Another mixed bag for Dice-K

794286.jpg

Another mixed bag for Dice-K

CHICAGO -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's second start was a lot like his first -- not particularly bad, but not good enough to win, either.

Matsuzaka went six innings Friday at Wrigley Field and gave up three runs -- two in the first inning -- on four hits. Since the Red Sox were shut out by Ryan Dempster, that outing wasn't nearly good enough.

One aspect of Matsuzaka's game actually regressed on Friday: his command. After walking one in his first start against Washington last weekend, he walked three Friday -- all in the first inning.

Those walks loaded the bases and Steve Clevenger's line single to left scored two runs.

"I really struggled with my command early on,'' said Matsuzaka through an interpeter. "It was probably something small that needed adjustment and it took a long time, longer than I wanted, to make the adjustment.''

Whatever the correction was, Matsuzaka seemed to find it. After a triple, hit batsman and a run-scoring single in the second inning, Matsuzaka went on to retire 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced.

"I was able to battle through and pitch,'' noted Matsuzaka, "so I'd say that was a step up from my previous start.''

With just two starts at the big league level since coming back from last summer's Tommy John surgery, Matsuzaka is fine physically. Still, there are areas on which he needs to work.

"Throwing-wise, I'm throwing without any worries,'' he said. "But the competition aspect of pitching needed some improvement today and continues to need improvement in my upcoming starts.''

Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

red_sox_benintendi_betts_042817.jpg

Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

BOSTON - Andrew Benintendi hit a solo homer off Jake Arrieta during a five-run first inning and the Boston Red Sox held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 Friday night.

Every Boston starter had at least one hit, and Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez also drove in a run each.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (2-1) got the win with six innings of two-run ball, surrendering solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. in the early innings before settling in. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Boston has won its last nine interleague games at Fenway Park.

Arrieta (3-1) logged his shortest start since Aug. 28, 2014, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

BOSTON - It's a tad ironic the Red Sox met with David Ortiz on Tuesday about his post-playing career, and then the offense went out and did nothing and Xander Bogaerts was publicly lamenting Ortiz's absence two days later.

John Henry, Tom Werner, Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, met at Fenway Park on Tuesday to discuss the retired slugger’s future role with the organization, team president Sam Kennedy said. 

MORE RED SOX

Nothing's imminent, but there's one thing Ortiz is unlikely to do with the Sox in the near future: broadcasting. He could still do some of that in the postseason for say, FOX, but it appears an arrangement with NESN isn't in the cards for now, per Kennedy.

Ortiz's role with the Red Sox is still expected to be wide-ranging, something bigger than the standard alumnus agreement. He seems set on taking his time, enjoying his retired life, saying over the weekend he wants to be able to give the job the time it deserves. 

Kennedy in April was unsure if anything would get done this year. 

As for the team's play without Ortiz, and Bogaerts' comments?

"This is an incredibly talented ballclub," Werner said Friday at a luncheon benefitting the Red Sox Foundation and the Foundation To Be Named Later. "I’m really not terribly concerned. Like all fans, I’m a bit frustrated when we don’t give great pitching run support.

"We struggled the last couple of nights. It’s frustrating to think that Chris Sale, who I think is the best pitcher in the American League, doesn’t have much run support. But it’s April. I've been taught to not really look at the standings 'til July. Frustrated by the past two days, but look at the standings, and we’re only one win behind the Cubs. So you know, I mean I wish we were playing a little bit better,  but the team is going to bounce back."

Werner reiterated the Sox have room in their budget to add players ahead of the trade deadline.