The last time Daisuke Matsuzaka faced the Seattle Mariners, he essentially shut them down, holding them to three runs in seven innings — only to lose 3-0, thanks to King Felix Hernandez’s one-hit gem.
Hernandez is on the DL, the Mariners were rained out of their final game of that series, and they return to face Matsuzaka again. This time, Horatio Ramirez will face the Sox’ bats, many of which appear to be awakening from their first-month slumber.
Thus far, the numbers (3-2, 4.36 ERA) belie how well Matsuzaka has pitched this season. Countrymate and teammate Hideki Okajima was the AL’s Rookie of the Month for April, an award I and most others already had reserved for Daisuke. The big question will be: Can Matsuzaka avoid the troublesome fourth inning — presumably one in which the heart of the opponent’s order sees him for the second time, adjusts and begins forcing him to throw strikes he was not expecting to have to throw? Let’s hope so.