|Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Aaron Laffey||09.08.12 at 8:51 am ET|
After being completely ineffective last week in his start against the Athletics, Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the mound again Saturday looking to return to the success he displayed in his first start after coming off of the DL.
Matsuzaka (1-4, 6.15 ERA) lasted just 3 2/3 innings while giving up six earned runs against Oakland, in what was his shortest start of 2012, save his injury-shortened outing that sent him to the DL. The start was indicative of all the issues that have plagued the 31-year-old over his six seasons with the Red Sox: throwing 97 pitches to record 11 outs, walking a season-high four batters and returning his ERA to the highest among the team’s starters who have made more than one start.
Saturday, though, Matsuzaka will face a Toronto lineup against whom he has been downright dominant. Throughout his career, Matsuzaka boasts a .173 batting average against and a .471 OPS against. He has given up just three extra base hits and four walks in 85 plate appearances. Historically, Matsuzaka’s numbers against the Blue Jays are tremendous, recording a 7-1 record and a 3.33 ERA while averaging just under 5 2/3 innings per start.
Matsuzaka’s most recent start against Toronto came on June 26, when he earned the win after giving up one run over 5 2/3 innings, throwing 100 pitches in the process. The start appeared to be Matsuzaka’s most promising since returning to the team from Tommy John surgery before he sustained a neck injury in his next start.
Taking the mound for the Blue Jays will be 27-year-old lefty Aaron Laffey, who in two starts against the Red Sox this season has yet to surrender a run. After a brief stint in the Blue Jays bullpen, Laffey returned to the starting rotation following a season-ending injury to J.A. Happ.
In his first stint as a starter for Toronto this season, Laffey was 3-5 with a 4.78 ERA over 11 starts before returning to the bullpen on Aug. 27. Laffey ended up making just two appearances out of the bullpen in that time, with his most recent appearance coming Sept. 2 against the Rays, when he finished the game with three scoreless innings in a 9-4 loss.
Against the current Red Sox lineup, Laffey has posted solid numbers, including a .235 batting average against. His most impressive stat, though, is his .294 slugging average against, giving up just one extra base hit, a solo home run to Dustin Pedroia. Outside of Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who have OPS totals of 1.121 and .855, respectively, against Laffey, no Red Sox in Satuday’s lineup have hit higher than .231 against him.
Blue Jays vs. Matsuzaka (RHP)
Adam Lind (29 plate appearances): .143 BA/.172 OBP/.286 SLG, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Yunel Escobar (13) .231/.231/.231, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Edwin Encarnacion (10): .250/.400/.250, 1 RBI, 2 walk, 2 strikeouts
Kelly Johnson (9): .000/.111/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Rajai Davis (8): .375/.375/.750, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Jeff Mathis (7): .000/.000/.000, 5 strikeouts
Omar Vizquel (6): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Colby Rasmus (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Red Sox vs. Laffey (LHP)
Mike Aviles (13 plate appearances): .231 BA/.231 OBP/.231 SLG, 5 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (11): .333/.455/.667, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (11): .400/.455/.400, 3 RBI, 1 walk
Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .167/.167/.167
Cody Ross (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout
Scott Podsednik (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Pedro Ciriaco (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
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