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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dice-K Stinks Up Fenway; Red Sox Lose First Game vs. Rays

                                                               Sports Illustrated

After a far-from-spectacular but solid outing in his first start of the year, Daisuke Matsuzaka just came with absolutely no stuff on Monday night. In their first game against the Rays, who came into today with a 1-8 record and the worst offense in baseball, the Red Sox were done pretty much from the start. Johnny Damon came up to the plate to a flurry of boos as the second batter of the first inning. He responded to those boos by putting one in the right field bleachers, giving the Rays an early 1-0 advantage. Dice-K looked good the rest of the inning and was able to get the next to guys out. In the top of the 2nd, it all began to fall apart. Matsuzaka just could not find any command on any of his pitches. The inning started with a double from Ben Zobrist, follwed by a walk to BJ Upton and a single Felipe Lopez to load the bases. He followed this brilliant start by allowing a 2-run double, a 2-run single, and finally a 2-run homer to Durham, New Hampshire Sam Fuld. Just for good measure, Damon smacked a single to make it seven straight base runners to start the 2nd. The Rays then went down in their next three and the inning ended with Boston all of a sudden down 7-0. After the Sox went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, Francona inexplicably let Matsuzaka back on the mound, where he allowed his first two batters on base. He was then taken out in favor of Wakefield, who was able to get out of the inning unscathed. From there, the game was basically over.  After Wakefield allowed 5 runs in 3.1 innings, Aceves then was able to come in and pitch 2.2 innings. Dan Wheeler took over in the 9th, and gave up four runs. It was just a poor game for the Red Sox pitching staff.

News and Notes

  • If you were unable to watch tonight's game for whatever reason, consider yourself very lucky. As many bad starts that Daisuke in his time in Boston, this may have been the worst I have seen. In that second inning and the beginning of the third, he could not hit any location. He was leaving batting practice fastballs right over the plate to everybody. I will write a full length blog on my opinion of Dice-K tomorrow morning, but here's a spoiler: Even though my predictions weren't great, I don't see him approaching the numbers I predicted for him in Boston.

  • Let's take a look at some positives, although sadly it isn't anything positive about the Red Sox. Sam Fuld had 30 friends and family members at Fenway today to watch him play a spectacular game. Fuld, who hit in the leadoff slot, went 4-6 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. On top of that, he made a great diving catch to rob Pedroia of at least a single when this game was still manageable for Boston. The son of the College of Liberal Arts President at UNH will never forget his Fenway debut.

  • There was one very strange oddity in today's game. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Adrian Gonzalez hit a triple knocking in the first run for the Red Sox. This was his first triple since the 2009 season. Then, in the following inning, David Ortiz hit a triple of his own. These were the two first hits of the game for Boston. The big guys were huffing and puffing, as Adrian Gonzalez is arguably the slowest guy in baseball now that Bengie Molina is retired and David Ortiz is clearly not finishing any marathons anytime soon. The best part of this was the "blog" my go-to baseball stats website, baseballreference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/10671 

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