Daisuke Matsuzaka has not had the smoothest second season in the MLB. He has struggled a times, and spent a chunk of the year on the diabled list. On Friday, however, Matsuzaka blanked the AL-Central leading Chicago White Sox for 8 innings. He struck out 7 and walked only two – and seemed much more in control of his pitches than previously this season. He improved to 16-2 on the year with a 2.82 ERA.
The Sox offense exploded for 15 hits, including a 4 for 4 performance from second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia made it on base all 5 times he went to the place, and scored 3 runs in the process. Combined with 3-RBI perfomances by Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis, the batters were firing on all cylinders.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he was more concerned with the 5-foot-9 2B than with anyone else on the team.
“I worry more about Pedroia than I worry about Big Papi” said Guillen. “Right now, I have to, because he’s swinging the bat good. … It’s amazing how this kid shows up to the ballpark every day and plays the way he plays. He brings a lot of energy to the field.”
The Sox also benefitted from a perfect ninth from Mike Timlin, who struck out Orlando Cabrera to start the inning. With Tampa Bay trouncing the Orioles 14-3, the Sox remain 4.5 games back in the American League East.