Red Sox versus Angels Match-Ups, 9/15
|09.15.09 at 11:10 am ET|
When was the last time Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a quality start for the Red Sox?
Take a moment to think on it.
Ready? Alright. If you said October 10th, 2008, you’d be the winner (alas, no chicken dinner).
That start came against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in Game 1 of the America League Championship Series last year and Matsuzaka pitched very well. He went 7.1 innings while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts in a 2-0 Red Sox victory. It was the type of game that the Boston brass envisioned when they anted up the $51.1111 million posting fee to the Seibu Lions to bring the enigmatic righty to the American League East.
Since that day? Well, things have not gone nearly so well.
In more recent (if still somewhat distant) history, Matsuzaka’s last start in a Boston uniform came June 19th of this year against the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park. That start was the the last straw for Matsuzaka and the Red Sox early in the season. The righty went 4 innings and gave up 6 runs on 8 hits with 4 walks brining his season ERA to 8.23. That was Boston’s 69th game of the season and he has not been seen since.
Until today. Matsuzaka will make his comeback in the 143rd game of the season against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tonight at Fenway and will try to get back to the form that led to 36 wins combined in 2007 and 2008 while solidifying the back end of the Red Sox rotation.
For the most part, the Angels are not all that familiar with Matsuzaka. In the regular season they have only seen him once – July 28th last year when he took the loss (one of only three all year) when he gave up 6 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings. He did face the Angels in Game 2 of the American League Division Series and picked up a no-decision in a 7-5 Sox victory in Anaheim. He also lasted 5 innings in that game and gave up 3 runs on 8 hits with 3 walks. The only members of the Angels line up who have seen Matsuzaka on multiple regular season occasions are Torii Hunter (with the Twins) and Bobby Abreu (with the Yankees).
A return to his winnings way, even if it is in his vintage cardiac form, would be a big boon for the Boston baseball club as it gears up for October baseball.
On the other end the end the Angels bring John Lackey to the frontline against the Sox. The eight year veteran has not seen his best year battling injuries and inconsistencies but has gritted through it to the tune of a 10-7 record with a 3.53 ERA. He has been coming back into his Cy Young form recently though, winning two of his last three starts with his best effort of the year coming in his most recent one, a 3-0 complete game shutout of the Seattle Mariners last Thursday. In his recent stretch Lackey has gone through the full nine innings twice and eight innings once while lowering his ERA from 4.16 to his current 3.53.
The Sox know Lackey well. David Ortiz is particularly fond of the Angels right-hander, smashing 2 home runs and boasting a .333 batting average against him in 34 career plate appearances.
Here are the match-ups:
Matsuzaka versus Angels
Bobby Abreu (18 career plate appearances) .077 average/ .333 on-base percentage/ .154 slugging, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Torii Hunter (7) .286/ .286/ .714, home run, 2 strikeouts
Chone Figgins (3) .500/ .667/ .500, walk
Vladimir Guerrero (3) .667/ .667/ .667, strikeout
Maicer Izturis (3) .333/ .333/ .667
Howie Kendrick (2) .000/ .500/ .000, walk
Jeff Mathis (2) .000/ .000/ .000, strikeout
Juan Rivera (2) .000/ .000/ .000, strikeout
Lackey versus Red Sox
David Ortiz (34 career plate appearances) .333 average/ .412 on-base percentage/ .700 slugging, 2 home runs, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Jason Varitek (27) .208/ .296/ .333, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Victor Martinez (25) .467/ .560/ .524, 3 walks, hit-by-pitch, 3 strikeouts
Mike Lowell (19) .158/ .158/ .158, 5 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (18) .313/ .389/ .500, walk, hit-by-pitch, 3 strikeouts
Rocco Baldelli (17) .176/ .176/ .176, 6 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (17) .294/ .294/ .647, 2 home runs, 4 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (13) .417/ .462/ .583, walk
Alex Gonzalez (8) .375/ .375/ .500, 2 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury (6) .000/ .000/ .000, 2 strikeouts
Chris Woodward (5) .000/ .200/ .000, walk, strikeout
Brian Anderson (3) .000/ .000/ .000
Joey Gathright (3) .500/ .667/ .500, hit-by-pitch
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