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“I didn’t like the four runs and I didn’t like the four balls to [Bryce] Harper,” Valentine said, referencing a leadoff walk that began a three-run rally in the fourth inning. “Other than that, I liked what I saw.”
Realistically, Matsuzaka has taught us to never make bold predictions. He can follow up stretches of dominance with complete wildness, often within the same game. He can look like a guy capable of winning 18 games with a sub-3.00 ERA, as he did in 2008, or he can appear more in line with the man who went 16-15 with an ERA of 5.03 from 2009 to '11.
For now, the Red Sox would be content with his being somewhere in between, especially when one considers the messiness of the No. 5 spot that existed when Daniel Bard was in that role. Bard now is in Triple-A trying to rediscover himself.
ESPNBoston | Dice-K's return something to build off
Another genius quote from Bobby: Other than the runs and walks, Daisuke looked sharp. Other than when Miami scored last night, the Celtics played great defense, too.
In this case, though, he's actually kind of right. The 4th inning was bad, but other than that Daisuke really kept Washington at bay. The offense didn't contribute at all, and there's nothing he can do about that. While he did give up four runs over just five innings, he looked much better than what we saw last year before the injury. It took 80 pitches to go five innings, which is certainly better than we've seen from him. Using that pace, you can see him going seven regularly. He threw eight strikeouts and seemed to command all his pitches. There was much less power nibbling.
Of course, he's not going to be a Cy Young contender. What he can be is a solid starter, and that's what we need.
Not everybody agrees with me. In his Sunday baseball notes column (which appears to be behind a paywall), Nick Cafardo passes along a suggestion that the Red Sox put together some sort of package for Matt Garza, the thinking being that the Cubs will sell him off for cheap, controllable parts. Garza would provide the high-end pitching the Sox crave. But it's also entirely possible that they don't need something that drastic. If Daisuke pans out -- a big if -- and Lester returns to form -- more realistic -- the Sox have a legitimate regular season rotation. Should we get back into the playoff hunt, it pares down nicely to Beckett-Lester-whoever's hottest at the time in October. I'd be comfortable with that.
On page 2, Carl Crawford continues his work on the comeback trail.
As Crawford takes the next step in what he hopes will be a return to the Red Sox [team stats] next month, the left fielder has been receiving instruction from Randy Niemann to refine his throwing motion. Niemann, who has a long relationship with manager Bobby Valentine from their years with the New York Mets, is in his first season as the Red Sox’ assistant pitching coach.
Crawford opened the season on the disabled list after having offseason surgery on his left wrist. But although his wrist healed, he sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow while trying to throw in April. After getting a plasma-rich platelet injection, Crawford was shut down for a month before resuming a throwing program this week.
“It is a difference,” Crawford said yesterday after throwing from 50 feet in the outfield. “At this point, my arm has had time to rest. There isn’t a sharp pain as there was before. It’s normal right now.”
Herald | Coach pitches in with Craw
I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting pretty tired of waiting for our outfielders to get healthy.
When Crawford hurt himself in January, the talk was he "might not be ready" for the season opener. As spring training advanced, it sounded like he would miss a month. Then of course he had his setback, and now we're two months in and he doesn't look very close to returning.
Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury was hurt in mid-April, and was supposed to be out four to six weeks. Here we are eight weeks later, and Ells seems even further away.
I'm not saying it's their fault, or the team doctors'. Maybe it's neither, maybe it's both -- who knows. All I know is I'm tired of watching Scott Podsednik. Hopefully Crawford's work with the pitching coach will get him throwing right and we can get him back in this lineup. I still expect a big contribution from Carl.
ESPNBoston | Nats double up Red Sox, spoil Matsuzaka's season debut | Pedroia: Ankle is OK, hits will come | Red Sox cut Marlon Byrd | Herald | Pedroia, Sox in slump | Morales just does his job | Bard's tale on of minor successes | Optimistic yet? No Dice | Globe | They need Dice-K, and more | Sox are powerless to hit back | Cody Ross takes his cuts | CSNNE | Pedroia still searching for timing | Sox stretching out Morales | Many positives, but Dice-K regrets walk to Harper | Photo credit