Friday, May 23, 2008

Slam Blam Thank You Maam!

The Red Sox rode the good fortunes of not one, but two grand slams en route to a, not as close as it sounds, 11-8 victory to complete a four game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. The sweep of Kansas City comes on the heels of a three game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers, leaving the Sox perfect on their latest home stand as they take off for the west coast to meet the Oakland A's.
Dice-K Matsuzaka
Red Sox starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, earned the win to improve his already impressive record to 8-0 on the season. Dice-K had a good game, but not a great game. He, once again, tried dancing around the strike zone with mixed success. While refusing to give in to batters, he also ran his pitch count up to 118 pitches, throwing 67 for strikes. He struck out 7, but walked 6. He gave up 6 hits, but held the Royals to only 3 runs, going 5 2/3 innings before handing the ball over to Javier Lopez, holding on to a 5-3 lead. Lopez did his job, striking out the only batter he would face to end the 6th inning.

JD DrewThe big story of the day was the offense, specifically from JD Drew and Mike Lowell, both the authors of devastating grand slams. JD Drew's was an opposite field shot into the Green Monster seats that gave the Sox a 4-1 lead in the 2nd inning. Mike Lowell's came in the 6th inning after the Sox had already plated two runs and lifted the lead to an insurmountable 11-3 advantage for the home team.

The Red Sox bullpen, however, decided that a blowout was not exciting enough for the fans at Fenway Park. Fearful that fans would start streaming out of Fenway too soon, Terry Francona sent Craig Hansen in to level things out in the 7th inning. Hansen got to work early allowing a lead off home run to stop any early exiters in their tracks. That seemed to slow some fans from leaving, but many fans were still feeling a bit too confident. So, a walk and a double later put another run on the board narrowing the score to 11-5. Hansen finished up the inning without further damage, but fans returned to their seats, afraid that Hansen might come back out for the 8th inning. When Francona opted to send in David Aardsma, fans breathed a sigh of relief and began packing again. Well, Aardsma did what he could to hold the audience, so with two on and two outs, wisely surrendered a powerful three run home run to narrow the score to 11-8.

Jonathan PapelbonAt this point the bullpen had done their job. They had returned excitement to the game and left the outcome in doubt. Fans would be foolish to leave now. Holding on to a three run lead, the Red Sox now had a save situation, and we all know what that means - this is a job for ... Jonathan Papelbon! Papelbon started the 9th inning off with two quick ground outs, but when he noticed a few people starting for the exits, he quickly allowed back to back singles to draw them back in. Not that all eyes were riveted, and the stage was set, Papelbon wrapped it up with a fly out to Jacoby Ellsbury to seal the win.

So, has Manny Ramirez been saving his 499th and 500th home runs for the west coast fans? If so, today might be the day! Manny is 3 for 8 in his career against today's starter, Rich Harden. Those three hits? All home runs!

(Photos Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)


Peter N said...

At times, it was an excruciating game to watch, and at times, there were "jump up and down" moments. Paps should not have been needed last night, but he clearly WAS needed to end it in style and make the trip west a happy one. Great post. Let me know when the DVD set(s) arrive, and I'll do the same. We can combine on a great review of more than 16 1/2 hours of Red Sox magic. Take care, Rooster. I'm still deciding on what type of quiz contest to run. Maybe you can help, since you already have one on the way. Thanks again. Pete

Rooster said...

You got it!

P.S. I will be away this weekend, but make sure you stop by, I have a little friend who has agreed to watch the blog for me this weekend. He'll be here tomorrow morning to keep an eye on things.

Matt said...

It is ok if Manny hits one tonight but he needs to save #500 for Sat. or Sun. I'll be seated in the 3rd row half way between 3rd and the pole...look for me among the sea of red in oakland.