Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — It’s seems like a lifetime ago that former high-profile Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was racking up wins for the Boston Red Sox in his first two seasons.
The 32-year-old righty underwent Tommy John surgery before the 2012 season, and after 11 starts last season (1-7 record with a 8.28 ERA) Matsuzaka has been trying to work his way back to the big leagues. He signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians in March and since then has been a mainstay in the Columbus Clippers’ rotation.
Matsuzaka was sharp Wednesday night when he led Columbus against a Bisons team looking for to win two games in a row for the first time since July 11. The Clippers struggled in the field, as their three errors in the game wasted a seven-inning, six-strike out performance by Matsuzaka, and the Bisons hung on to win, 3-2.
Bisons manager Marty Brown said Matsuzaka tends to be tough on young hitters because of the wealth of pitches in his arsenal.
“He mixes things and uses four pitches and it can confuse young hitters sometimes, because if you start looking for all four you’re not going to hit any of ‘em. It’s about commitment and really searching out a good pitch in the zone to hit.”
On the other side, Bisons starter Thad Weber was equally outstanding, allowing only one run on four hits over seven innings. Weber struck out four and earned his fourth win of the season, the most of any active Bisons pitchers.
The Clippers hit a few balls hard in the second inning, but the defense behind Weber made some big plays and he took it from there.
“(The outing) was good and I can’t complain,” he said.
. I made some mechanical adjustments after the second inning and got back on track and got back into what I normally do: command the zone, mix pitches and get results,” he said. “I think I did that pretty well.”