He confirmed what we all saw, saying he tried to attack the zone but got WAY too much of it on several hitters. He also responded to an inquiry into what it was like to get booed the way he was.
"Nobody really wants to get a booing from the fans and the only way I can change this is to have a good showing," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Kenta Yamada.
Both Matsuzaka and Terry Francona insist there is nothing wrong with the pitcher's health.
We will have more on the site in a bit on Matsuzaka. Francona pulled out the old "you are only as good as your next starting pitcher" line, and then said he was happy it was Jon Lester, who goes tomorrow against David Price in a wonderful matchup of young lefties. Meet us back here for that one, and thanks for following along tonight.
Final, Rays 16-5: The spunky Sox get one in the ninth. Leaves them only 11 shy of glory.
The tone was set with Daisuke Matsuzaka doing nothing to fool the Rays and burying Boston early. We are off to get some reaction on his night. Back in a bit.
Mid 9th, Rays 16-4: The 16 runs ties the high mark for a Red Sox opponent last season. That came in a 16-2 loss to Toronto, the game where Jon Lester got destroyed.
10:23 p.m.: My goodness. Dan Wheeler came in to get some work, and it's been laborious. Sam Fuld, who needed only a single for the cycle, ripped a double into the corner to plate another run, the 15th of the game for Tampa Bay. Still only one out in the ninth.
End 8th, Rays 12-4: In the painstaking search for positives, we have a definitive one tonight. Jacoby Ellsbury has two hits, including his second home run of the year, a blast deep to right off Joel Peralta with one out in the eighth.
One thing Ellsbury has shown since early in March is a bit more power. The injuries last year gave him the opportunity to strengthen his body, top to bottom, and it shows in his stroke from time to time. He just needs to start stringing together a few more hits — Ellsbury was 3-for-28 between his two homers this year.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out to start the inning, his 11th in 25 at-bats this year. He is hitting .160.
Dan Wheeler will get an inning of work to close this one out.
Mid 8th, Rays 12-3: Alfredo Aceves has given Boston 2 2/3 scoreless innings, sparing the bullpen any more work.
That said, it looks like Dan Wheeler up in the pen right now.
For those of you scoring at home, the Carl Crawford infield hit in the seventh has been changed to an error.
End 7th, Rays 12-3: David Ortiz's RBI single gives fans reason to clap for a bit. Darnell McDonald's strikeout with runners on the corners to end it gives them reason to leave.
It's a mass exodus here at Fenway. No more booze, and not a lot of good baseball. Might as well beat the traffic.
By the way, even a day after a shutout by Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox' team ERA is now back above 7.00. It sits at 7.02 entering the eighth.
9:44 p.m.: If that doesn't sum up the Red Sox' struggles, I don't know what does. They load the bases with no outs and get cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis to the plate.
Youkilis, who is struggling, has a rare line drive. Of course, it is caught by second baseman Ben Zobrist, who doubles off Dustin Pedroia at second.
Joe Maddon then made a pitching change. Lefty Cesar Ramos is on to face David Ortiz.
Mid 7th, Rays 12-2: With this loss, if in fact the Rays don't collapse, the Red Sox will be tied for the worst record in baseball with Tampa Bay and possibly Seattle and Houston (both are 2-7 entering the night).
It's so hard to compare baseball with other sports in terms of the significance of games, but I always look at that 10-game chunk as one way to compare it to football. It is 1/16 of the season, so akin to one game in the NFL. That would make Boston's start akin to the Pats losing 45-10 to the Bills at home in Week 1. Or something like that.
Probably a crap analogy. But work with me here.
End 6th, Rays 12-2: Sorry, jumped the gun on the end of the sixth there. Just had a feeling the Red Sox weren't going to score. And heck I was right.
Marco Scutaro grounded into a double play to end any threat. We may see some regulars sat down pretty soon. Oh wait, as I say that Darnell McDonald takes over in right and Jed Lowrie has replaced Adrian Gonzalez at first.
9:28 p.m.: Don't change the channel yet. Unless there is a really good House Hunters on, then go ahead. But you should know that the Red Sox got two on in the sixth and have run Jeremy Hellickson from the game.
The new Tampa Bay pitcher is Adam Russell.
Mid 6th, Rays 12-2: Tim Wakefield goes 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and walking one.
The Rays have begun to empty the bench. Hard to imagine a team struggling as much as they have been putting it in cruise control in the sixth inning at Fenway, but that's what we're dealing with right now.
9:11 p.m.: Another poor night for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, whose passed ball and subsequent drop allows Sam Fuld to score from third.
Speaking of Fuld, he's doing everything he can to make the Rays forget about Carl Crawford. Playing Crawford's position, Fuld is a single shy of the cycle and had a fantastic diving catch last inning. Pretty good little player from Durham, NH.
Fuld's run was only the tip of the iceberg. Ben Zobrist later added a two-run double that chased Tim Wakefield. Alfredo Aceves is coming on for the third time in four games since being called up.
