Saturday, June 28, 2008

Matsuzaka is Back!

Daisuke Matsuzaka had the worst start of his career in his last outing, which was his first start after coming off the 15 day DL. Fans were clearly worried after that outing, but Dice-K assuaged any concerns with a nifty 5 inning shutout of the Astros in Houston last night. Terry Francona pulled Dice-K after 5 innings, and only 87 pitches, most likely just to ease him back into things. But Dice-K looked good, striking out 4 and only allowing 2 hits. He did allow 3 walks, but that is what he does when he tries to force batters to swing. In the 4th inning, Dice-K almost provided some offense as well. On an 0-1 count, he squared around to bunt, then as the pitcher went into his motion, Dice-K pulled the back back and took a hack at the pitch launching deep down the left field line. For a minute it looked like the ball might carry for a home run, but it tailed foul, short of the fence. That would have been fun!

Terry Francona had given JD Drew a day off on Wednesday, knowing that Thursday's day off would give him two days of rest. I had thought the idea was great and could give JD a lift and keep him hot. Well, you have to tip your cap to Francona for that one, as JD clobbered a 3 run home run in the 3rd inning to give the Sox all the runs they would need to win yesterday. Dustin Pedroia drove in a run in the 7th, and Mike Lowell singled in the 9th with the bases loaded to drive in the final two giving the Sox a 6-1 victory. Houston's only run was a solo homer off of Hideki Okajima in the 8th inning with two outs. Oki followed the homer by allowing a single to Miguel Tejada, and Francona got nervous. Okajima has had a tendency to collapse quickly at times this season, and before that could happen, Terry sent Jonathan Papelbon in to get the final four outs.

Coco Crisp had his suspension reduced from 7 to 5 days after his appeal was heard. That is good news, and he will be serving his suspension when the Sox visit Tampa Bay this week. So, that may calm things down between the two teams, but I'm sure there will still be tension between them, especially if anyone is plunked accidentally. With Coco out, that will leave the Sox one player short in the outfield, which will be fine if Manny's hamstring is well mended, which it may not be. The Sox are not allowed to call up a player to replace Coco while he's on suspension, so think good thoughts for that hammy. You've got to wonder if something is wrong with Manny Ramirez though as he has turned as cold as JD Drew has been hot. For the second game in a row, he has gone 0-4 and is only 6-34 since June 13th. Let's hope he snaps out if it soon.

Tonight, stay tuned as Jon Lester continues his emergence as one of the AL's finest young pitchers with a commanding performance slicing through the Astros lineup like melted butter.

4 comments:

Fenway West said...

that's the type of interleague game we expect from the Sox. It would be nice if they can roll through this series before the two big ones after it.

Peter N said...

a letdown..he's been brilliant. But the'pen? Geez, with leads of 4-0 and 9-6, Littlre Manny couldn't hold it. How are you, Rooster? We need Josn and 5 runs today (Sun.) No ifs, ands or buts. PERIOD!

Peter N said...

I'm sorry for my typing...it's early. The comment should have said...Jon was due for.....

Rooster said...

FW - it was and I thought the Sox would roll through the Astros, but the bullpen got roughed up. Luckily the Rays lost too.

Peter - doing well, been busy. Went on a 2 day canoe trip during the week, and yesterday went on a 6 hour fishing trip - came up pretty empty, but it was fun.

Now, a win for Beckett and off to the Rays!