Matsuzaka will try to earn his third straight win and help the Red Sox split their four-game set against the visiting Indians on Thursday night.
The Red Sox (61-47) trail Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees by 6 1/2 games for the AL East lead and the wild card. They could make up ground in one or both of those races in a four-game series at Yankee Stadium beginning Friday night.
First, Boston would like to finish a seven-game homestand in positive fashion, and Matsuzaka (7-3, 4.22 ERA) might be the right man to make it happen.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in his last three starts against the Indians, including a 4-1 win June 7 in which he gave up four hits over eight scoreless innings. He’s 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his last four outings overall but was a little shaky in his most recent start.
Matsuzaka allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings Saturday against Detroit, but he avoided a loss when the Red Sox rallied for a 5-4 win.
David Ortiz(notes) had the walk-off hit in that victory, and he extended his hitting streak to 13 games - his longest in three years - with a solo homer Tuesday night. However, Boston fell 9-1 for just its third loss in nine games.
“Certainly we’re going to try to manage his workload before the game. That is the big thing,” manager Terry Francona told the team’s official website. “I’m excited for him just to be in the lineup.”
“A lot of (the players) are happy to be here and see the ballpark and all that,” manager Manny Acta said. “They’ve got an opportunity to impress us over the next two months.”
Tomlin won his major league debut against the New York Yankees on July 27, then allowed one run and four hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 2-1 victory at Toronto on Saturday.
“He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but there’s a place for a guy like him in this game because he throws strikes, mixes his pitches very well and is very poised,” Acta said.
The Indians’ last series win over the Red Sox was April 25-27, 2006, and their most recent in Boston came June 27-29, 2005.