Matsuzaka's triumphant return to Boston was foiled by the anemic bats of the Red Sox, who lost 4-2 this afternoon to the Nationals.
Dice-K looked darn good in his first major league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery, but was on a bit of a short leash, getting pulled after 5. Granted, seeing him getting yanked in the 5th isn't anything new. But watching Dice-K getting yanked in the 5th after only 80 pitches? Quite an accomplishment. Even more impressive, he tallied 8 K's and only walked a single batter and gave up just 5 hits. On the negative side, all 4 of the Nationals runs were attributed to Matsuzaka. But if the low walk total, low-ish pitch count and high strikeouts are any indication of how Dice is going to pitch the rest of the way, we may just have a chance.
This was also the second consecutive game where Sox batters struggled against a good Washington starter. Gio Gonzalez held Boston to two runs and three hits over 6 1/3 innings with their bullpen only allowing two more hits the rest of the way.
The Red Sox only runs came in the 7th, on a pinch hit 2-run single by Saltalamacchia. Other than that, Ortiz and Sweeney doubled, and Pedroia and Aviles singled. That was your Sox offense for the afternoon. On the flip side, the Sox bullpen had another strong outing. Morales and Aceves tag-teamed the final 4 frames (3 for Morales, 1 for Alfredo), neither allowing a hit.
At some point, the Sox will put runs on the board.