Saturday, June 28, 2008

Daisuke Progress...Red Sox 6 Astros 1

Daisuke Matsuzaka's second start since going out with shoulder fatigue can be described with this one word...PROGRESS. He was able to go five scoreless innings and threw only 87 pitches. Why didn't he go longer? It's a matter of strength. Here's what he and his manager had to say after the third straight Red Sox victory...

"I'm not even counting my last start," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "But I did feel like I did come back with this start. I just hope gradually I can make back all the trouble that I caused. I don't know if I'd say happy, but there was a minimum standard I wanted to reach out there today," he said. "I feel that, with my next start and going forward, it will just get better and better."
"The ball came out of his hand crisp," Francona said. "I know he felt good, but we want to progress him to where he gets stronger."

Peter here, and that's EXACTLY what this first place world championship team, the Good Guys from Boston, needs--a healthy Daisuke. Oh, maybe throw in a 22 year old Sandy Koufax, just in case, and add a Petey Martinez in his prime, but that can't happen. It was a nice thought, though, wasn't it? And wow, what a great lefty/righty combination those two would be!! Oh, and these words, which will make you smile, illuminate further the progress Daisuke has made. This is from the Boston Herald. Prepare to smile...

"Matsuzaka’s form was much better last night, which translated to a greatly improved fastball. After being in the 88-90 mph range against St. Louis (peaking one time at 91), he was at a consistent 93 last night, topping out at 94. His slider also appeared to be nearing its old form."

Peter here, and that's such GREAT news for Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International the world over. Oh, Red Sox Kid Nation, too! The Boston bullpen took over in the sixth and continued their excellence. Craig Hansen pitched a clean sixth, Manny Delcarmen extended his scoreless streak to put the seventh inning behind us, Hideki Okajima, summoned to pitch the eighth, was only able to record two outs before Tito yanked him to let Papelbon do his stuff. The last four batters of the game for Houston produced zero runs and zero hits, and that was good enough for Daisuke's ninth win and Jonathon Papelbon's 24th save. GREAT JOB again by the 'pen crew.

The batting stars for the Red Sox were Pedey Pedroia, who had three hits, JD Drew with his crucial three run home run, Kevin Youkilis, who seems to be completely recovered from his freakish eye injury, with four hits, and the ever and always clutch Mikey Lowell, who chipped in with a huge two run single. The Astros' pitchers were ripe for the picking, and we picked 'em!

In other Sox news, the appeal of Coco Crisp was heard and his "sentence" was reduced from seven games to five, which I think is eminently fair. And when I think of Coco's upcoming suspension, I think of the Tampa Bay Rays, who won their fourth straight last night. The two teams join each other on the same field (again) starting on Monday, down in Florida. Let's hope there are no premature Fourth of July fireworks of ANY kind by the Florida Bay.

Thank you for stopping in to my little corner of the internet once again, and if you'd like, simply click on the title of this post for more on last night's win in Houston. Jon Lester goes today, and he's been so good in his last half dozen starts. We go for four in a row. As always, BE WELL. Have a wonderful Saturday and a great weekend. Any comments will be responded to quickly. I love 'em! I love you, too.

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