The Red Sox will call up starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to close out Boston's series against the Kansas City Royals. Dice-K originally was not part of the plans for the four-game set, but with Josh Beckett traded as part of Saturday's blockbuster with the Dodgers, the rotation has shuffled a bit.
Aaron Cook started in Beckett's place on Saturday, on just three days rest. Monday was meant to be his next turn in the rotation, but with Daisuke Matsuzaka on the same scheduled as Cook, he is able to slot in. As has been mentioned before, the relationship with Matsuzaka has been poor in the last few seasons due to inconsistency and injury, but September could give him a chance to show he's worth having around, albeit at a severely reduced price.
On the other hand, September could also act as a reminder that this particular show has run its course, because we've seen this episode far too many times.
Matsuzaka hasn't pitched in the majors in nearly two months, thanks to straining the trapezius muscle that had given him some issues in his initial rehab from last year's Tommy John surgery. His last start in Pawtucket was a strong one, though, as he threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and five baserunners overall, while striking out seven on 102 pitches.
Matsuzaka will take on Kansas City's Luke Hochevar. While the right-hander has had some stretches of brilliance in 2012, his season has mostly been dominated by poor performances, as his 4.95 ERA attests to. Even a reduced Boston lineup shouldn't have much trouble scoring runs this afternoon. Whether they can prevent them is another Dice-K-centric story.