The Japanese starter has really started to find his form in the minor leagues with a 3.65 ERA in eight starts from Single-A all the way to Triple-A, and he has really limited the damage from what the Boston Red Sox fans have seen over the past couple seasons.
He may have allowed seven home runs, but at least he is limiting his pitch count by not handing out as many free passes. The right-hander has only walked nine batters in 37 innings in his rehab stint. He also has 30 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .228 batting average.
Matsuzaka is only 32 years old and still has some years left in the tank. Lucky for him, he now has Bobby Valentine as a manager.
Valentine managed in Japan before becoming a Baseball Tonight analyst and is somewhat fluent in Japanese. He can talk directly to Matsuzaka, and that could only benefit the hurler's mechanics and starts as time progresses.
It will be very exciting to see the likes of Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman come into Fenway Park, but Zimmerman has struggled with only three homers and a .245 average in 41 games played. Harper has been very good for a 19-year-old with a .276 average to go along with five home runs and 14 RBI.
All other non-injured hitters are batting below .270, and Adam LaRoche leads the team with nine home runs and 39 RBI.
The only way Matsuzaka loses this game is if the Boston Red Sox batters fall silent at the hands of Gio Gonzalez, who sports a 2.31 ERA, a 7-2 record and 84 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings.
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