After adding Daisuke Matsuzaka to their injury-plagued rotation, the New York Mets aren't going to waste any time getting him the ball.
Matsuzaka will make his first big league start in almost a year Friday night in the opener of a three-game home set against the first-place Detroit Tigers.
With starters Jenrry Mejia (elbow) and Jeremy Hefner (torn MCL) out for the season, the Mets (58-67) are hoping to get a boost from Matsuzaka. The 32-year-old right-hander will take the mound in place of Carlos Torres, who was originally scheduled to start.
Matsuzaka, who signed a one-year deal Thursday following his release from Cleveland two days earlier, went 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA over 19 starts with the Indians' Triple-A team in Columbus.
Matsuzaka hasn't pitched in the majors since going 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts with Boston last year. While he helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series title during his 2007 rookie season and went 18-3 in 2008, he is 17-21 with a 5.49 ERA in 55 starts since the start of 2009.
Matsuzaka is 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six outings against the Tigers, though he hasn't faced them since 2010. Miguel Cabrera is 4 for 9 with a homer off him, and Prince Fielder is 2 for 3 with two doubles.
While Detroit (74-53) outscored opponents 73-21 and hit .314 with runners in scoring position during a 12-game winning streak July 26-Aug. 8, it has since posted a .228 average in such situations during a 6-8 stretch. The Tigers went 7 for 31 with runners in scoring position in dropping two of three to Minnesota, falling 7-6 on Thursday.
Cabrera had hit safely in eight straight games and 18 of his previous 19 before going 0 for 4. He has eight homers and 24 RBIs in his last 17 games.
Detroit will try to bounce back behind Doug Fister (10-6, 3.63 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 4.42 ERA in his last three starts. The right-hander gave up three runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings in a 6-5 walkoff win over Kansas City on Saturday.
Fister now hits the road, where he has gone 1-1 with a 5.70 ERA in his past five outings. He is, however, 3-3 with a 1.74 ERA in his last nine regular-season starts against NL foes.
Fister has never faced the Mets, who are 17-6 in interleague play dating to July 2012. The Tigers have won nine of 10 at home against the NL but are 0-4 in such games on the road.
New York, which has lost six of 10, is coming off a two-game split with Atlanta after falling 4-1 in 10 innings Wednesday. Greg Burke gave up a three-run homer in the 10th on his first pitch since he was recalled from the minors Sunday.
"Baseball's fast sometimes," Burke said. "Stuff happens quick - and it did."
New York has taken eight of 12 from Detroit since 2004, including five of six at home.
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- Detroit Tigers
- Daisuke Matsuzaka
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