Before the Sox returned to US soil, the lament was on. "Daisuke's overrated. You can't expect much from Lester and Buchholz...a pair of question marks."
What a difference a couple of days makes. Okay, so Oakland isn't exactly the 1927 Yankees, and the Sox haven't exactly been beating up on the Oakland pitching either. But back-to-back quality starts from Matsuzaka and Lester have to get the faithful in a better mood, at least for the time being, while the Sox head out of the country again, to Toronto.
Will Toronto be able to make it a three team race with Halladay, Burnett, Magowan, and Marcum? You can easily make the argument for the Jays having the best front four in the AL East anyway. Of course, time wounds all heels, and every team's pitching staff is at the mercy of that closely integrated team of four, suprapinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis.
Speaking of shouldering the load, after looking severely bat-lagged in Japan, Jason Varitek had 1 and a half homers in Oakland, and David 'Papi' Ortiz got his inaugural shot today. The Sox also looked crisp in turning over several twin-killings, with Dustin Pedroia showing why he was ROY with quick turns in the middle.
Manny Delcarmen looked to be the setup guy of the future, or at least plan 1B, with another dominant inning today. Again, it's Oakland.
Yes, the football mentality (every game is life or death) doesn't suit us well, but that's why the Sox have Terry Francona, to put it all into perspective. The best news for fans is more economical pitching by both Matsuzaka and Lester, who stand to be two and three in the rotation now. Bartolo Colon stands waiting in the wings if injury or ineffectiveness plagues the bottom of the rotation...and I'm urging patience with Buchholz, who is the real deal.
Stats as of this morning at RedSoxStats.com...
Oh yeah, break up the Royals...