With the "Monster" Daisuke Matsuzaka (15-12, 4.40 regular season) on the mound tonight, the Red Sox look for win No. 2 of 11 this post-season. This is Dice-K's first post-season appearance ever in Major League Baseball, where the climate is completely different than the regular season.
Opposing the Sox will be fireballer Kelvim Escobar (18-7, 3.40). Escobar had great numbers this season but battled a tired arm in September that sidelined him for a bit.
Red Sox Lineup: Pedroia, 2b Youkilis, 1b Ortiz, dh Ramirez, lf Lowell, 3b Drew, rf Varitek, c Crisp, cf Lugo, ss Angels Lineup: TBAEscobar Notes:
- Escobar has been a better pitcher at home this year compared to away. At home, his ERA is a slim 3.18, but away his ERA jumps almost 60 points to 3.72.
- September was by far Escobar's worst month of the season. His tired arm led to a 7.99 ERA while opponents hit .337 against him with 3 home runs in just 23.2 innings.
- Fenway Park isn't Escobar's friend in his career: he has compiled a 4.30 ERA in 58.2 innings with just 4 wins.
- Everyone's favorite writer, Gordon Edes, has a nice piece on tonight's Red Sox starter. Edes writes that Terry Francona was asked if Matsuzaka could learn from Josh Beckett's performance on Wednesday, and he replied: "Sure, if Daisuke wants to throw 97 with a cut, a curveball from hell, and a really good changeup." For an interesting graph breaking down Dice-K on the mound, click here.
- RedSox.com writer Ian Browne (and OTM fan) posted a blog after Wednesday night's victory, trying to go back and figure out if that's the best pitched post-season Sox game he has ever seen:
I'd say the closest thing that can compare in my time of watching Sox games is Game 1 of the '86 World Series when Bruce Hurst spun a 1-0 shutout but was relieved by Calvin Schiraldi in the ninth.
Look at some of the all-time greats that have pitched for the Sox over the last 15 to 20 years and you can say this: Beckett out-rocketed Rocket; He out-Pedro'd Pedro. That's pretty impressive!
- Guess who's the latest (former) Sox player to have his own blog? None other than Gabe Kapler at Kapler's Corner" via BostonGlobe.com. Kaps was questioning proper blog etiquette recently:
I guess comparing bloggers is like comparing baseball pitchers. There is no formula for what works. You can do it with Tim Hudson's body or Josh Beckett's. Tom Glavine gets it done with three different change ups, Derek Lowe with a steady dose of sinkers. I'm a rookie once again!
Poor guy. Maybe he should check out Over The Monster for a lesson.
- Lasty, Bob Ryan has a terrific column this morning regarding Jonathan Papelbon as closer for life. Papelbon said he wanted to start, but he really wanted to close. And now, there's no question at all. Great column, check it out.