Complete game for Matsuzaka: 9-6-1-0-5, 124 pitches (and 16 groundball outs). Pitches by inning: 17-10-18 16-12-17 10-9-15. (box)
It's the first nine-inning complete game by a Red Sox rookie since Tim VanEgmond beat the Brewers 7-2 at Fenway on July 29, 1994 (the Globe's article).
The one blemish was Granderson's solo home run with two outs in the third. The Red Sox came right back and tied the game in the bottom half. With two outs, Youkilis doubled and Ortiz singled.
Varitek's double and Crisp's single (again after two were out) made it 2-1 in the fourth -- and Ortiz's double and Manny's single made (with one out) it 3-1 in the fifth. Lugo's bases-loaded triple in the seventh blew the game open.
Everyone in the lineup but Manny (1-for-5, RBI) and Drew (0-for-4, 3K) had two hits. ... Toronto beat Baltimore, so the Sox lead the idle MFY by 8.5.
1: 1B K P6 KThere was also an E9 on that first-inning single, the 163 grounder was tipped by Dice's glove to Lugo, and the final out was a force play. Hits are in bold. No walks.
2: F8 163 53
3: P6 K HR F8
4: F7 63 1B 1B 31
5: 43 53 31
6: 53 53 2B K
7: 43 43 63
8: 63 3U 63
9: 1B K F8 54
It's surprising (and fascinating) that Dice was allowed to go back out after the eight-batter 8th inning, with a 7-1 lead and already at 109 pitches. Okajima and Papelbon had warmed up during the 8th, but the NESN shots made it seem like it was half-heartedly at best.
From the Globe of May 10, after Dice's Toronto start:
He went back to a more vigorous running program and he even threw 109 pitches in a bullpen session. Sounds like a lot, but it was closer to his routine in Japan.At 3:50 this afternoon, the Globe's Nick Cafardo blogged:
The Sox have tried to put him on their program, which calls for less throwing, but it's hard to teach a pitcher with so much success that he has to throw less between outings. That's how he became the pitcher he is.
Dice-K is still running in the outfield at Fenway. He's been out there for a good 45 minutes. This guy has a routine I've never seen from any pitcher I've ever covered.Some SoShers are thinking that letting him throw the CG was a way to further build his confidence. That seems logical. I'm really enjoying reading about his routines in Japan, the compromises he and the Red Sox are making with each other -- which clearly are being re-examined after every start -- and how his season is evolving.
And thankfully, there is little chance of Tito and John Farrell running him out there for a string of 125-pitch outings. But one every eight starts? Why not?
Nate Robertson (3.43, 125 ERA+) / Daisuke Matsuzaka (4.80, 91 ERA+)
In his Fenway debut, Matsuzaka allowed three earned runs in seven innings (losing to Felix Hernandez). Since then, he has given up 13 runs in 12 Fenway innings (home ERA: 7.58).
In his last start, he held the Blue Jays hitless when pitching out of the stretch (0-for-9, with 2 walks). After that outing, he said:
I made a few technical adjustments heading into the game today. It's too early to tell if that made all of the difference, but I do hope, with small, incremental changes, this will lead to gradual improvement over time. ... The coaches and I talked about some of the difficulties I had with rhythm and timing. In my bullpen session and long toss this past week, I definitely worked on those two elements.Jason Varitek: "I don't know if it was his work, but he was comfortable on the mound and with his delivery. It was tenfold better than his last one, but I still think he can be a lot better."
The Tigers come in the four-game series with a 23-13, 1.5 GA of Cleveland in the Central. They have scored 198 runs, 2nd best in MLB, tied with the Red Sox behind the Yankees, who have scored 200. (Boston has allowed 51 fewer runs than Detroit.)
Magglio Ordonez (.344/.437/.648), Carlos Guillen (.323/.414/.524) and Curtis Granderson (.269/.333/.567) are the team's top hitters. The Tigers lead the AL with a .449 slugging percentage; Boston is #2 (.443).
Robertson and Justin Verlander (who pitches tomorrow) have been their best starters. Last Wednesday Robertson retired nine of the first 10 Mariners, but then fell apart, eventually leaving the game in the fifth inning, having allowed six runs on 10 hits.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn't care much for the Matsuzaka hype:
I don't give a [expletive] about him. I'm not getting into all that. I could give a [expletive] less. It's another pitcher. We're playing Boston. Obviously, he's an outstanding pitcher. He's a major league pitcher. And that's who we're facing.