Saltalamacchia: Matsuzaka 'battled'


Saltalamacchia: Matsuzaka 'battled'

BOSTON Before the series finale against the Marlins, manager Bobby Valentine was asked what he would like to see from Daisuke Matsuzaka in his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery.Id like him to participate in a winning performance, Valentine said. That would be a good thing. Hes feeling better. Id like him to get through that first inning clean, also. Both of those things would be nice to see.Valentine got neither from Matsuzaka. Despite that, the Red Sox did manage a 6-5 win and a three-game sweep of the Marlins.In a first inning that took 30 minutes, Matsuzaka faced seven batters, with three scoring, as he allowed three hits and a walk, with three stolen bases and a strikeout. He threw 33 pitches, 19 for strikes, a less-than-ideal 58 percent strike rate.Matsuzaka gave up a lead-off single to Jose Reyes before getting Hanley Ramirez to ground out to Mike Aviles at shortstop. He then walked Giancarlo Stanton, who stole second with Logan Morrison batting. Matsuzaka struck out Morrison, looking at 93-mph fastball, but with two outs, he allowed a two-run single to Greg Dobbs, scoring Reyes and Stanton. Dobbs stole second then scored on Omar Infantes single to center. With Scott Cousins batting, Dobbs stole second. Matsuzaka got Cousins to fly out to Ryan Kalish to end the inning.In typically confounding Matsuzaka fashion, the right-hander rebounded. Including Cousins as the last out of the first inning, Matsuzaka retired 14 batters in a row, with three strikeouts in that span, getting him into the sixth inning with one out.Meanwhile, Sox batters got to Marlins starter Carlos Zambrano for two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to tie the game.Matsuzaka got through five innings on 90 pitches, 63 of which were strikes. Matsuzakas season high was 93 pitches in six innings in his last outing, June 15 in Chicago. But he returned for the sixth inning, with the score tied, 3-3, and with right-handed hitters Ramirez and Stanton due up. Morrison, a lefty, would be next. So Sox lefty Andrew Miller was warming up to start the inning.Matsuzaka got Ramirez to ground out to Will Middlebrooks to open the sixth. But with apologies to Dustin Pedroia here Stanton blistered a laser beam into the first stairwell in the left field Monster seats.Matsuzakas outing was done.There were a couple of things said after the first inning and he was also very, very hot, Valentine said after the game, which had a 92 degree temperature at first pitch.We wanted to bring a towel rather than a messenger. He didn't adjust well to all that sweating. After that he was near perfect and hung one ball to Stanton, and increased his velocity, threw more strikes, worked quicker, did everything that we wanted him to do.Matsuzaka, who is still in search of his 50th career win, saw his ERA go from 5.73 to 6.06 with the outing. Although he left with the Sox trailing by a run, the Sox offense pulled out the late-innings win.Honestly, I think Dice did awesome, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He battled. He got to the second, third and got two big outs for us. And then Dobbs, hes a professional hitter, been doing it for years. We tried to go cutter in off the plate a little bit and got too much of the plate and he was able to do something with it. But he did a great job with Logan whos been, we cant miss his barrel this whole series. That was a big out for us. Almost got out of it. After that Dice just went back to what he does best. Just mixing his pitches, making them a little off balance and making good pitches.For Stanton, it was his 15th home run of the season, first since June 7 against the Braves.Matsuzaka was a little shaky in the first inning, Stanton said. Besides that, he did a great job. He was working in and out and using all his pitches. He had our timing a little off.

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

BOSTON -- I'm not sure what the Red Sox would have to give up for Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale.

For that matter, I can't say definitively that the two clubs have actually discussed a trade for Chris Sale, though it's logical to assume they have, even in a cursory way.

The White Sox, mired toward the bottom of the A.L. Central and with just one playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons, are said to be "open'' to listening for offers on Sale. That's both their right and their duty.

As for the Red Sox, given that they're a big-market club with plenty of resources and an expectation from a loyal fan base to compete for a championship every season, they're similarly smart to inquire.

Who knows? Maybe the White Sox have had their fill of Sale and ,in a fit of pique, might be desperate enough to take less than full value to rid themselves of a pitcher who's developed into quite the clubhouse lawyer of late.

But my guess is that the White Sox are demanding a lot for Sale. That makes sense, since, beyond his raging sense of entitlement, Sale remains one of the handful of best starters in the game and is under club control for another three seasons after this one.

Whatever the asking price is, however, it's almost certainly too much.

Sure, the addition of Sale might, on paper, make the Red Sox the favorites to win the American League pennant.

Again, on paper. Ask the New York Mets, who owned the best starting rotation in the game when the season began and now sit, uncomfortably, in third place in their own division.

So much for the best-laid plans.

But the focus here is on the cost, however unknown, to obtain Sale.

If obtaining Drew Pomeranz cost the Red Sox Anderson Espinoza, how much more would Sale cost?

Let's assume that the Red Sox consider Yoan Moncada essentially untouchable. That would mean Boston would have to essentially clean out the rest of its prospect inventory. Think: a package like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and Michael Kopech, and perhaps more.

Or maybe the White Sox want more established young talent, and have their eyes on Mookie Betts and more.

Argue, if you wish, that pitching is more important than offense, but giving up a leadoff man who's shown indications he could become a five-tool superstar? No, thanks.

There's also the matter of need. Unlike at the beginning of the season, the Red Sox can now lay claim to having a rotation in which every one of the five starters gives them a solid chance to win.

Yes, David Price has underperformed in a big way. But that's likely the result of adjusting to Boston and new surroundings. What are the odds that, at 30, Price has almost overnight permanently devolved into a mediocre starter after finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting just last fall?

Steven Wright has emerged as a consistent starter who's under control for the forseeable future. Rick Porcello, though not flashy, is pitching like the Red Sox envisioned he would when they dealt for him a season-and-a-half ago. Eduardo Rodriguez has overcome injury and delivery issues to fufull the promise he showed as a rookie. And Pomeranz could be an afforable middle-of-the-rotation for years to come.

Is Sale better than each one of them right now? Of course, Price included.

But is the Red Sox rotation so troubled that it must upgrade now or else? No. Is their an obvious weak link begging to be immediately replaced? No.

And this is not Chris Sale, free agent. This is Chris Sale, incredibly expensive trade piece.

What if they stripmined their minor-league system for Sale, and didn't win? Then what? What if they tore up their core of foundational players for Sale, only to find him incapable of surviving Boston?

As I confessed earlier, I'm don't know what the White Sox would want for Sale.

What I do know is that it would, by definition, almost certainly be too much.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:


"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.



* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.


1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.