Francona: Dice-K 'didn't look right'

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Francona: Dice-K 'didn't look right'

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; As a rainy night at Fenway Park unfolded Monday, it didnt look as ifDaisuke Matsuzaka was going to give his team a chance to win.

It had been over a week since Matsuzaka took the mound; eight days to be exact. Manager Terry Francona re-shuffledhis rotation and set up the weekend series against the Yankees with histop three starters . . . and that doesn't include Matsuzaka.

And when Matsuzaka threw his first pitch Monday night, the Orioles' Brian Roberts lined it off his chest for a base hit.

It was a harbinger of things to come, as Dice-K labored through 4 13 innings, allowing five hits and walking seven, before giving way to Scott Atchison with one out in the fifth. The five runs he allowed ballooned his season's ERA from 4.64 to 5.30.

Francona didn't think the poor outing had anything to do with theline drive that hit him.

Im sure that didnt feel good, but I dont think itaffected his pitching, said Francona.

But, the manager added, he thinks something did.

I didnt think that he was letting it go, said Francona.Thats a lot of base runners. Were probably lucky he didnt give up moreruns. It just didnt look like he was allowing himself to getextended."

The poor command and lack of control over his fastball, which only topped out at 89 mph, were a concern.

"I think were going to probably sit and talk to him a little bit, andtry to figure out more, whats going on," said the manager. "Because it just didnt look completelyright.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.