Red Sox Clinch Tie For Wild Card Spot...Boston 3 Toronto 0
Daisuke Matsuzaka was at his best Sunday afternoon at the Roger's Centre and his team defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 3-0, reducing their magic number to one. And they gained a game on the Rays because Tampa lost to Minnesota. Anything is possible in this last week of the regular season. One win or one Yankee loss (and there'll be more that that) and the Sox are officially in the playoffs. It could have happened last night at the Yankee Stadium finale but the Baltimore Orioles meekly said goodbye to the pinstriped ones with a loss. But so what? We'll do this ourselves! Josh Beckett goes tonight, and if the team can finally get him some runs to work with, there will be a clubhouse celebration at Fenway tonight, a celebration in the HOME clubhouse.
Big Papi David Ortiz' two run tater was all Boston needed yesterday as Daiskue had every one of his pitches working with pinpoint control. Jacoby Ellsbury adjusted his batting stance a tad and came up with 3 base hits, but this was Matsuzaka's show and his best outing of the year. He gave up only 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6. He had the Jays fishing for the baseball, and mostly their hooks came up empty. Here's what Tito Francona and his catcher had to say after his 7 wonderous frames...
"I thought all his pitches had movement through the zone," Francona said. "He threw a fastball in a big situation by Rolen with two strikes, got it up past him. His slider, cutter, changeup . . . I think their hitters had to respect all his pitches, because he was throwing them all around the plate. That gives him a lot of different looks.
Said Varitek, "He was able to move the ball in and out, use the breaking ball to both sides, set it up with his heater. He did an awesome job today. It's more so just his location of his pitches, than all of them working. I think that's key more than anything."
'Tek is exactly right. If Daisuke has his control, just like yesterday, all his pitches do NOT have to work. But they sure did yesterday. He was flat-out brilliant. Coming up starting tonight is a four game Fenway series with the Cleveland Indians. Here are the pitching matchups...we'll see our entire rotation except for yesterday's starter...
Zach Jackson (0-3, 6.48 ERA) vs. Beckett (12-9, 3.96) tonight
Cliff Lee (22-2, 2.41) vs. Tim Wakefield (9-11, 4.18) Tuesday
Fausto Carmona (8-7, 5.19) vs. Paul Byrd (11-12, 4.53) Wednesday
Jeremy Sowers (4-8, 5.48) vs. Lester (15-6, 3.26) Thursday
***All games begin at 7:05pm EDT***
Tampa Bay has the day off today before starting a series with the hapless Orioles. And the Yankees begin their last 6 games of the regular season tomorrow against the Jays. Burnett or Halladay will stop them, but I'm not worried because all we have to do is win ONE game. GO SOX. Click on the title of this post for more on yesterday's resounding victory, and as always, BE WELL.