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Dice K Shows Us Why They Signed Him in the First Place

Posted By "Baseball Brenda" Sepanek On May 12 2010 @ 3:40 pm In Boston Red Sox | 3 Comments

I was at the game last night and Daisuke Matsuzaka looked amazing. I have never seen him pitch so well. He avoided his typical “bad inning” that has plagued him most of his MLB career. This was the Dice K fans have been waiting for. He attacked the strike zone and was aggressive with his fastball. This was clearly one of his best performances in a Red Sox uniform. He pitched 7 innings, gave up 3 hits and 1 earned run. He had a season high, 9 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. It was only the second time he has not walked a batter in 33 starts. Dice K is known for issuing multiple walks a game so that alone was a big accomplishment. He only allowed three batters to reach base which is his second-lowest total in his 76 game career.

If you compare Dice K’s first two starts of the season with last night, there is a drastic difference.

First Two Starts: He was 1-1. Pitched 10 innings. His ERA was 9.90. He walked 6 and struck out 7.

Last night: He won. Pitched 7 innings. His ERA was 1.29. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out 9.

The Sox beat the Blue Jays for the 5th straight time, 6-1. They two games above .500 for the first time this season. They have won 7 of their last 9 and 14 of their last 21. They are 7-2 in this home stand. If they win today, it will be the first time they have won 8 games in a 10 game home stand since 2005.

The Sox got off to an early lead in the first, when Marco Scutaro led off with a walk and advanced to third on a ground-rule double by Dustin Pedroia. Scutaro scored on a groundout by J.D. Drew and Kevin Youkilis hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Pedroia. In the second inning, Jason Varitek hit his sixth homer of the year to make it 3-0.

The fourth inning the Sox capitalized on two defensive blunders. Varitek hit a single under the legs of Jose Baustista as the top half of Varitek’s broken bat went flying towards him. Bill Hall then hit a high fly ball to short center that should have been caught. Instead, left fielder Fred Lewis, center fielder Vernon Wells, and shortstop Alex Gonzalez all let it drop in front of them. Varitek ended up on second on a poor throw from Wells. Next batter, Darnell McDonald doubled to left, scoring Varitek to make it 4-0.

Dice K only gave up one hit through five innings of work and stumbled a bit in the sixth giving up his only run of the game, making it 6-1. Red Sox nation has wondered all along, is Dice K worth the money the Red Sox paid for him. Last night, he showed us his worth.

Jason Varitek has had an amazing start to his new role as backup catcher. He is batting .342 with 6 home runs, 10 RBIs in only 14 games this season. Last night he was 2-3 with a home run and scored twice. He has homered in 2 of his last 4 games. I personally attribute his success to not having as much pressure put on him “on” and “off” the field. He had way too many distractions off the field last year. He was going through a divorce AND was moonlighting with NESN reporter Heidi Watney. My guess is, all of that is past him and clearly it shows with his break out performance thus far. Keep it up Tek, between you and Papi there are many fans within Red Sox Nation that don’t want to give up on you.

Other Notable “Hot” Ones: J.D. Drew has brought his .181 average up to .286. He is 19 for 40 over his last 11 games. He has scored 14 runs, 10 RBIs, has 6 walks and his OPS is 1.32 (on base + slugging percentage). Victor Martinez has 9 RBIs over his last 5 games.

The Red Sox game today against Toronto is currently in progress. Toronto is winning  3-0 in the bottom of the 8th. Darnell McDonald just started the inning off ripping a broken bat pinch-hit single at Jose Bautista. Poor Bautista, it is the second time this has happened in 2 games. Let’s see if the Red Sox can rally to steal this game and sweep the series.

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