Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Game 74: Okie-Dokie Indeed

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 3, Philadelphia Phillies 0

A Boston team finally wins a championship at home: congratulations Celtics!

Right before he came out to pitch, CSN showed a whole mess of statistics about how awesome Papelbon is: lowest career ERA in the MLB for a pitcher with 150+ innings, third behind Bob Stanley and Dick Radatz for franchise record in saves (a lead that he should take by 2009 with far fewer innings than either predecessor), only Red Sox with thirty-plus saves on two different years, turned water into wine twice during the 2007 playoffs, etc. Clearly my little Saturday soul-searching post was a bit of unnecessary existential wankery, or the Phillies were looking to pull off a major stats curse. In any case, the closest the Phils came to mounting a Pap upset was Ryan Howard pulling a 3 and 2 before striking out, and it was all downhill for them from there.

However: the big story of the night has to be Okajima, pitching around a one out hanging Okie-Dokie that he left up in the zone for Jimmy Rollins to rip down into the corner for a double. Sure, Lester pitched, well, frickin' excellent, but that's old news (for which we are all eternally grateful). As we all know, Okajima's problem this year has been allowing inherited runners to score, but his ERA is higher right now than at any point before August of 2007, and at this point when he hits the dirt, I get nervous. Seeing Rollins on second seemed to be the confirmation of my worst fears, but I'm happy to be proved wrong: line out to Drew, strike out on a foul tip, and we're out of danger and into the ninth. We'll just ignore the lurking specter of overexposure that may be compromising Okajima's AL performance and how he has a "first look" advantage against NL players for tonight, shall we?