Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first start back from Tommy John surgery Saturday against the Nationals served as a kind of microcosm for his major league career: he was sharp at times, but inconsistency did him in.
Dice-K opened with a perfect first frame, fanning Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman, and inducing a pop-up out of phenom Bryce Harper.
The right-hander would go on to strike out eight batters while issuing just one walk, but he left a few too many pitches up in the zone and the Nats were able to rally for four runs (all earned) on five hits before sending him to the showers after five innings.
Matsuzaka tossed 80 pitches — 52 of which went for strikes — as the Red Sox fell back under .500 with a record of 29-30. Dice-K is currently scheduled to take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field in his next outing.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.