Unless the Red Sox are going to spring a surprise on the Yankees tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka will start instead of Clay Buchholz.
Thursday's day off gave the Red Sox the opportunity to skip Matsuzaka and bring Buchholz back against the Yankees on normal rest.
But instead, rather than offend the sensibilities of a delicate genius like Dice-K, the Sox will send him to the mound tonight.
A few facts and figures on Dice-K:
• He is 1-3 with a 6.91 ERA in his last seven starts. He has allowed at least four earned runs in seven consecutive starts, the longest such streak for a Red Sox pitcher since Dick Newsome had a nine-game streak over the 1942 and '43 seasons. In a single season, you have to go back to 1930 to find a pitcher so consistently inept.
• Matsuzaka faced the Yankees once this season, on May 17, and allowed seven runs in 4.2 innings.
• Matsuzaka is 3-3 with a 6.31 earned run average in eight career starts against the Yankees.
• Matsuzaka has a 1.54 WHIP and a 5.13 ERA in the last two seasons.
To be fair, Buchholz has not pitched well against the Yankees this season (1-1 with a 5.84 ERA in two starts). But Buchholz presents a better opportunity to win, stave off elimination and further torment the Yankees.
Beyond that, Matsuzaka has actually pitched really well against the White Sox (2-1, 1.71 ERA in three starts in his career. So if you're intent on pitching him, pitch him Monday in Chicago. He has a 4.07 ERA and a 1.311 WHIP in 19 starts on 6-plus days of rest.
What's your take? I know, in the end it is not going to matter. But shouldn't the Red Sox give themselves every chance to stay in the mix for as long as possible?