Drew is at the plate. (shivers)
9:13 pm: Line drive don the middle of the diamond, and Drew has a base hit! Youkilis and Ortiz come around to score. The Red Sox take a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
9:16 pm: Varitek line out to second base to end the inning. Boston leads 2-0 after 1.
JAPANESE VIDEO: HUMAN PAC-MAN GAME
9:20 pm: Unbelievable. Matsuzaka sets up 0-2, and then he throws four straight pitches to Casey Kotchman’s feet. One on, no outs to start the top of the 2nd.
9:24 pm: Kendry Morales grounds it to Pedroia, but he just misses the ball. Morales gets the base hit and Kotchman goes to third, but perhaps more importantly, Pedroia seems to have injured his shoulder. Fortunately, he looks okay.
9:26 pm: Matsuzaka is in trouble with runners on the corners and no outs, and Howie Kendrick is at the plate for the Angels.
9:27 pm: Daisuke seems to have suddenly turned on his nasty pitching; He just struck Kendrick out on 3 pitches. What’s more impressive is that Kendrick swung twice and missed–badly. One out.
9:30 pm: Jeff Mathis grounds out to Lowell, but he can’t make a play at home, Kotchman scores, and Boston’s lead is down to 2-1.
9:33 pm: Figgins gets a hits into left field, and Manny Ramirez, apparently distracted by the breaking news that Cleveland beats the Yankees, runs right past the ball. Morales scores, and the game is tied at 2-2.
9:34 pm: Within two pitches, Orlando Cabrera hits a deep shot to the base of the monster, Figgins scores from second, and the Angles take a 3-2 lead. This inning has not been kind to Matsuzaka.
9:36 pm: Guerrero grounds to Pedroia, and the top of the second mercifully comes to an end. The Angels have taken a 3-2 lead in the middle of the 2nd inning.
ENGRISH OF THE SECOND INNING: Do not drink this coffee.
9:39 pm: The game switches back to TBS, as everyone’s favorite breakfast cereal will lead off in the bottom of the second.
9:40 pm: Coco Crisp quickly strikes out. One down, and Lugo is up next.
9:42 pm: Julio strikes out just as quickly as crisp, Pedroia grounds out on the first pitch, and the inning is over in less than 10 pitches. Some nice pitching by Escobar, and the Angles keep their 3-2 lead after two innings.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE INNING: Hurdles and a giant treadmill. What can go wrong?
9:47 pm: Garrett Anderson hits a blooper to right field, and Drew can’t quite get to it. Anderson gets a double to lead off.
9:48 pm: Izturis grounds it to Lugo in front of a running Anderson, and he’s out by a mile at third. Good defense, but bad running on Garrett’s part.
9:49 pm: Matsuzaka has already thrown 66 pitches tonight, and he’s only had 7 outs.
9:50 pm: Maicer Izturis steals second base uncontested.
9:51 pm: Kotchman hits into the easy groundout. 2 down, and Izturis goes to third.
9:52 pm: Morales hits one deep, all the way to the right-center warning track, but Drew is there to make the catch.
9:53 pm: ENGRISH OF THE INNING: This sign is an Engrish goldmine.
9:55 pm: Escobar continues to throw nasty stuff, quickly disposing of Youkilis on the strikeout.
9:57 pm: Did Escobar suddenly space out? Ortiz is walked on four pitches, and Ramirez is at the plate with one on.
10:00 pm: Ramirez’s AB did not begin well. Two big swings, two big misses.
10:01 pm: After two foul balls, Escobar throws a high fastball past Manny for strike three. That’s four strikeouts in two innings for Kelvim.
10:03 pm: Lowell grounds to Cabrera, and he easily throws him out to end the 3rd inning. Angels are holding onto a 3-2 lead.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE INNING: Quite possibly the most bizarre ad you will ever see.
10:06 pm: Some serious technical difficulties from TBS. Howie Kendrick suddenly looks like a player from Tron.
10:08 pm: For the third straight inning, the Angels leadoff batter gets on base. Daisuke’s face says it all: “Dame desu yo.”
10:09 pm: Matsuzaka pitches a foulout to Varitek in the first pitch.
10:10 pm: What a play by Youkilis! He makes the big dive to stop a potential double, and he beats Figgins to first. Two away, Kendrick at second.
10:11 pm: Cabrera grounds out to short to end the inning, and the Angels are holding onto a 3-2 lead in the middle of the fourth.
ENGRISH OF THE INNING: Wow, Japan is really un-PC.
