Red Sox’ Matsuzaka shuts out the Angels

 

Red Sox nation is definately breathing a little easier these days as their beloved team has won four straight games and trail the front running New York Yankees by only 3.5 games. Besides the winning streak, which has got them back on track after a disasterous start, another huge positive for the Boston Red Sox has been the pitching of their number five starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka. After struggling in spring training and his first couple of starts Matsuzaka, who is now 2-2, has seemed to have found his release point in his last two starts. Coming off a near perfect outing, where he held the Toronto Blue Jays to only one hit in seven innings last week in a 7-1 win, Matsuzaka was nearly as dominant on Friday night in shutting out the L.A. Angeles 5-0. This time the man they call ‘Dice K’ surrendered only one hit in eight innings, while registering nine strikeouts. “He battled a little bit with his command early, but he was able to still make a completion pitch when he was battling, said ” Red Sox catcher, Jason Varitek, who snapped an 0-19 drought with an RBI double. “At other times he was executing pitches beautifully. He had a real good changeup that was able to slow down a lot of bats.” The only hit Matsuzaka surrendered occurred in the second, when infielder, Alberto Callaspo, banged out a single. Contributing for Boston with a homerun was Kevin Youkilis, who after a disasterous start has finally got his average over the .200 mark. Afterwards, the veteran infielder, was full of praise for Matsuzaka, who entered this game with a career ERA of 5.88 against the Angels.  “He was hitting his spots, and it looked like those guys weren’t feeling comfortable at the plate,” said Youkilis who is now hitting .217. “When he goes out there and throws strikes … and throws it where he wants to … and get ahead … that’s what he can do.” This was the eigth straight time that a Red Sox starter has gone at least five innings, while surrendering less than three runs. I think they’re all feeding off each other a little bit,” said manager, Terry Francon, about his starting rotation, which has a 1.01 ERA in those eight starts. “Getting some stability and consistency in the rotation really helps.”

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