Boston took two of three in Baltimore to start the excursion, dropping a 4-3, 11-inning affair Sunday afternoon in Camden Yards. It was just the second loss in the last eight games for the Sox, who enter 4 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will attempt to put together two good starts in a row after a solid effort against Oakland five days ago.
Red Sox (33-25) at Indians (21-34)
Monday, June 7, 7:05 p.m.
Progressive Field, Cleveland
The Sox are 17-8 in Cleveland since 2002 and 17-5 over the past three years.
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (4-2, 5.49 ERA) vs. RHP Fausto Carmona (4-4, 3.53 ERA)
The mystery of Matsuzaka continued in his latest outing. Coming off an eight-walk performance against Kansas City, he was reached for three runs in his first inning of work against Oakland at Fenway Park.
Just as it appeared as if the wildly inconsistent Matsuzaka was headed down a dark path again, he rebounded to throw 5 2/3 scoreless innings before exiting the game with seven strikeouts against no walks.
In his four wins, the 29-year-old has a 3.00 ERA, 24 strikeouts and seven walks. In his two losses and one no-decision, he has a 10.29 mark with just eight strikeouts against 14 free passes.
Matsuzaka is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland.
Carmona, a 19-game winner in 2007, continues in his attempt to rebound from two straight poor seasons. He started 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA, but is 0-3 with a 4.05 mark in his last three appearances.
The 26-year-old Carmona is 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA against Boston.
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Bill Hall, LF
Josh Reddick, CF
Trevor Crowe, CF
The Sox have a nine-game homestand on the horizon, and a great chance to carry some momentum into Fenway Park — the Indians rank 12th in the AL in runs scored and are tied for 12th with a 4.77 team ERA.
But, as the saying goes, momentum goes only as far as your next day's starting pitcher, and Boston still does not know what to expect from Matsuzaka. He appeared to make strides the last time out by pounding the zone and letting his defense do its job.
A second straight positive outing for Matsuzaka would be a great sign for Boston going forward.
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