10:15 pm: Drew hits a decent grounder, but Kotchman makes the grab and throws Drew out to Escobar at first. One down.
10:16 pm: If not for Escobar’s bottom 1st and Matsuzaka’s top 2nd inning, we may have a great pitchers duel on our hands.
10:17 pm: Varitek hits a line drive into left field, but Anderson is there to make the catch.
10:18 pm: On the first pitch, Coco Crisp lays a perfect bunt, and he outruns the throw to first for a single.
10:19 pm: Mathis, the catcher, bobbled on the throw and Crisp steals second easily. All it rakes now is a decent hit by Lugo for Crisp to head for home and tie this game.
10:22 pm: Is it just me, or does Dustin Pedroia look just like EVERY COLLEGE-AGE SOX FAN ON EARTH?
10:23 pm: Lugo strikes out to end the fourth. Angels lead, 3-2 after four innings.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE INNING: Ask Milk! (Or as they call it, Gyuu-nyuu)
10:27 pm: Top of the 5th inning. Guerrero grounds out to Lugo for the first out.
10:28 pm: Garret Anderson flies out to Coco Crisp. Two up, two down.
10:30 pm: Matsuzaka is not helping his own cause. After Youkilis deflects the ball trying to catch it, and Dustin Pedroia had a chance to make a play and end the inning. But Daisuke did not get to the bag in time, and Maicer Izturis makes it to first easily.
10:33 pm: Kotchman screams a line drive foul into the Angels dugout, and it looks like someone on the bench is hurt.
10:34 pm: Izturis steals second again. The Throws bounces off of Lugo, but Pedroia is there to back up and prevent a possible run to third.
10:35 pm: Mastuzaka throws a wild pitch advancing Izturis to third, then he walks Kotchman, and that will be the end of the night for Daisuke. Francona is pulling him.
10:37 pm: Lefthander Javier Lopez enters the game to Mexican Standoff music.
10:39 pm: The Red Sox get a forceout at second to end the top of the fifth. The Angels’ lead remains 3-2.
10:43 pm: ENGRISH OF THE INNING:
10:44 pm: Pedroia opens the bottom of the 5th with a line drive double down the left field line. Youk advances Pedroia to third on the check swing.
10:45 pm: Escobar intentionally walks David Ortiz to put runners on the corners for Manny Ramirez. MAN-NY! MAN-NY! MAN-NY!
10:47 pm: Boston pulls a reverse Bartman (or a semi-Jeffrey Maier). A fan makes a huge extension to take the ball away from Mathis and a foulout.
10:51 pm: Manny manages to work the count, and walks to load the bases. If Mike Lowell drives in runs to take the lead, that kid who caught the foul ball will be the toast of Boston.
10:52 pm: Lowell hits deep, deep ball to left-center. Figgins makes the catch, but Pedroia tags up from third to tie the game at 3-3.
10:56 pm: After a very long at-bat by Drew, he grounds out to first to end the inning. Good thing the inning is over, because Ortiz is exhausted from running on four stright 3-2 foul balls. The game is tied, 3-3 after five innings.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE INNING: Everyone’s favorite game show, another episode of Human Tetris!
11:02 pm: Top of the 6th. Manny Delcarmen is in to pitch for the Red Sox.
11:03 pm: Youk takes the grounder and throws to Delcarmen at first for the out. One down.
11:04 pm: Pop out to J.D. Drew. Two down on very few pitches.
11:07 pm: Figgins strikes out to end the top of the 6th. The game remains a 3-3 tie, as Delcarmen’s stuff looks really good right now.
ENGRISH OF THE INNING: Uh, thanks but no thanks.
11:09 pm: Scott Shields is in to pitch for the Angels, replacing Escobar.
11:12 pm: Shields disposes of Varitek to start the bottom of the sixth inning.
11:113 pm: Shields lost a bit of control, walking Coco Crisp on what looked like four pitches.
11:16 pm: Lugo hits a line drive down the line, but it’s just outside and short of the Pesky Pole.
11:18 pm: After Lugo flies out to center field, Coco Crisp made a huge baserunning mistake. He slides into second and a bit past, but he doesn’t know where the ball is. Seeing Figgins at center, he rushes back to first, but he doesn’t retouch second base and the Angels throw him out at second for a double play to end the inning. The game is tied, 3-3 after 6 innings.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE INNING: Uh, good vibrations? WTF?
11:23 pm: A flyout to Crisp to open the inning. One away.
