Wow, awesome game to watch. Red Sox win 2-0. Lots of great plays (good and bad) by both teams. Pena swinging on a 3-0 count with 2 on in the 8th. Dice-K pitching an impressive 7.0 innings of 4 hit baseball while striking out 9 batter. Had a no-hitter going into the 6th. 7innings is really the most important part of this outing. Five innings was his longest start against the Rays this season (3 games)
Other things to watch, JD Drew nearly took one in the temple in the 8th. Bad blood between these teams. Would surprise me if Pena or Longoria found a Beckett pitch on the inner part of the batters box tonight (thinking later in the game). I doubt it will happen but if there is anyone to do it it’s Josh.
Speaking of Dice-K, he really is both amazing and terrifying to watch. He has all the talent in the world, all the pitches to choose from. However, for periods of time, he either won’t or can’t throw strikes. Some say this problem is cultural. Japanese pitchers are taught to finesse and not challenge hitters. That they are conservative in approach and would rather give up a walk than a hit. Dice-K is very much like this. However, his talent is magnified with runners on. Hitters have a 0.000 average with the bases loaded (0-14) this season and a paltry 0.164 with runners in scoring position.
From ESPN.com by David Ortiz regarding Dice-K:
“He can go from being wild to painting on you. That’s what makes him so tough. He can throw three balls, then next thing you know, he’s on the black. Then the next thing you know, he’ll throw a pitch with a lot of movement, and the count is 3-2 and what are you looking for now? He’s not a guy you can sit fastball on, because he doesn’t give up and he doesn’t give in.”
I am sure I will have people who will disagree with me but his style is very similar to Pedro (minus the 97+ mph fastball and the desire to make hitters look silly). He can thrown any pitch in any count to any batter and probably get the outcome he desires. Pedro was like that. 3-0 count and they throw a curve or change. With luck, Dice-K can continue to develop and possible change his habits regarding challenging batters. Pretty crazy to think that he is our 3rd best pitcher.
Josh Beckett tonight, Lester on Monday.