ANAHEM, Calif. — You can sit around and try and figure out baseball all day. One way or another it comes back to starting pitching. When the rotation gets on a roll, wins pile up.
Daisuke Matsuzaka took his turn tonight and added to what has been an amazing stretch for the Red Sox as he allowed one hit over eight innings. That one hit, by Albert Callaspo in the second inning, very nearly smacked into his glove, too. As it was, Jed Lowrie nearly made the play at first.
Matsuzaka walked three and struck out nine. Add that to his seven one-hit innings against Toronto last Monday and Josh Beckett is not necessarily the hottest starter on the staff.
“I pitched the same way as I did in the last game,” said Matsuzaka, who termed the two starts the best he has had in five seasons with the Red Sox. “I had the same mentality.”
Matsuzaka said after his start against Toronto that he was motivated by the fear of losing his spot in the rotation. Terry Francona said that wasn’t going to happen. But whatever works.
“If that’s the case I’ll go out and threaten him,” Francona said with a laugh.
Matsuzaka featured an excellent changeup tonight that had the Angels guessing. Of the 15 outs that came on contact, 10 were fly balls and only one was hit particularly hard.
Don't look now but the Red Sox are tied for third place and a game out of second in the East. Being 9-11 is nothing to brag about, but it's a long away from 2-10.
That's what good pitching will do.
“Getting some stability and consistency really help,” Francona said.
The Sox try for the sweep tomorrow. Check back then for lineups and more coverage. Thanks for reading tonight