PHILADELPHIA -- With Jason Varitek behind the plate for his starts this season, Daisuke Matsuzaka is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA. This, compared to his 11.05 ERA in three starts with Victor Martinez.
The easy conclusion to draw is that Red Sox manager Terry Francona will start going out of his way to pair Varitek and Dice-K. But that doesn't appear to be in the cards.
"Victor is our catcher," said Francona. "If you start having days he's not your catcher, there's a trickle-down effect, because he's our No. 3 hitter. If you want to keep him in the lineup [at DH or first base], somebody else leaves the lineup. It certainly doesn't take away from what Tek brings, because that's always been a strength of his, but one thing kind of leads to another.
"So rather than fall into that, a guy pitches a good game, this guy will be his catcher, let's have whoever we have back there ... if guys are throwing the way they're supposed to, we're going to be OK. Both catchers care. I think sometimes too much is made of that. Now saying that, I agree, that's one of Tek's strengths. There's no getting around it. I don't want to get around it."
Though Varitek was behind the plate for Matsuzaka's near no-hitter on Saturday night, Dice-K went out of his way to praise Martinez after the game. He said that some advice from Martinez was key to his eight innings of one-hit ball.
And Varitek also agreed that it would not be a healthy situation if he catches all of Matsuzaka's starts.
"People have to understand one thing: If you start doing that as a team, it puts ourselves and our starting catcher in an awkward position in that he doesn't get the right days off," said Varitek. "I need to play when he needs to not play, and it doesn't matter who's on the mound. If you start getting into personal catchers and all this stuff. ... I was fortunate [Saturday] that Dice was powerful through the zone, and if we allow them to build together, it doesn't matter [who is catching]."