Opponent: Boston Red Sox
When: 4:05 pm. today, Wednesday and Thursday
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
TV: Fox Sports Net (cable) Tuesday and Wednesday, KIRO (channel 7) Thursday
Radio: KIRO (710 AM) all three games
Probable pitchers: Today – Seattle left-hander Jamie Moyer (13-5, 3.96 earned run average) vs. right-hander Hideo Nomo (11-5, 4.09). Wednesday – Right-hander Freddy Garcia (13-4, 3.31) vs. right-hander Frank Castillo (7-6, 4.55). Thursday – Right-hander Aaron Sele (12-3, 3.56) vs. right-hander Tim Wakefield (7-7, 3.45).
Throwing them a curve: Fastball. Splitter.
Those generally are the choices a hitter has when he faces Kazuhiro Sasaki, and when Kaz doesn’t have the feel for the split-finger pitch, there’s not much guesswork a batter needs to do.
That’s the way it was until Jose Valentin came to bat with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday. Sasaki threw a curveball that curled over the plate for a first-pitch strike, and he later got Valentin to ground out to end the game.
“That backdoor curveball is a great pitch for him against a left-hander,” manager Lou Piniella said.
It’s a pitch Sasaki worked on in the offseason, not so much because he would throw it with regularity, but just to let hitters know he had it.
“I am confident in the curveball,” Sasaki said. “It’s a good pitch. Probably everybody watching was shocked seeing that pitch.”
With one more save, Sasaki will tie his club record of 37.