If Daisuke Matsuzaka could pitch a simulated inning out on Yawkey Way, then come into the ballpark at the start of the real game, his stat lines would look a lot better. He once again struggled at the outset last night, but finished strong. And it's more promising for a starter returning from injury to have difficulty getting warmed up, then to fade away as the game progresses.
Although predictably, he did get that pitch-count up there. And he did allow a homerun in the 6th that gave Miami the lead.
Will Middlebrooks saved the day for Daisuke and the Sox. He had an RBI double in 4th. An RBI single in the 5th. And he tied the game with a 2 run homer in the 8th. He's 6th on the Sox with 31 RBI, but he's also about 30 games behind everyone else. His RBIs are coming at a slightly faster rate than David Ortiz's.
It's still too early to tell with Matsuzaka. He's not a complete mess, which is a good sign. And he's able to throw 100 pitches. As always, the problem is that he reaches 100 pitches very early. How do you gauge the recovery of a guy who was difficult to gauge even when healthy?
He pitched good enough for the Sox to have a chance, though. And thanks to Middlebrooks, the Sox took advantage of the opportunity.
Speaking of opportunities, I wrote a post a few days ago about the Sox playing 16 straight games against teams hovering around .500, and how much of an opportunity it was for them to win before the schedule toughened. So far, so good. 3-0 against the floundering Marlins.
The Sox host the Braves next. Jon Lester faces Jair Jurrjens. This guy is destined to wind up with the Sox one day so people can mispronounce his name. He's 0-2 in 4 starts with a 9.37 ERA. He's gone 5 innings in only 1 of those starts. No excuse to not knock this Netherlands Antilles kid around.