30 June 2010
Daisuke Matsuzaka (5-2, 4.50)
Matt Garza (8-5, 4.10)
Dice-K was vintage Dice-K in his return from the DL last week. He lasted just 5 innings (102 pitches), walked 4 and fanned 6, while allowing 2 runs. The bullpen was forced to come in early and the results were ugly. Some would argue that we blame Matsuzaka for the 9 runs allowed by the pen in that eventual 13-11 win, but when starters don't give you at least 6 innings, it takes a toll and our relievers are feeling it. The Sox got 7 great innings from Lackey last night, but Okajima decided to make things interesting and the Sox ended up using five RPs, despite having an 8-1 lead after seven. Matsuzka needs to step up and give us 6 or 7 good innings tonight, but he's just 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 9 starts against the Rays. The last time he saw the Rays was April 9, 2009 and he coughed up 4 runs on 9 hits (3 HR) and 3 walks through 5 1/3 innings.
Like the Rays, Matt Garza has come back to earth after a tremendous start to the season.He was 4-1 wit ha 2.08 ERA in April, but is 3-1 with a 7.84 ERA in June. He bounced back from a dreadful start against Florida (1.1 IP, 7 ER) with an 8-inning win over the Padres in his last game, so it's tough to guess what he'll look like tonight. What we do know is that Garza owned the Sox coming into this season. Even after allowing 6 runs (3 HR) through 5 1/3 innings in his last game against the Red Sox, Garza is 6-3 with a 3.36 ERA against Boston and owns a 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA at Fenway Park.
The Rays need a pick-me-up in a bad way and Garza has the skills and demeanor to give it to them... hopefully our rag-tag bunch of minor leaguers and utility players can slow him down.
Adrian Beltre is on fire right now, and coincidentally, he has the best numbers against Garza: 7 for 16 (.438) with 2 ding dongs.
For Tampa, look for Evan Longoria to continue to lead his team with an .800 BA vs Dice-K (4-4 , 2B, HR) and a .284/.544/.922 line at Fenway.