47-25: Matsuzaka becoming a great one fast

Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5) returned to Petco Park, where he earned MVP honors at last year’s World Baseball Classic, in style. He pitched six shutout innings and struck out 9 on his way to another Red Sox victory, 2-1. He did walk 5 and needed 126 pitches, however, so the outing was far from perfect. Matsuzaka is putting a lot of mileage on his arm so far this year. He’s second on Baseball Prospectus’ list for Pitcher Abuse Points this season, to Carlos Zambrano (though Zambrano currently has one more start than him). The Hardball Times has also raised their concerns about his overwork in the past. However, Matsuzaka is throwing less often than he was used to in Japan, and he seems to be holding up just fine. His 126th pitch was a 94 mph heater that got Marcus Giles swinging. Only time will tell, but it’s good that the Sox usually pull him after six or seven innings.

Javier Lopez came on in the seventh to get one out, then Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima came in and threw strikes. Jonathan Papelbon came out in the ninth, all fired up. He was working it, revving his fastball up to 97 mph in earning his 17th save. Intimidating. Seeing him in this one was enough to convince me that his shoulder is not currently an issue.

Greg Maddux (6-4) put on a very good performance himself, controlling the Red Sox lineup for six innings. The only blemish for him was a two-run fourth inning, which proved to be the margin of victory. In general, soft-tossing control artists seem to fare better against the Red Sox than the hard throwers. There was that one little snafu, however, in the top of the 6th where Maddux literally fell off the mound after catching his foot on the ground. That was pretty funny.

Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek drove in the the two Red Sox runs. It’s good to see the offense (what little there is sometimes) get spread around a little bit.

Don’t look now, but Coco Crisp is riding an 8-game hitting streak and and hitting .308/.338/.462 for the month of June. Could he be coming out of his one and a half year long slump? I’m not ready to say yes, but I’d be very happy for him and for the Red Sox if he did. He had three hits from the (gasp) leadoff slot in this one.

Former Red Sox Cla Meredith pitched a scoreless 7th inning against the Sox. It’s sad that he got away.


2 Responses to 47-25: Matsuzaka becoming a great one fast

  1. firedannyainge says:

    It is so not sad Cla got away. When he was here he had a 6.8 ERA in the minor leagues. He could not handle the pressure in Boston. He is better off in SD where no one cares if you lose. Plus I remember him saying some obnoxious things when he left even though he sucked. Sorry but I don’t miss anyone that can’t take the blame when they truly sucked and that is Cla.

    Rant over:)

  2. donchoi says:

    The thing about Meredith is that he’s a sinkerballer with pretty good velocity and control. His ability to get double play balls could have been incredibly valuable for us.

    He was definitely messed up after giving up that grand slam to Richie Sexson in his debut (what was Tito thinking?). Maybe you’re right, and he couldn’t play here. Regardless, I’d have liked to see if he could have become something here. Maybe I wouldn’t be so bummed if we had actually gotten something back for him.

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