Monday, April 25, 2011

Rolling of the Dice

Before the season got underway, I made a suggestion regarding Daisuke Matsuzaka. I felt that with the limited time left on his contract, the Sox should set him free. I felt they should tell him that he was free to follow whichever routine he’d like between starts. He could stay in the game as long as he wanted, no matter how many pitches he had thrown. Since he was going to be a free agent soon anyway, the Sox shouldn’t worry about an arm injury. It was time to let Daisuke be Daisuke, and see what happened. I can’t help but wonder if that’s not exactly what happened.

A couple starts ago against the Rays, Matsuzaka got lit up. That’s putting it gently. He couldn’t get anyone out, and everyone kept scoring. But, he was doing what the Red Sox (and their fans) always wanted him to do. He stopped nibbling. He threw first-pitch strikes. He pitched to contact. And, it failed miserably. There was even some speculation at the time that it was exactly as he planned. He was showing the Red Sox that their way didn’t work. They should get off his back, and let him nibble and otherwise pitch exactly as he wished. Whether or not that conversation actually took place, you can’t say it hasn’t brought results. Since that debacle at Fenway? Matsuzaka hasn’t been scored upon. He hasn’t been throwing first-pitch strikes all the time. But, he’s been getting outs, pitching scoreless ball, and getting wins. Just what you’d want from a pitcher. Interesting.

Beyond Matsuzaka, what a swing through the rotation this has been, eh? The only runs in the last five games coming on a single two-run homer. Wow. The starters have been pitching well, and pitching deep. It’s even more than anyone could have hoped for. Yes, I know, it’s only been a week. But, it’s been one amazing week.

When you’re trying to turn a season around, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Carl Crawford finally has a home run. Now, when he looks at his stats (in HD) on the scoreboard, they won’t be flashing that zero anymore. The Sox have been winning, and he’s been slowly contributing. That’s a pretty good sign for the future.

It’s been nice to witness the power of the fully operational Red Sox.

Even if it’s just been a week.

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