All eyes will be on Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday as he makes his 2010 debut for the Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles in the second of three games at Camden Yards.
Matsuzaka, whose 2009 campaign was marred by injuries, went on the disabled list at the end of spring training with a neck strain. He made three rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing three earned runs in 16 2/3 innings.
The activation of Matsuzaka means that Tim Wakefield will officially move to the bullpen, this at the expense of Alan Embree, who was designated for assignment after being called up earlier in the week.
The Orioles have won two in a row against the Sox, a rarity in the series so dominated by Boston.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (11-12) vs. Orioles (5-18) Saturday, May 1, 7 p.m. (NESN) Camden Yards, Baltimore
HEAD TO HEAD
Friday’s win was the 50th for Baltimore against Boston at Camden Yards. The Sox have won 88 at the park.
Matsuzaka is 3-1 in his career against the Orioles but has been hit hard at Camden Yards, giving up 14 runs in just 20 innings over four starts.
Bergesen was sent to Triple-A Norfolk after three miserable starts but recalled for this outing. Manager Dave Trembley said Bergesen was overthrowing earlier in the year and is much more relaxed now after a short stint in the minors.
The 24-year-old was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA last year and allowed only four runs in 14 innings against the Red Sox.
Marco Scutaro, SS Dustin Pedroia, 2B Victor Martinez, C Kevin Youkilis, 1B J.D. Drew, RF David Ortiz, DH Adrian Beltre, 3B Darnell McDonald, LF Jon Van Every, CF
Adam Jones, CF Nick, Markakis, RF Matt Wieters, C Miguel Tejada, 3B Luke Scott, DH Ty Wigginton, 2B Rhyne Hughes, 1B Nolan Reimold, LF Cesar Izturis, SS
Right fielder J.D. Drew has 16 multi-homer games. He also has 10 RBIs in his last eight games.
John Lackey has thrown 11 straight quality starts against Baltimore.
Catcher Victor Martinez is 3-for-21 (.143) with no RBIs in a six-game stretch.
In the last two games between the teams, third baseman Miguel Tejada has slugged two game-tying home runs in the late innings and has one game-winning hit, his single to win Friday’s series opener.
Center fielder Adam Jones has six multi-hit games and is 7-for-70 (.100) in all other games.
Baltimore used a season-high seven pitchers Friday. The seven combined to issue a season-high 10 walks.
BLACK AND BLUE
Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is still just hitting off a tee and has yet to take live batting practice. He said Friday that he was able to swing, run and throw and that it was his best day yet as he recovers from hairline fractures in four ribs. Ellsbury has been eligible to return from the DL since early in the week.
Center fielder Mike Cameron has slightly increased the intensity of his workouts as he recovers from a sports hernia. He is eligible to return from the disabled list in early May.
Right hander Koji Uehara may come off the 15-day disabled list at some point during the series. He has been out with a hamstring strain.
Second baseman Brian Roberts, already out with a back injury, has been battling flu-like symptoms and stomach pain. He is not close to returning.
Closer Mike Gonzalez hopes to return in May from a strained left shoulder.
Although Friday night’s opener did not turn out the way the Sox had hoped it would, it did give them a third straight quality pitching performance. They are now waiting to see the same from two others, Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett, who starts Sunday’s finale.
A quality debut by Matsuzaka would be the latest piece of the puzzle and could put the club back at .500.
To give the right hander the support he needs, Boston has to do a better job getting runners in. The club drew 10 walks Friday night but was just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.
Since scoring 13 runs in just six innings to start the series in Toronto on Monday, the Sox have plated eight in a span of 28 frames.