Friday, April 6, 2007

Matsuzaka Shines for Sox; NL MVP in a Slump

Thursday's Peak Performers and Fabulous Flops National League Last year's NL MVP, Phillies' 1st baseman Ryan Howard is off to a slow start and his team is suffering for it, having lost three straight at home to Atlanta, including last night's 8-4 drubbing. Howard has just 2 hits in 11 at-bats, 4 walks, 4 K's and no RBI. His batting average is a modest .182. In 4 official plate appearances on Thursday, Howard stranded 6 runners, not the kind of performance that earned him the league's top honor. San Francisco's Matt Morris opened his 2007 campaign with a 6-inning, 5-hit performance en route to a Giants 5-3 win. Morris allowed just one earned run and 2 walks. The 32-year old right hander was acquired from St. Louis before the 2006 season and went 10-15 in 33 starts for the Giants last year. American League The Boston Red Sox paid $103 million to lure Daisuke Matsuzaka (right) from Japan, and judging by his first outing, they seem to have made a solid investment. Matsuzaka pitched 7 solid innings and got his first major league win, 4-1, over Kansas City. Matsuzaka struck out 10, allowing 6 hits, a walk and one earned run, that a homer off the bat of David DeJesus. Boston won the final two games of their three-game series with the Royals after dropping the opener. Mike Piazza went 3 for 5 with a double and a ninth-inning, game-winning solo home run, staking the Oakland A's to a 4-3 road win over the LA Angels. Piazza, who played many years behind the plate for the Mets and Dodgers, now bats as the DH for Oakland, usually in the cleanup spot.

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