Daisuke...Short, NOT Sweet...Again
Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona put Daisuke Matsuzaka's outing Monday night in perfect perspective....
"What was the final count, 101?" Francona said. "It's a lot of pitches. It's a lot of deep counts. Saying that, he made the one glaring mistake to Lofton for the two-run home run. The more pitches you throw, especially to dangerous hitters, the better chance you give them. I mean, that's the same concept that we talk about all the time, they kind of reversed it on us."
Way too many pitches. Way too many long counts. He only lasted 4 2/3 innings. 101 pitches in that span is a ridiculous number. His outing was, in a word, excruciating. I have a few other choice words, but they are better left unsaid. The Cleveland Indians went ahead in the series two games to one by beating the Red Sox 4-2. The big blow was struck by Kenny Lofton. After dilly-dallying before approaching the plate for that at bat, drawing the ire of catcher Jason Varitek, he launched one that barely cleared the outstretched glove of JD Drew and landed in the seats beyond rightfield. That made the score 2-0, and the scene was set for another Boston setback. Only Tek's two run bomb off Ceveland starter and winner Jake Westbrook in the 7th inning kept the Sox from being shut out. They collected 7 hits, but the Indians only managed 6. They scored 4 runs, and that was more than enough.
So now the Red Sox, down two games to one with a possible 4 left to play, pin their 2007 hopes and dreams on knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who hasn't pitched since September 29th. His September ERA was a staggering 8.76. There are those in the media who are calling for Tito to skip his turn and go to superstar Josh Beckett tonight. He would be pitching on 3 days rest. But Francona is going to stick to his guns and go with Wakes....for better or for worse. If he and his team, our team, win, the series would be tied at 2 with a rested (5 days) Beckett ready to go on Thursday. Schilling (gulp!) and Daisuke (bigger gulp!!), if needed, will follow, all on an extra day of rest. It comes down to Wakes and his dancing knuckleball. Tonight, on Fox, in a late 8:07pm EDT start.
Click on the title of this post for the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs' Tuesday morning column. It title? "By Josh, Francona should alter rotation." It's an illuminating, informative and entertaining piece, written by a master sportswriter. Just click on the title, and enjoy!
So now, in a little more than 13 hours, it's do or die time for Boston. The LAST thing they want is to be down 3 games to 1. And so it goes. Have a great Tuesday, turn the page yet again, and be well.