Rough second inning sinks Dice-K, Red Sox

Rough second inning sinks Dice-K, Red Sox

Rough second inning sinks Dice-K, Red Sox
BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's enigmatic six-year run with the Red Sox doesn't seem headed for a strong finish.

The right-hander was rocked for five hits and five runs over 1 1/3 innings as the Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays, 9-2, on a rainy Saturday night at Fenway Park.

Dice-K has been belted around in his last two starts, as the Red Sox continue to find precious little production from the starting rotation.

"It's really disappointing that I haven't been able to be there for the team, help out the team, for the past two games," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Jeff Cutler. "It's really stressful that I haven't been able to be consistent whenever I go out there. It's been a struggle every day between starts."

The game featured two rain delays -- one which lasted 58 minutes and the other an hour and five minutes.

"As much talk as the weather in the area was all night and the size of the system that was to the west of us, that was a thought that went through I think a lot of peoples' minds," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell. "Even before the game we talked about the potential of a day-night doubleheader tomorrow, but fortunately the grounds crew got it playable and we were able to put together a very good win."

Things continue to be rough in every way for a Boston team that has lost 10 of 11, and is 10-26 since Aug. 1.

The frequency of large, early deficits the Red Sox have faced during their rut has been staggering.

"It's tiring," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Guys are tired of playing from behind, I'll guarantee you that. And the bullpen is tired of just eating up innings. It's tough."

Since his return from Tommy John surgery, Matsuzaka is 1-5 with a 7.20 ERA in eight starts.

He is a free agent at the end of the season. Matsuzaka said that his uncertain future has had no bearing on his current slide.

"Honestly, I don't know whether I'll be wearing this Red Sox uniform next year," said Matsuzaka. "As I said before, it's an honor to be able to wear this Red Sox uniform, but it hasn't been an added stress for me."

The 42 pitches by Matsuzaka was his second lowest total in 113 career starts.

There was no warning for this implosion by Matsuzaka. After all, he had pitched a scoreless first, facing just one batter over the minimum.

But in the second, it all unraveled in short order. Yunel Escobar led off the inning by belting a solo shot over the Monster. From there, the hits kept coming. Kelly Johnson laced a single to center.

J.P. Arencibia was hit by a pitch. Adeiny Hechavarria smacked a double to left, bringing in Arencibia. Anthony Gose laced a two-run single, and it was 4-0. Rajai Davis added a sacrifice fly, and the Red Sox were in an all too familiar five-run hole.

Matsuzaka would face just one more batter, giving up a single to right by Colby Rasmus.

"Yeah, he had a good first," said Valentine. "First pitch of the second inning goes over the fence and after that, he made decent pitches. Changeup on the base hit up the middle by [Adam] Lind was a pretty good pitch. High hopper to the third baseman -- if they weren't expecting so much rain, it probably would have been softer, in front of the plate. If, if, if. But he didn't pitch well enough."

When Matsuzaka left the game, boos rained down on him from the Fenway faithful. Alfredo Aceves came on in relief and quickly ended the inning when Rasmus lost track of how many outs there were and was doubled off first on a flyout to center.

The Red Sox produced their first rally of the night in the bottom of the fifth, getting RBI singles from Scott Podsednik and Pedro Ciriaco.

Assuming Valentine sticks with Matsuzaka in the rotation, the righty could make three or four more starts before heading into free agency.

"The results definitely haven't been there for me, but there are innings and situations where I've been throwing the ball well, so that's the positive," said Matsuzaka. "All I need to do is be more consistent with that. Although it's been really tough, I don't want to run from this or look the other way. I need to accept where I currently stand and make sure I stay as positive as I can and look forward."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.