Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Johnny Paycheck

Game 37 - Red Sox

Red Sox 7, Tigers 1
Record: 26-11

Animal Planet is pleased to present Employment Crossroads Week for Team MLC, which has the blogging a bit slower than usual. Preoccupation is not exactly a tonic for writer's block. That said, we don't want to disappoint you two folks, so we persevere, if a bit erratically from this side of the aisle.

Awesome outing from Daisuke Matsuzaka last night against the Tigers, tossing the Sox' first complete game of the season and the first of his career. New reports suggest that Matsu's been revisiting some of the between-starts rituals he used in Japan, including notably a 100+ pitch bullpen session on Saturday. There was some concern that he'd actually been too fresh for some of his earlier starts. Whatever the reason, he's seemed far more comfortable over his past 2 outings, allowing 9 hits and 2 runs over 16 innings against the Jays and the Tigers.

The offense repeated the now-familiar formula for success, waiting out Tigers starter Nate Robertson to the tune of 115 pitches over 5 innings before pummeling the Detroit pen for 4 runs in the 8th. Jonathan Papelbon was up in the pen with a 2-run lead, but sat down once the score got out of hand to open the door for Matsuzaka to finish up his 124-pitch CG. Daisuke completed 10+ games last year in Japan, and has some legendary pitch counts in his still-young career, so we'll eschew the hand-wringing here and applaud the decision.

Kevin Youkilis singled in the bottom of the first in tonight's game against the Tigers to extend his hitting streak to 9 games. After that at-bat, he's hitting .485 over that stretch to raise his overall numbers to .328/.428/.463/.891. Might like a little bit higher slugging numbers from a corner infielder, but we'll not quibble over that line from (mostly) the second spot in the order. Youks seems to always have a plan at the plate, and continues to be the poster boy for the uber-patient Sox offensive approach. Maybe Billy Beane was on to something.

As Whit noted this afternoon, things are looking pretty good for the Olde Towne Team through the season's first 36 games - up 8 1/2 games in the division and carrying the league's best record. As I noted back to him, they've been both very lucky and very good - that luck applying both to their health and a few on-field breaks. At the same time, the offense still hasn't completely hit its stride, with guys like Manny, J.D. Drew, and Coco Crisp still well below career norms and no single regular wildly overperforming expectations. All that said, there'll be no chicken-counting from either half of the MLC staff - unless Perdue's hiring.

No comments: