Saturday, October 11, 2008
Daisuke Matsuzaka proved all his critics wrong last night. He's been called a "5 inning starter" and his playoff record has come under some heat. He also justified Francona's decision to start him in Game 1.
Daisuke went 7+ innings, allowing 4 hits. All 4 hits came in the 7th and 8th. He matched his season high in strikeouts with 9. He had to be pulled after allowing a few hits in the 8th, but he went deep enough to give the Sox bullpen a legit chance of holding a lead. Matsuzaka wins the Man of the Game for ALCS Game 1.
The Sox offense wasn't overly impressive, but was able to capitalize on some of the opportunities they were presented, unlike Tampa Bay. Kotsay had a fortunate double that set up a Lowrie sac-fly in the 5th. Youkilis hit a double off Carl Crawford's glove in the 8th and knocked in an insurance run.
Ortiz (0 for 3) needs to start hitting, and Ellsbury needs to be more consistent (0 for 5), for this lineup to function properly.
Jonathan Papelbon's perfect 9th added to his scoreless postseason inning streak. He's pitched 20.2 playoff innings without allowing a run. That is a new record, breaking Phil Neikro's streak of 20.
Winning Game 1 on the road is huge. To win this series, the Sox had to win at least one road game, and now they've already done that. They have Beckett on Saturday then Lester on Monday. The series is nowhere near over, but this is a tremendous start.
Beckett takes the mound tonight against Scott Kazmir. Both Aces had "down" seasons, each only winning 12 games. Dustin Pedroia is 14 for 25 (.560) off Kazmir with two doubles, a triple, and a homer. But the rest of the Sox haven't hit him very well in the past.
Kazmir was 0-2 against the Sox in 4 starts this season, with a 9.00 ERA in 18 innings pitched. So the Sox can hit this guy.
Beckett was 2-1 against Tampa this year, going 35 innings in 5 starts with a 2.06 ERA.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
AP Photo/Doug Persinger, Pool