More from Pinto on the subject that refuses to die:
- Daisuke Matsuzaka made the Red Sox' decision about what to do with their extra pitching a little easier [Friday night]. Dice-K allowed six runs in 4+ innings, raising his ERA to 8.23. He was wild, walking four. When he was around the plate, the Braves collected eight hits. Opponents are now hitting .378 against the Boston righty. All that pitching depth is about to pay off.
Meanwhile, [Kenshin] Kawakami let the good times roll. He allowed just two runs in six innings as the Braves won 8-2. It was a good game for former Pirates as both [Nate] McLouth and [Jason] Bay homered.
Well, all that pitching depth is about to pay off if the Red Sox idle Matsuzaka for a spell. Which isn't all that easy, since his contract actually prohibits a trip to the minors. If they don't want him to pitch, they'll have to send him to the bullpen or make up some sort of injury. Plus, it's just one lousy game. Granted, there have been other lousy games. But before Friday night, Dice-K had, at the very least, been striking out and walking reasonable numbers of batters. It's probably not quite the time to panic.
And of course there's still Clay Buchholz. Wednesday night in Pawtucket, John Smoltz -- in his "final tune-up" before joining the big club -- started for the PawSox and went four solid innings ... but it's Buchholz who got the victory with four solid innings of his own. In 71 innings, Buchholz is 5-0 with a 1.90 ERA and 65 strikeouts.
I would agree with David that the Red Sox's pitching depth will pay off. It has already, and almost certainly will again. But I still maintain that the Red Sox, right now, have more than they need. And that they might have been better off worrying last winter about their shortstops.
Regarding Kenshin Kawakami, yeah: The good times have been rolling. Since a lousy start in late April, Kawakami's ERA has decreased (or held steady) in nine straight starts, dropping from 7.06 to 4.42. Not bad for a rookie who turns 34 on Monday.