Rookie of the Month
All of you who predicted that a Japanese pitcher not named Daisuke Matsuzaka would be the American League Rookie of the Month please raise your hand. I don’t see any hands. Is there a hand somewhere?
Let’s face it, none of us would have gone out on that limb. Okajima is a middle reliever. That said, he’s taken that job to another level with the way he’s pitched. Papelbon probably won ‘t pitch tonight. You can count on Oki being out there for the ninth. Nobody from the bullpen — aside from Paps — has earned more trust in the manager than Oki.
What can you say about Papelbon last night? He had nothing. It happens to the best of them sometimes. One obvious thing was his fastball didn’t have that explosive finish it usually has. It was the first time he pitched an entire inning without notching a strikeout since July 17 of last year.
I need to see multiple bad outings from Pap before he is classified as any kind of surprise.
Ichiro vs. Matsuzaka part deux tomorrow night at the Fens. With that, let’s resurrect one of the great quotes of all-time.
"I hope he arouses the fire that’s dormant in the
innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with
the zeal of a challenger."
That was Ichiro speaking with the Seattle times prior to the first matchup with Matsuzaka this season. Isn’t it impossible not to love that quote? I can’t see it enough times.
As for Beckett, he was filthy again. A 97-MPH heater to end a solid, seven-inning performance. For those who remember, I was predicting Cy Young-caliber stuff from Beckett this season. So far, so good.
Oki does it again in the eighth. Here’s Timlin in the ninth. It is clear that Francona was very serious about not over-using Pap this year.