A bad roll of the Dice
The Red Sox were hoping Daisuke Matsuzaka would take another encouraging step forward on Sunday, when he pitched for Double-A Portland in a game against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
But the right-hander had a sluggish first inning, throwing 49 pitches and giving up five runs. Matsuzaka did have a strong second inning, retiring the side in order.
His overall pitching line was two innings, four hits, five runs, three walks and two strikeouts. Matsuzaka threw 58 pitches.
Matsuzaka estimated that he was only throwing at 65 to 70 percent intensity in the first inning, as he was “just working on certain things.”
He had to ask to get another inning of work.
“I didn’t expect the first inning to be hit that hard. They said I was done but I asked them for 10 pitches and they said yes,” Matsuzaka told reporters in Manchester, N.H.
“I was able to do things in the second inning like I wanted to and I was 100 percent.”
Matsuzaka will make his next start on Friday at Triple-A Pawtucket. After that, with the Minor League season coming to an end, Matsuzaka is expected to return to the Red Sox for a start on Sept. 9 against the Orioles.
The right-hander has had two stints on the disabled list this season. He is hoping to turn his season around when he returns. In eight starts for Boston this season, Matsuzaka is 1-5 with an 8.23 ERA.
He has worked hard to get himself back in shape the last couple of months. Matsuzaka last pitched for the Red Sox on June 19.
They are hopeful that the hard work Matsuzaka has done on his rehab will pay off.
“It remains to be seen what we’ll get,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said earlier this week. “I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty. I will say that he’s worked as hard as a human being can possibly work under the circumstances to get back. He’s lost some bad weight, added some good core weight, some good core muscle strength and he’s getting through his delivery a lot better.
“We’ll see how he does as he works his way up. I don’t think we’re counting on him to be a savior. But I don’t think it’s unrealistic to hope that he can contribute in some way in September.”