Daisuke Matsuzaka made his return to the Red Sox rotation last night, and had easily his best start of the season. He pitched into the seventh inning, allowing only three hits and no runs. The Red Sox beat the Angels 4-1 at Fenway Park last night. David Ortiz set the career home run mark for a DH, with the 270th of his career at that spot.
Amalie Benjamin has Matsuzaka getting a big weight off his shoulders with his outing last night. Amy K. Nelson has Dice-K coming out with something to prove. Michael Silverman has Matsuzaka earning a full tank of goodwill with his performance. Ron Chimelis has Dice-K back and in top form for the Red Sox. Daniel Barbarisi has Matsuzaka leaving to a standing ovation – a stark contrast to the boos he left Fenway to the last time he was there. Jeff Goldberg says that Dice-K was worth the wait. Bill Ballou has the performance beyond the Red Sox wildest dreams.
Bob Ryan looks at the performance by Dice-K and credits it to the Red Sox knowing what they’re doing. Sean McAdam recaps the road back to Fenway for Matsuzaka, which was paved with a lot of hard work. Brian MacPherson has more on Dice-K’s hard work the last two months paying off. Joe McDonald has Dice-K providing a boost to the rotation with his return. Jon Couture notes the “culture war” that has gone on between the club and pitcher. Lenny Megliola has Matsuzaka putting together a big performance on a night in which he needed to paste together his shrinking reputation. Bill Burt has Matsuzaka exceeding expectations last night. Mike Fine has Dice-K magic after a shaky first couple batters.
Adam Kilgore points out that the Red Sox winning rally had an unusual look – small ball. McDonald has the Red Sox trying to do the right thing with Tim Wakefield and his sore back, but Joe Haggerty says that a playoff roster spot is likely slipping away from Wakefield. Haggerty also has Ramon Ramirez regaining the magic touch he had earlier in the season. Burt says that everything is in order for the Red Sox.
Benjamin peruses the 2010 schedule, which was released yesterday and has the Red Sox starting and finishing their season at Fenway Park against the Yankees. In the Herald though, Silverman and McAdam report that the Red Sox might flip that opening series for one later in the season.
Benjamin’s notebook has the Sox winning without their two biggest bats, Kevin Youkilis (back) and Victor Martinez (personal issue). Silverman’s notebook has more on the sluggers sitting out last night. Chimelis’ notebook also reports on this situation. The ProJo Red Sox Journal has more on the back spasms suffered by Youkilis. Ballou’s notebook has David Ortiz’s average creeping up.
Monique Walker and Christopher L. Gasper report that Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has a sprained MCL. They have differing reports on how long he’ll be out, however. One source says 6-8 weeks, while another says less than that. Robert Lee says that Mayo’s season is not over, but we don’t know when he’ll be back, either.
It’s Report Card day for the Patriots. On Patriots Daily, Jeremy Gottlieb grades out the team. Ron Borges has the report card in the Herald. Michael Felger has his first report card for Comcast SportsNet. Replacing Felger on the report card at WEEI.com is Steve DeOssie.
Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots/Jets rivalry rising up again this offseason with New York’s hiring of Rex Ryan. Christopher Price has the Jets ready to treat this one like the Super Bowl. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots have issues to deal with beyond the border war with the Jets. Rich Garven says that the Patriots are in trouble without Mayo.
Rapoport has the Patriots crying foul at roughing calls against them. Joseph Gravellese has Troy Brown praising the Patriots receiving depth. At Patriots Daily, Scott Benson gives Ben Watson the game ball for Monday night.
Gasper’s notebook has Bill Belichick choosing not to engage Rex Ryan on his comments about kissing rings. Rapoport’s notebook has more on Mayo’s injury. The ProJo Patriots Journal has the Patriots in no rush to sign a veteran backup QB.