He showed as much Monday, going seven scoreless innings in a start that was just as impressive for what it contained as it was for how quickly Matsuzaka worked throughout it. He gave up just five hits while striking out six, nabbing a win in his most recent return from the disabled list.
Matsuzaka had tried to come back for the Red Sox earlier this season, pitching a few games after spending a year on the disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery. But complications with his neck and back made Matsuzaka mostly ineffective, and he landed on the disabled list again after a July 2 start.
On Monday, however, Matsuzaka showed how effective he can be when healthy. His shutdown performance, in which the Red Sox beat the Royals 5-1, makes him this week's Amica Pitcher of the Week.
Matsuzaka is 1-3 with a 5.10 ERA this season in six starts, with 26 strikeouts and 28 hits allowed over 30 innings of work. He's due to start again Sunday against the Oakland A's.