Monday, March 21, 2011

Matsuzaka Improving Again But The 'Pen Puts The Game Out Of Reach For Boston

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox by a lopsided score of 10-3 Sunday in Florida. Daisuke Matsuzaka tried to build on his strong previous outing and that's exactly what he did...for 6 2/3 innings. He took a two hit shutout into that sixth inning, earned the first two outs and when he walked the third batter, Albert Pujois, Boston manager Terry Francona pulled him for what seemed to be an easy assignment for reliever Andrew Miller. GET ONE OUT. It should have been easy but it was anything but. Both Miller and Scott Atchison proved to be exactly what the Cards needed. After the half inning ended, the Cards had scored 10 (!!) runs. In ONE INNING! I'm telling you this right now. Other than the very back end of the Boston bullpen (Paps, Bard), nothing is set in stone. It's more like it's set in sand, sand ready to shift at any moment and bury the team, suffocating it cruelly. I know it's early but it's not THAT early any more. Oh, the big thing was that Matsuzaka looked like he's ALMOST there. Here's the Sox manager, Tito Francona...

“He threw strikes and worked ahead in the count. When he’s doing that, his tempo’s better. He’s getting the ball and throwing it. There’s not a lot of dead time.’’

It's Daisuke's famous "dead time," an endless and futile series of attempts to nibble on the outer boundaries of home plate and throw an unhittable strike that REALLY bothers me. In frustration once in a while, I change the station, be it the television or the radio. But yesterday, in 6 2/3 innings, he walked two, struck out four, and threw 50 of his 79 pitches for strikes. Matsuzaka has given up two earned runs on five hits in his last 10 2/3 innings. I say he's getting there. Daiske had this quick comment...

“I’m pretty much ready for the season."

We all hope so, Mr. Matsuzaka. Now Tito can concentrate on learning all the quirks and oddities, twists and turns about his newly assembled bullpen. A problem with the 'pen is a problem for the entire team and can doom them quickly. I hope they shape up. Forget about trading Papelbon, not for a long while.

OK, it's time to wrap this up. Have a great Monday and a great week and please don't forget to click on this post's title for more on yesterday's loss. As always, BE WELL. Don't forget. There's a great pitching matchup planned for today's 1:05pm game between Boston and Philadelphia. 2 aces....Jon Lester and Roy "Doc" Halladay.

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