Indians Top Giants, Matsuzaka Navigates Through Three Scoreless

Indians - 4 | Giants 3

The Indians are back to their spring winning ways with another victory over the San Francisco Giants. With some of the regulars in the lineup gone, some new faces now have some opportunities to show what they have and make an impression.

Still, the focus is mainly on that rotation battle, as it was Daisuke Matsuzaka with another opportunity to go out and try and state his case for a rotation spot.

Photo - Chuck Crow via Cleveland.com
Dice-K went three scoreless, striking out a pair, but he did give up five hits in those frames. He was able to get out of any trouble though thanks to a few double plays.

"It's something that tends to happen when I pitch," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter, referring to the difficulty he endured. "I understand that's part of how I pitch. It's not ideal, but it's something that I always think about when I'm out the mound. Whenever I get runners on, it's always important to think about how to get out of those jams and situations. There was a lot of luck today on my side, but it was important that I got out of those jams."

Dice is very much in this battle, but he will have to do a little more than a few scoreless innings over the course of the next few weeks. Former scout and current MLB.com writer Bernie Pleskoff was in attendance and he noted that Matsuzaka wasn't repeating his delivery and falling behind hitters with mechanics that "were not crisp". However, he did note that he simply may just need more innings, which makes sense. Still, something to watch. Impressive that he didn't walk anyone despite falling behind hitters.

In other box score note worthiness.

Smitty's Back: Joe Smith made his Cactus League 2013 debut, just in time to give us another regular bullpen arm in the box scores to look at while Pestano is with team USA. Smith struggled, giving up a two-run home run in his inning of work. Bryan Shaw on the other hand picked up the win for his scoreless frame.

Huff and Stuff: David Huff is very much a contender for the rotation due to the work-load the Indians are giving him thus far, pitching another three innings in this game. He gave up solo home run, a few other hits and a walk, but struck out three. He probably stands a better chance at a bullpen job, but the Indians are no doubt preparing for him to be a starter, just in case.

Speed Thrills: Michael Bourn stole his first Indian spring base, but it was Zeke Carrera who upped his spring total to five with two more swipes, stealing second and third and scoring a run. Bourn had an additional hit.

Ding Ding: All the scoring for the Indians came via the home run for the most part. A brilliant day for Nick Swisher, who is hitting .500 on the spring as he hit a solo home run and walked two other times. Other home runs belonged to Juan Diaz, his first in the fourth inning, and the go-ahead blast in the top of the ninth inning from Roberto Perez. The other run came when Carrera stole third and went home on Luis Hernandez's single. All of SF's runs came via the homer as well.

Next Game: Justin Masterson gets a start with four innings slated against the Dodgers at Goodyear on Wednesday. Also pitching will be Nick Hagadone and Scott Barnes

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