Daisuke Matsuzaka took the mound for the Sox today after spending a year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Dice-K has always been an enigma on the mound, so most were not sure what we would get from him. Dice-K ended up coming away with the loss, however I think there were many more positive in there than concerns.
Dice-K gave up his first run in the 2nd inning with a solo leadoff HR to LaRoche. Dice-K gave up the rest of his runs in the 4th inning. Dice-K gave up his only walk of the game to Bryce Harper. That was followed by a single to Zimmerman where Harper went to third with no outs. Dice-K gave up a double and a single and 3 runs scored. The Sox got out of the inning with a double play that was started by Gonzo making a great sliding play in RF. The damage was done. I know allowing 4 runs to score cannot be considered a good performance, but I can't help wanting to describe it that way. Dice-K has always had command issues and for the most part, that was not the case today. He seemed to be attacking batters and throwing his pitches for strikes. I saw a lot to build upon in his outing. Dice-K's line for the night was 80 pitches, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 8 Ks. Dice-K was followed by some locked in pitching from the pen as well. Franklin Morales pitch 3 scoreless innings, striking out 3. Alfredo Aceves took the mound in the 9th and pitched a scoreless inning. In total, the Sox pitchers struck out 13 batters in the game.
The Sox offense just wasn't able to get those 4 runs back for Dice-K. Gio Gonzalez was pitching well for the Nats. The Sox would stay off the scoreboard until the 7th inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia once again came into the game to have himself a nice clutch pinch hit. With the bases loaded and one out, Salty hit a single off the Green Monster to plate Middlebrooks and Aviles. Unfortunately that is all that the Sox would get that inning as Nava struck out and Pedey popped out. Salty would have one more chance in the 9th. With two outs, he represented the tying run. Unfortunately, Salty wasn't able to be the 9th inning hero once again and ground out to end the game. The Nats ended up taking the 2nd game of the series 4-2.
Red Sox 2 Nationals 4 BOXSCORE
WP: Gonzalez (8-2) LP: Matsuzaka (0-1) SV: Clippard (7)