By Joe Haggerty
LAKELAND, Fla. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday's game against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium that if "every pitch from Daisuke Matsuzaka sort of seems to have a purpose, thats when he's is going to be good."
Every pitch, apparently, had a purpose.
The veteran right-hander -- who entered the game with an 0-1 record and a horrific 11.42 ERA this spring -- pitched five shutout innings, allowing only two hits with one walk and five strikeouts in what was far and away his best performance of the exhibtion season.
Matsuzaka has tweaked his between-start routine by breaking up his long toss and side session days while working with new pitching coach Curt Young, and it apparently reaped some results.It was a stiff test, as well, since the Tigers had Austin Jackson, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta in their lineup.
More to come . . .
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.
The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.
Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.
The full list of finalists is here. The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN
The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.
Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.
CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.
The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.
The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.
The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.
The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.