Most people in New England were probably watching the Celtics make Lebron James look like some below-average corporate league player in Cleveland last night and decided to skip watching Matsuzaka's start at Fenway. Or they were watching Lost.
It's too bad because the man-who-wiggles-his-bum-on-the-mound had a very live fastball last night with late movement and swing and miss action.
Matsuzaka struck out 9 Blue Jay batters and gave up 1 run on 3 hits over 7 innings with ZERO walks. You heard it correct. Not a one. He threw 106 total pitches, 71 for strikes. Additionally, he had 5 1-2-3 innings out of the 7, so an excellent and efficient outing against a team that has been hitting.
He did not nibble. He attacked the strike zone much like he did in the first few years in Boston. It is a very good sign.
Will it last? Who the hell knows with this guy, but seeing that many fastballs being thrown and watching batters miss tells me he found something in his delivery to key on. If he can keep batters off base, then he doesn't need to pitch out of the stretch--something I believe gets him out of his rhythm at least in the last few seasons.
On the offensive front, Jason Varitek caught Dice and hit a monster shot in to the upper deck of the parking lot across Lansdowne Street for a 2 run homer. Sox were able to muster 6 runs against Dana Eveland for an excellently pitched game. Ramirez and Okajima were given the ball in the last two innings, so Bard and Papelbon were able to keep their arms fresh.
Today is a day game at Fenway with Wakefield on the mound. Light rain is expected, so hopefully they get it off.
Note: Josh Beckett was checked out yesterday and the brass says he's got nothing more than back spasms. My prediction on the DL is obviously premature, but I will still not be surprised if everyone else is pitching well that they may let him rest the back and actually go on the DL for a week. When will he start next? They aren't saying right now.
"Four people are sitting around a table, talking about baseball, five minutes of it, very dull. Suddenly a bomb goes off. Blows people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock." -Alfred Hitchcock