End 5th, Rays 9-2: Carl Crawford picked up his first extra-base hit as a member of the Red Sox with a double to lead off the fifth. Kevin Youkilis later walked but David Ortiz hit into the shift and the side is retired.
Boston is 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Crawford's hit went to right, but he is a guy that sprays the ball around a bit and won't have the power to hit too many out there. He has four home runs in 80 career games in this park. Just doesn't cater to him to get many longballs, but he should get his fair share of triples on balls rattling around in right or in the triangle.
Heck, we've already seen Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz do that.
Mid 5th, Rays 9-2: Marco Scutaro booted one (it went in the books as a single) to allow B.J. Upton to reach, and John Jaso doubled him home. That gives the Rays enough runs to match their season high.
Carl Crawford carries a .125 average to the plate to begin the fifth.
End 4th, Rays 8-2: This is developing into one of those nights. It'll end 13-11 at 12:30 a.m. or something like that.
David Ortiz tripled and scored in the fourth, becoming the only AL player with at least one three-bagger in each of the last 12 seasons. It was the Red Sox' second triple of the season, the first coming from Adrian Gonzalez in the third.
Can you imagine the Vegas odds on that being the case? Six million to one? Something like that?
Not to take credit from Ortiz, but B.J. Upton drifted back on that ball without much purpose. It hit at the base of the wall and he wasn't going full speed at any point. Could've made the play.
Mid 4th, Rays 8-1: The Rays got the run right back, but the legs of Jacoby Ellsbury prevented it from being worse. He made a diving grab of a Matt Joyce liner with a man on for the second out and then raced in to snag Dan Johnson's flare for the final out.
End 3rd, Rays 7-1: The Red Sox made two big offseason additions. One of them — Carl Crawford — could've run two laps around the bases one the drive to right field that got past a diving Matt Joyce and rolled around in the corner.
Unfortunately, it was the other one, Adrian Gonzalez, who hit it. Gonzalez does not possess speed, but he had enough to motor into third with an RBI triple. Dustin Pedroia, who walked, came in to score.
Mid 3rd, Rays 7-0: Terry Francona said in spring training that one problem he had was figuring out how to use Tim Wakefield. Well, when your starters continue to stink up the joint (the Beckett and Lester starts notwithstanding), it's easy to get Wake in there, and he's been very good.
Wakefield comes on, promptly picks off B.J. Upton at second base and then induces a 4-6-3 double play that had this place as loud as it's been all homestand.
7:59 p.m.: A soft single by B.J. Upton and a walk to Felipe Lopez and Daisuke Matsuzaka walks off to a chorus of boos. What to do…
Tim Wakefield is taking over. He has been very effective in limited duty so far, posting a 0.500 WHIP in six innings.
End 2nd, Rays 7-0: On a positive note, at least the Red Sox didn't strand any runners in the second.
Nobody even sniffed safety. Two weak grounders and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's 10th strikeout in 23 at-bats gets Jeremy Hellickson through the frame with no issues.
This is about the time Daisuke Matsuzaka settles in. So you have that going for you.
Mid 2nd, Rays 7-0: Tim Wakefield warming with no outs in the second inning is a bad sign.
Let's recap what just took place. Double, walk, single, double (scored two runs), single (scored two runs), home run (scored two runs), single.
Then Daisuke Matsuzaka settled down, so it's all good. Just needed to work out a few kinks.
The Rays score six times and have more runs than they've scored in all but one of their games so far.
Matsuzaka has thrown 30-of-41 pitches for strikes, but they are getting way too much of the plate. It's a bit of a departure from what normally does him in. He often avoids throwing strikes at all costs and often finishes with as many walks as hits, or more. Just one walk in that whole mess signals he is just grooving everything.
7:38 p.m.: There are no outs in the top of the second inning, but six runs are already in against Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is hearing it from the crowd. Sam Fuld just went deep on the first pitch. Rays up 7-0 and it's ugly here, folks.
End 1st, Rays 1-0: More issues with runners in scoring position for the Red Sox, although it was just one at-bat.
After walks to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis with two outs, David Ortiz grounds to first base to end the threat against young Jeremy Hellickson.
With that one out, Boston falls to 17-for-86 (.198) with runners in scoring position. Terry Francona admitted prior to the game that some guys are "trying to do too much" in those situations.
Mid 1st, Rays 1-0: Johnny Damon took the first pitch he has seen at Fenway Park since 2009 and crushes it into the Rays bullpen for a solo homer in the top of the first.
This Rays club has scored exactly one run six times. To get an early one on the board is huge, and further indication that Damon is doing what he can to lead this team, even if the production isn't quite there.
6:57 p.m.: It is career start no. 100 for Daisuke Matsuzaka. It is also Jason Varitek's 39th birthday. It's also the first time that I've order a cheeseburger and had this response: "Do you want cheese on that?"
Um, yeah if you can scrounge some up.
Anyway, Matsuzaka had his usual early-inning struggles his last time out before settling down a bit. That was a major issue last season. He might finish his start by retiring the last eight he faced, but it only gets him through five innings because he threw 76 pitches in the first 2 1/3, or something like that.
