|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Chris Archer||09.19.12 at 10:31 am ET|
It may be too late to make a difference for the season, but the Red Sox have won four of their last five games as they turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka to start Wednesday’s game against the Rays.
Last time out, Matsuzaka (1-5, 7.14 ERA) had one of his stronger outings this season. Although, when considering the fact that he gave up 11 runs in just five combined innings in his previous two starts, that is not saying much. Outside of a three-run third inning by the Blue Jays, Matsuzaka pitched well in his most recent start, finishing the outing with four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Despite his ballooning ERA, Matsuzaka has shown some positive signs this season, especially in what is usually his biggest area of concern: walks. Matsuzaka’s current mark of 4.0 walks per nine innings is a vast improvement upon recent seasons, especially from his mark of 5.5, and is bested only by his 3.5 he posted in his first MLB season. Meanwhile, Matsuzaka’s 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings this season is the best he’s had since his 18-win season in 2008.
Matsuzaka hasn’t faced the Rays since April 2008, a start that ended after just two innings when he gave up seven runs in the first two frames. His loss in that outing is part of a trend against the Rays, as Matsuzaka has gone 2-7 with a 5.83 ERA in 13 starts against Tampa Bay.
The current Rays lineup is batting a pedestrian .266 against Matsuzaka but has burned him with walks and power, posting a .442 on-base percentage and a .523 slugging percentage. In 148 plate appearances, the current Rays lineup actually has gotten on base more often via the walk (33) than from getting hits (29). Of those 29 hits, almost half have gone for extra bases (seven doubles and seven home runs).
The Rays, who are known for the young starters, are sending out the newest, youngest addition to their rotation to take the mound Wednesday night: 23-year-old Chris Archer. With just four appearances, including three starts, in two major league stints under his belt, Archer (0-3, 3.22 ERA) has yet to face any current member of the Red Sox and is still building his reputation as a major league pitcher.
Archer was last seen coming out of the bullpen during the Rays’ 14-inning marathon against the Orioles on Sept. 13, going 3 2/3 innings before surrendering the game-winning run. Archer’s most recent start came Sept. 8 against the Rangers and was his first start since being recalled at the beginning of the month. Against Texas, Archer pitched seven strong innings, giving up two runs while striking out seven. He did not get a decision in a 4-2 Rangers win.
Red Sox vs. Archer (RHP)
No current Red Sox players have faced Chris Archer
Rays vs. Matsuzaka (RHP)
Carlos Pena (35 plate appearances): .240 BA/.457 OBP/.440 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 10 walks, 7 strikeouts
Luke Scott (23): .308/.656/.615, 1 double, 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 9 walks, 3 strikeouts
B.J. Upton 20): .188/.316/.375, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Ben Zobrist (18): .357/.500/.643, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Matthew Joyce (17): .100/.471/.400, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 5 walks, 1 strikeout
Evan Longoria (16): .333/.438/.667, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Jose Molina (7): .143/.143/.286, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Sean Rodriguez (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 2 strikeouts
Ben Francisco (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout
Sam Fuld (2): .500/.500/2.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs
Reid Brignac (1): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 2 RBIs
- Bradley: "Everything's back to normal"
- Cup of Coffee: PawSox, Drive produce walk-off wins
- PawSox activate Jackie Bradley, Jr. from disabled list
- Weekly Notes: De La Rosa, Betts take center stage
- Cup of Coffee: Shaw leads 18-hit attack in Sea Dogs rout
- Cup of Coffee: Gedman, big Salem seventh key system’s only win
- Christian Vazquez’s new focus at the plate starting to pay off
- Cup of Coffee: Augliera dominant in Salem victory
- Players of the Week, May 6-12: Rubby De La Rosa and Mookie Betts
- Cup of Coffee: Streaks continue for Mookie Betts, Chris Martin