11:25 pm: Guerrero takes a bad hit on the shoulder from Delcarmen, and he’s not happy at all. With a runner on first and one out, Delcarmen is coming out of the game in favor of Hideki Okajima.
11:32 pm: Okajima, after a long at-bat, finally rids of Garret Anderson on a flyout to Crisp.
11:34 pm: Whoa. Okajima’s offspeed pitch is absolutely filthy.
11:35 pm: Strikeout, and the top of the 7th is over, with the game still tied, 3-3.
ENGRISH OF THE INNING:
11:41 pm: Shields remains in the game. Pedroia grounds out, and then Youkilis hits a fly ball directly into Anderson’s glove. Two up, two down, and Ortiz is at the plate.
11:44 pm: Shields walks Big Papi, his third straight walk. Manny now comes on with two outs.
11:47 pm: Shields walks Ortiz and Manny back-to-back. Spire, another reliever is warming up, and he will likely face Mike Lowell. For now, Shields stays in.
11:49 pm: Lowell faces a full count and he…flies out to Figgins to end the inning. The game is tied a 3-3 after 7.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Human bowling.
11:53 pm: Hideki Okajima remains on the mound for the 8th inning.
11:55 pm: One away, but Manny nearly lets that fly ball drop.
11:59 pm: Okajima strikes out his next batter for the second out of the inning, but that will be all for him in this game. Papelbon is coming in.
12:02 am: On the first pitch Kendrick grounds it to Lowell, but Youkilis can’t handle the throw. I believe that’s his first error of the season. The Sox were going to get a very easy out; instead they have Kendrick at first.
12:04 am: Kendrick steals second base easily, and Juan Rivera comes in to pinch hit for the Angels.
12:07 am: Instead of the bottom of the 8th, we’re stiil in the Rivera at-bat. It’s been a long AB, it’s a full count, and now Kendrick is at third.
12:08 am: Papelbon had a 1-2 count, but he ends up walking Rivera. Now Figgins comes to the plate, instead of a a one-pitch out to end the inning.
12:10 am: The Angles pinch runner for Rivers takes second base easily.
12:11 am: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET OUT OF THIS INNING ALREADY!
12:12 am: Finally, Papelbon strikes out Figgins to get to the bottom of the 8th. The game remains a 3-3 tie.
ENGRISH OF THE INNING: Lindsay Lohan, there’s still a pageant for you!
12:16 am: The Red Sox had some nice momentum after that strike out. Drew promptly kills it with a bad groundout.
Apparently, Vlad Guerrero is out of the game. Justin Speier is in to pitch for the Angels.
12:19 am: Varitek grounds out for the second out of the inning.
12:20 am: Dammit! Coco Crisp hits one high and deep, but it was 10 feet short of a homerun. The game remains tied, 3-3 after 8 innings.
JAPANESE VIDEO OF THE INNING: A different kind of yakyuu…
12:23 am: Only three days into the postseason, and I’m already sick of Dane Cook.
12:24 am: Sorry Steve Stone, for Anderson to look like Oscar De La Hoya, he needs to be in a thong and fishnets.
12:26 am: After nearly walking the first batter, Papaelbon manages to dispose of Orlando Cabrera with a popout.
12:28 am: Papelbon gets the next batter to fly out to Lugo. Two up, two down, and Garret Anderson is at the plate.
12:32 am: Anderson swings and misses–badly–on the first two pitches, but he still manages to draw a walk. Fortunately, Papelbon pops out Izturis on bring it to the bottom of the 9th. The game is tied, 3-3, and the Red Sox get the top of their lineup after Lugo leads off.
ENGRISH OF THE INNING:
12:36 am: Lugo gets a base hit on the first pitch, and the winning run is on for the top of the lineup.
12:37 am: A hit and run by Pedroia. He’s thrown out at first, but Lugo is now in scoring position.
Out goes Speier, in comes K-Rod for the Angels. Youkilis will head to the plate with Lugo at second.
12:40 am: A sneaky move by K-Rod, who almost picks off Lugo at second.
12:42 am: Youkilis strikes out. Two out one on, and the Angels will almost certainly walk Ortiz, and it’s all up to Manny now.
12:45 am: OHHHHHHHHHHHHH! OOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! MANNY RAMIREZ TAKES THE PITCH, AND HE SENDS IT OVER THE MONSTER AND INTO THE TURNPIKE! HOME RUN, AND THE RED SOX WIN, 6-3 off the walk-off home run.
What a way to end this game, which give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead as the series heads to Anaheim.
I hope you enjoyed the game and the Japanese weirdness tonight.