"Momentum lasts as long as the next day's starting pitcher." And so it was tonight as Daisuke Matsuzaka stopped the White Sox on one run through eight innings.
Of course, it's not only pitching that counts but timely hitting as well. David Ortiz led the fourteen hit parade with three hits and a three run double, and another key element was Jacoby Ellsbury with his seventh homer and three hits. Ellsbury's protracted slump seemed to coincide with what was the illusion of offensive stagnation.
But Ellsbury has now raised his average above .270 and has shown more pop with a pair of homers this week. Perhaps he's making adjustments, or pitchers aren't executing against his perceived weakness.
After last season's mediocrity, nobody knew what to expect from Matsuzaka, but he leads the team in wins (13-2) and E.R.A. (2.90) and has produced surprising consistency while going deeper in games lately. In his last six starts, he's averaged 6 2/3rd innings.
The Sox hold a 2 game lead (1 in the loss column) over the White Sox, and Jose Contrares returned only to rupture his Achilles tendon covering first base.
As for the extraordinary self-rendition of the former left fielder to LA, several ESPN Insider column suggest that as usual, the reaction from MLB will be nil, although M$nny the Malingerer got his way in the end.