Matsuzaka closes in on club history

Matsuzaka closes in on club history

Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka has been baffling hitters, forcing them back to the dugout with fruitless at-bats ending in Ks, with alarming regularity. The overpowering rookie is just three strikeouts shy of tying Ken Brett's rookie club record of 152.

He has fanned fewer than five batters only twice in his last 10 appearances, totaling 67 strikeouts over that span. It is a mark ironically befitting of the phoenetic pronunciation of the man's name: Dice-K.

No dice, sit down, have a nice K.

With Baltimore sitting in fourth place in the American League East, Matsuzaka and his first-place Sox will look for the O's to help them extend their lead over the rival Bronx Bombers, winners in eight of their last 10 while systematically slashing a divisional deficit once thought insurmountable.

But Baltimore's surging second baseman, Brian Roberts, may disrupt Boston's plans. In his last 10 games, Roberts boasts a .341 average with 14 hits and 11 RBIs. His .315 average leads the club.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-8, 3.70 ERA)
Matsuzaka earned his 13th win of the year Saturday night in Seattle, allowing six hits and two runs -- both solo home runs -- over seven innings of work. He walked two and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts.

BAL: LHP Erik Bedard (12-4, 3.09 ERA)
Bedard pitched 6 2/3 innings on Sunday in an 11-3 triumph over Tampa Bay. The left-hander allowed three earned runs, struck out 11 batters and walked none en route to his career-best eighth consecutive victory. In July, he became the first Baltimore recipient of an American League Pitcher of the Month Award since Ben McDonald accomplished the feat more than 13 years ago. Bedard has faced the Red Sox only once this season, limiting them to two hits in six scoreless innings July 31 to get the win.

Player to watch
Rookie Dustin Pedroia is carving a sizeable gap between himself and his fellow American League rookies. In his last 20 games, he is batting .381 (32-for-84) with two or more hits in 11 of those contests. His .326 average and .399 on-base percentage are tops among AL rookies, He also ranks second among his peers in total hits (111) and multi-hit games (33).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 14-5, 3.31) at Orioles (Brian Burres, 5-5, 4.61), 3:55 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 6-5, 4.31) at Orioles (Steve Trachsel, 5-7, 4.88), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 13-10, 4.81) vs. Devil Rays (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

Larry Santana is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.