Matsuzaka looking sharp early

September, 15, 2009

BOSTON -- Before Tuesday night's game, Boston manager Terry Francona joked that if Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a no-hitter he wouldn't pitch again on Wednesday. Well, four innings into Matsuzaka's return, he was throwing a no-hitter (it was broken up in the fifth).

Matsuzaka reached a three-ball, two-strike count three times through four innings, walking only leadoff hitter Chone Figgins in the first inning after reaching a full count. Matsuzaka later walked Figgins again in the third inning. The Japanese right-hander, who won 18 games for Boston last season but is making his first appearance since a shoulder ailment sidelined him on June 19, has thrown a majority of fastballs among his 54 pitches through four innings.

Francona was looking for Matsuzaka to have more control of the strike zone and he has shown that ability so far. The Angels and Red Sox are scoreless entering the fifth inning, with Los Angeles starter John Lackey having allowed only two singles and two walks through four innings.

ESPN's Pedro Gomez covered the Oakland A's home and away nearly every day from 1992-97 for the San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee and then became the national baseball writer and later a general columnist at the Arizona Republic before becoming an ESPN bureau reporter in 2003.



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