Matsuzaka's ERA in the first inning in 2010 was 7.56. It was 1.44, 3.24 and 3.60 in the next three innings, respectively.
6:13 p.m.: Johnny Damon met with the media in the Rays dugout a little while ago. He said he is unsure what kind of reception he will get tonight in his first game back at Fenway not as a member of the New York Yankees (Damon's Detroit Tigers came here once last year but Damon was hurt).
Damon also shed some light on the team's loss of Manny Ramirez late last week.
"It ended so abruptly, it's sad." Damon said.
The Tampa Bay DH, who has taken on an almost instantaneous leadership role with the floundering club, said he heard that Ramirez was going to travel a bit and try to enjoy some time with his family. Drug tests or no drug tests, Damon feels that his former teammate does deserve that.
"After 18, 19 years, it's time for him to walk away," Damon said. "It's unfortunate it's under these terms."
Damon said the team"counted on" Ramirez. Damon himself thought 25 home runs and 100 RBIs was a reasonable goal for Ramirez, who would be hitting in the cleanup spot most of the year.
As for his treatment by the fans at Fenway since he left, Damon hopes they realize that even though he played for the Yankees, he gave his all for the Sox. He pointed to the many times he ran into walls, received stitches, played through pain, etc.
It'll be interesting to see what sort of reception he gets now that he's in a Rays uniform. Damon bats second.
6:06 p.m.: Back upstairs and wanted to pass along those words from Carl Crawford and Dan Wheeler from earlier.
Crawford was asked primarily about himself and his former team, and whether either entity will get it going soon.
"I think I'm just playing [and not pressing]," he said. "Yesterday, I didn't think I was pressing, hit the ball well. Gotta find the hole…Things haven't been going my way so I just have to keep playing."
As for his former team, which limps in 1-8, Crawford said they will turn it around "at some point."
Wheeler said he won't feel awkward at all if and when he faces his old team. He's a veteran who has bounced around a bit so it won't mean much once the game gets going.
"After the first pitch It'll be OK. It's not the first time I've done this," Wheeler said.
Both players were asked the difference between Terry Francona and Joe Maddon. Crawford politely declined answering, saying he didn't want to stir anything up. Wheeler got a bit more into it.
"Tito is a little more traditional. Joe is a little more out there," Wheeler said. "I've really enjoyed both."
4:45 p.m.: Just a few minutes until Johnny Damon addresses the media here at Fenway Park.
A quick couple of notes in the meantime.
To begin with, Adrian Gonzalez is just fine after being hit in the hand with a CC Sabathia heater last night, according to Terry Francona.
Expect to see some changes in the lineup Tuesday when the Rays throw lefty David Price at the Sox. Some of that may involve dropping Carl Crawford, if he continues to struggle. That said, Crawford and Francona were both encouraged by how hard he hit the ball in an 0-for-5 effort Sunday. Just needs to find some holes, it seems.
OK, heading down to hear from Damon. Back with more in a few.
4:19 p.m.: Just heard from Carl Crawford and Dan Wheeler about facing their former team. Also heard from Terry Francona on a variety of topics. Look for more from them in a bit.
For now, here is that vaunted attack for the Tampa Bay Rays:
Sam Fuld, LF
Johnny Damon, DH
Matt Joyce, RF
Dan Johnson, 1B
Ben Zobrist, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Felipe Lopez, 3B
John Jaso, C
Reid Brignac, SS
3:14 p.m.: Here is the Red Sox lineup:
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Still waiting on Tampa Bay's batting order.
3:06 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the sun is sort of out for now, but rain is on the way.
It shouldn't impact tonight's game all that much, but tomorrow's is another story. Keep an eye on the forecast for Tuesday if you are planning to attend, and check back here for all the updates from the park.
We will have the lineups over soon, as well as something from Carl Crawford on seeing his old teammates for the first time in the regular season. We also expect to hear from Johnny Damon at some point.
8 a.m.: Neither the Red Sox nor the Tampa Bay Rays have begun the season like they wanted to. Both teams will attempt to get things going in the right direction Monday when they meet for the first of three straight at Fenway Park.
Boston may have already righted its ship after taking two of three from the New York Yankees over the weekend, capped by Josh Beckett's dominating performance Sunday night. That gave the Sox a 2-7 record, one game better than the struggling Rays.
This figured to be the latest return to Fenway Park for Manny Ramirez, but he retired Friday after a failed drug test had him facing a 100-game suspension. It still offers a chance for Johnny Damon to make an appearance. He has yet to play in a game at Fenway since leaving the Yankees following the 2009 season, as he was out of the lineup when Detroit came here last summer.
It also marks the first regular season game for Carl Crawford against his former teammates.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will be making his second start of the year for Boston. He gave up three runs in five innings in a loss to Cleveland on Wednesday. Matsuzaka is 2-6 with a 5.09 ERA against Tampa Bay, who has scored 11 runs in its eight losses.
Jeremy Hellickson will be on the mound for the Rays. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.
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