Monday, May 7, 2012

Starting Nine: 9 Notable Facts Entering the PawSox-Red Wings Series

One day after getting the better of a rehabbing adversary in Andy Pettite, the PawSox will present the presumptive finale of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s buildup back to Boston as they commence their homestand Monday night versus the Rochester Red Wings.

The Sox shall entertain Rochester and the Columbus Clippers for four nights apiece before venturing to a pair of Southern Division cities. 

Here are nine other pregame pop-ups worth noting ahead of Pawtucket’s Monday night matchup with the 13-16 Red Wings.

·         Now in his sixth season with the Red Sox, Matsuzaka has previous made eight starts in Pawtucket, the last occurring on April 21, 2010 against Lehigh Valley. The pricey Japanese import holds a 3-1 lifetime record at the Triple-A level.

·         Matsuzaka faced the Red Wings in his last appearance at McCoy Stadium, shutting them out through five innings en route to a winning decision on April 10, 2010.

·         Slugger Lars Anderson will presumably put in his first appearance before Pawtucket’s home crowd since April 21, before he was recalled to Boston for nine days. In four games since rejoining the PawSox midway through their road trip, Anderson has exponentially elevated his daily hit count with zero on Wednesday, one on Friday after an off day, two Saturday and three on Sunday.

·         First-year PawSox outfielder Josh Kroeger bookended the 10-game road trip with a pair of homers, belting his second of the season in Sunday’s 7-5 triumph over the Empire State Yankees. He has yet to leave the yard at McCoy.

·         The Wings vacated their home at Frontier Field for Sunday’s Sox-Yankees bout as the Pinstripes top farm team carries on through its year without a home in Scranton. The Yanks will play in Rochester for the next eight days while the Red Wings are engaged in their visits to the PawSox and the Syracuse Chiefs.

·         Pitcher Scott Diamond, originally slated to start in Thursday afternoon’s series finale, was called up by the parent Minnesota Twins on Sunday, as was shortstop Brian Dozier. Diamond is 4-1 in six Triple-A starts to date this season, including a victorious outing versus the Sox on April 11.

·         Concomitant with four consecutive wins for the team, top Rochester batter Darin Mastroianni is riding a four-game hitting streak and has hit 12-for-31 in his last nine outings. He drove in four runs as part of a 5-0 triumph over the Buffalo Bisons on Saturday, finishing a sweep of a double-header.

·         Rochester’s collective pitching staff has allowed the fewest hits (220) to date in the International League, although they have also pitched the fewest innings (245.2).

·         Rochester’s offense is last on the league leaderboard with 79 runs batted in and tied with the Durham Bulls for last with 10 home runs apiece.