|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
The last time Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed zero earned runs in two straight outings was back on July 7th and 13th of 2008. Back then, the Red Sox were the defending champions, and Manny Ramirez was still patrolling left field in Boston. George W. Bush was still president. Tom Brady had short hair.
Dice-K followed up a 7-inning, no-run performance on Patriot’s Day against the Blue Jays with an 8-inning, no-run performance on Saturday to pick up his second straight dominant win, a 5-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He struck out nine Halos and allowed just one hit and three walks.
The offense picked up a bit of the slack, as Carl Crawford, batting eighth in the lineup, singled home Jed Lowrie to give the Sox a 1-0 lead in the second.
Fellow newcomer Adrian Gonzalez singled home Jacoby Ellsbury in the third inning, making it 2-0. Ellsbury, who hit leadoff, singled to get on base, stole second and advanced to third on a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly before scoring.
Ellsbury, who finished 2-5, singled and stole second again in the fifth inning. After two quick outs, Kevin Youkilis homered to make it 4-0 and give Dice-K some breathing room.
The Sox added an insurance run in the sixth when Crawford (2-4) hit a two-out double and Jason Varitek, of all people, hit an RBI double to make it 5-0. Had Varitek not recorded a hit in that at bat, he would have been older (39 years old) than his batting average (.038). Varitek is now hitting .074 (2-27) this season.
Dice-K now has 15 consecutive scoreless innings over the last two starts with 12 Ks. His ERA is all the way down to 4.09.
Tom Terrific was in attendance with his sister, I think. His hair looked ridiculous. The NFL lockout is still going on. For that, he’s a dud tonight!
W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2)
L: Ervin Santana (0-3)