04/15/07 8:00 PM ET
Dice-K mania comes to Toronto
Boston (7-4) at Toronto (7-5), Tuesday, 7:07 p.m. ET
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Red Sox starter and Japanese sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to take the hill against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. Matsuzaka was originally supposed to pitch on Monday against the Angels, but that changed when the Red Sox had a game against the Mariners rained out last week. As a result, Matsuzaka's start was pushed back by one day.
"I saw him in Spring Training a lot, obviously. All his games were on TV," Jays center fielder Vernon Wells said. "I'm sure he's going to be as good as advertised. We'll just have to be better."
Blue Jays hitters will be facing Matsuzaka for the first time. Wells saw the right-hander pitch in 2004 when he headed overseas for Major League Baseball's Japan All-Star series. Wells doesn't expect that limited experience to be much use on Tuesday, though.
"Nothing helps until you get into the box against guys you haven't seen before," Wells said. "It takes a couple of at-bats to get an idea of what all their pitches are and what they're going to do. He's going to be no different."
Matsuzaka has looked impressive so far this season. In his last start, he surrendered three runs on eight hits over seven innings of work against the Mariners. He's struck out 14 and walked only two in his first two outings, in which opponents have posted a .240 batting average against him.
Countering for Toronto will be left-hander Gustavo Chacin. The 26-year-old does not have overpowering stuff, but he's continued to do enough to win. The lefty picked up the victory in his last start versus the Royals, giving up three runs on five hits over five innings.
If there is a save opportunity for the Jays on Tuesday night, manager John Gibbons will hand the ball to Jason Frasor. The 29-year-old was named the new Jays closer after B.J. Ryan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left elbow. The role will be familiar to Frasor, who recorded 17 saves with a 4.08 ERA for Toronto in 2004.
"Frasor's the guy we're going to turn it over to," said Gibbons, who could also turn to Casey Janssen, Shaun Marcum or others for additional help. "They'll all have a hand in it somehow, but Frasor is the one with the experience heading in."
TOR: LHP Gustavo Chacin (1-0, 4.91 ERA)
Chacin will try and keep his perfect record against the Red Sox intact. The 26-year-old is 5-0 with a 4.29 ERA versus Boston during his four-year career. BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1, 2.57 ERA)
Matsuzaka will be making his first career appearance versus the Jays. The 26-year-old right-hander will be coming off of five days' rest, which is what he was accustomed to while pitching in Japan. Player to watch
Now that left fielder Reed Johnson is out for an extended period of time because of a herniated disc in his lower back, top prospect Adam Lind will have every opportunity to develop into an offensive star. The 23-year-old is hitting .382 (26-for-68) with two home runs and nine RBIs at the big-league level. On the Internet
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Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 1-1, 1.38) at Blue Jays (RHP Tomo Ohka, 0-1, 7.84), 7:07 p.m. ET
Thursday: Red Sox (RHP Julian Tavarez, 0-1, 9.00 ERA) at Blue Jays (RHP Roy Halladay, 2-0, 2.35), 7:07 p.m. ET
Friday: Blue Jays (RHP A.J. Burnett, 1-1, 7.07) at Orioles (RHP Daniel Cabrera, 1-1, 3.66), 7:05 p.m. ET
Gregor Chisholm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.