Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I don't know why I hate the A's so much. Maybe it's because they play in a football stadium. Maybe it's because many of their fans are the same whiny, moronic Raider fans still replaying videotape of the Tuck Play on their VCRs over and over again. Maybe it's because "Moneyball" is both misunderstood, and overrated. Maybe it's because that organization produced Jason Giambi, Jose Conseco, and Mark McGwire. Maybe it's because they refuse to retire #3 for Jimmie Foxx, and unlike the cross-bay Giants; do not pay any tribute to their history in other cities.
Whatever the reason, beating Oakland gives me ha;f as much satisfaction as beating the Yankees, which is a lot.
An impressive start by Jon Lester set the tone for the Sox. He went 6.2 innings, allowed 3 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 3. He was assisted by 3 double plays turned behind him, which helped keep his pitch count down. He threw 94 pitches, which translates into an average of 14.1 pitches an inning, well below his average from 2007.
With Okjima and Papelbon working the night before, the Red Sox bullpen went to it's B-Squad. Bryan Corey got 4 outs, and Manny Delcarmen pitched a perfect 9th.
The Red Sox offense did well, but not as well as they could have. Ortiz hit a 2 run shot, and Varitek homered, but there were a lot of potential runs left on the bases. When you get 20 baserunners, you should score more than 5 runs. But the A's turned 3 double plays, Mike Lowell was caught-stealing during a botched hit-and-run, and 12 men were left on base.
The Red Sox have Thursday off then play the Blue Jays in Toronto. Tim Wakefield starts against Shaun Marcum. Over the last three seasons, Wakefield is 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA in domes.
AP Photo/Ben Margot
A great start from Daisuke, excellent bullpen work, and the hitting of Kevin Youkilis propelled the Sox to a 2-1 victory over Oakland on Opening Day 2.0.
Dice-K and the Sox fell behind 1-0 when Jack Cust - who has one of hose baseball names you just don't see anywhere else - hit a solo shot in the 2nd. But Ellsbury tied it up in the 5th with an RBI single that knocked in Youkilis. The Sox took the lead in the top of the 6th when Youkilis tripled and was sent home by a Varitek double.
Apart from the homerun, Matsuzaka was impeccable. He only allowed 2 hits, 0 walks, and struck out 9 in his 6.2 innings. Okajima relieved him and was solid, allowing a 2 out walk in the 7th, and a leadoff single in the 8th that was harmless. Papelbon was AMAZING, coming into the game with 2 outs in the 8th and retiring all four men he faced, three of them via strikeout.
This was the formula we saw with the Sox last year. Decent and timely hitting creating a win thanks to starting pitching going deep into the game, and the frontline relievers closing things out. When the Sox only have to go to Okajima and Papelbon in the late innings, they are essentially unbeatable. And that is why Daisuke Matsuzaka is the winner of the Man of the Game Award for Game #3.
The Red Sox look to win the hiccuped four game series tomorrow night when Jon Lester faces Rich Harden...again.
AP Photo/Ben Margot