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Daisuke Matsuzaka sets record for worst ERA by Red Sox starter

10.03.12 at 8:18 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was hammered for five runs on six hits in just 2 1/3 innings on Wednesday night in New York, and as the right-hander walked off the mound in what was likely his final appearances as a Red Sox, Matsuzaka — who will be a free agent this winter — took with him an ignominious record.

With his yield, he finished the year with an 8.28 ERA — the highest ever by a Red Sox starter who made at least 10 starts in a season. Indeed, the mark is the 18th highest in major league history by a pitcher making 10 or more starts.

Assuming he takes the loss on Wednesday, Matsuzaka would close the book on his six-year, $52 million deal (which also required the Red Sox to pay a $51.11 million posting fee to the Seibu Lions in Japan) with a 50-37 record and 4.52 ERA in 117 games (116 starts).

After a promising first two seasons with the Sox, in which he went 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 61 starts that included victories in Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS and Game 3 of the 2007 World Series and fourth-place finishes in the AL Rookie of the Year voting (2007) and AL Cy Young voting (2008), the remaining tenure of the right-hander’s career was characterized primarily by injuries and also by ineffectiveness. Though he showed occasional flashes of dominance, those became fewer and fewer after 2008. In his final four years with the Sox, he was 17-21 (pending a decision on Wednesday) with a 5.53 ERA that ranked as the third worst in the majors over the last four seasons among pitchers who made at least 50 starts.

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