By Danny Picard
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.