Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled again last night, walked the first three hitters he faced and allowed five runs in the first inning. He seems to "nibble" to much, trying to hit corners instead of challenging hitters more often. His defense also betrayed him in that inning, namely Julio Lugo, who booted two balls in that horrific inning.
But the Sox got back in the game with five runs in the second off Horacio Ramirez. Dice-K went five innings, allowed seven earned runs. He settled down after the terrible first, but gave up two more in the fifth after Manny Ramirez put the Red Sox ahead with a two-run blast to left in the fourth. Manny hit another blast over the bullpen in right in the eighth to put the Red Sox ahead to stay. (He also stayed in the batter's box a little too long watching it sail out. I'm on record as not liking when ANY player does that, including Manny. He continues to be one of the worst offenders in doing that. I feel that shows up pitchers, and is rather unprofessional.)
The bullpen picked up Dice-K, pitching four scoreless innings, with an special nod to Terry Francona for bringing in J.C. Romero to pitch the ninth instead of Jonathan Papelbon. He wanted to give his star closer another night off after the 35-pitch blown save on Tuesday. Romero had excellent numbers against both Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson, and got a double play and ground out from him to end the game, and secure the 8-7 roller-coaster ride victory.
The Red Sox also put Mike Timlin on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, and recalled Devern Hansack from Pawtucket. He pitched the five inning no-hitter last year on the final day of the season in 2006 against Baltimore and was impressive in spring training.
Matsuzaka is now 3-2 with a 5.45 ERA. It's still very early in his Red Sox career, and way too early to be drawing any conclusions about him. But it's good to see the Red Sox scoring runs for him. But it would also be nice to see him hold down the opposition for a change, and cut down on the free passes that always seem to get him in trouble.