Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who Goes? The Choice is Obvious Now

So, remember when the consensus was that the Red Sox needed to "manufacture" an injury for David Ortiz to get him put on the DL for a while?

I think they really need to that for Daisuke Matsuzaka right now.

The only good part about last night was that I didn't witness the early-inning carnage.

As I was watching the Brooklyn Cyclones opening night win over the Staten Island Yankees at KeySpan Park, I was checking my cell phone for updates and they were awful from the start. Matsuzaka gave up a home run on the first pitch to Nate McLouth, then the next four batters all reached, with the next run scoring on a bases loaded walk. (Remember last season when he was totally untouchable with the bases loaded? These days I'm having trouble remembering that, too.)

He settled down the next three innings, but in the fifth he allowed back-to-back doubles and Terry Francona pulled the plug. There was a smattering of boos as Dice-K departed. Four innings, six earned runs, and the Atlanta Braves went on to an easy 8-2 win. (Would have been nice had the Red Sox offense had shown up. Just two hits last night, including a Jason Bay HR. They now have just 3 hits in the last 14 innings.) Matsuzaka has yet to pitch six complete innings this season, and his ERA now stands at 8.23. He is getting pummeled at the plate. His BA against is something like .375, as opposed to .210 last season. What the hell is wrong with this guy? He seems to have no clue.

In the words of Dice-K (and his interpreter): "If I keep going like this, I have no right to be part of this rotation."

Damn straight.

With John Smoltz waiting in the wings and Clay Buchholz right behind him, it seems obvious that Matsuzaka is pitching himself out of the rotation. The Red Sox wisely will wait until the off-day on Monday to discuss his situation. (I honestly don't think this six-man rotation idea will fly, as starters need consistent work.)

How about the 15-day DL with a hangnail, or an injured ego?

Tonight is the matchup of 2004 Postseason Hero vs. 2007 Postseason Hero. The return of Derek Lowe, who will be back at Fenway Park for the first time since the April 11, 2005 championship flag raising/rings ceremony, and he takes on Josh Beckett. D-Lowe will get the ovation he deserves when he takes the mound tonight, and then I hope the night goes downhill for him from there.

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