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Matsuzaka, Buchholz in prime form

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The Red Sox had a pair of ace hurlers today as Clay Buchholz handled the Orioles well today and Daisuke Matsuzaka baffled Cuban batters.

While the Red Sox did lose 6-2 to the Orioles, it wasn't Buchholz's fault. He went 3.2 innings while striking out six batters and allowing just one run and two walks. While Tim Wakefield struggles this spring, Buchholz is making a name for himself with some very solid outings. His ERA sits at 1.04 this spring.

In San Diego, Dice-K was absolutely marvelous in his outing against Cuba. In six innings of work (86 pitches), he struck out eight, allowed just five hits, no runs and walked none. Yes, I said Dice-K walked ZERO BATTERS.

Now I am sure you're wondering something: when was the last time Dice-K pitched at least six innings and didn't walk a single batter? That would be April 1, 2008 against the Oakland A's. He worked 6.2 innings, struck out nine and walked none.

This is the Dice-K we know and love and expect. He was on today. You might be able to blame the aggressive Cuban hitters, but you have to be a great pitcher to do this to such a good team. Dice-K did his job as well as I've seen him do it in two years as a Red Sox.

As for Buchholz, this is great for the Red Sox. It looks like Buchholz is finally over the mental hurdles that effected him last season. Speaking of expectations, this is the Buchholz we've expected for two years now. He's hitting his stride and I don't think Triple-A will keep him down for long this season.

If we look at the Sox starters so far this spring, there's no reason to be anything but excited. Buchholz, Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have all been really good. Wakefield is a question mark, but we still have to see what Brad Penny can offer us. The rotation still looks like a strong asset right now.