Who is this Daisuke Matsuzaka that we’ve been seeing these past four starts? He was so atrocious in his first three starts, but now we are witnessing the pitcher who earned that $51,111,111 posting fee (plus $52 million for him). He was brilliant again Wednesday afternoon as the Mets blanked the Reds.
The Mets scratched out a run in the third. Reds starter Mat Latos led off the inning by hitting Wilfredo Tovar. Matsuzaka sacrificed him to second. He went to third on a passed ball and scored when Eric Young singled through the drawn-in infield.
Latos pitched himself into and out of trouble in the fourth. He hit Lucas Duda and walked Mike Baxter. With two outs Tovar was intentionally walked to load the bases to face Matsuzaka. He struck out to end the inning.
Dice-K also got into and out of trouble in the bottom of the inning. A walk and hit batter put runners on first and second with one out. But Daisuke Matsuzaka was able to induce an inning-ending double play to keep the Reds off the board.
The Mets have the distinction of being the first team to throw out Billy Hamilton stealing. Juan Centano nailed him in the fifth after he had been 13-for-13 in steals in his brief major league career. This is the same guy who had a professional record 155 steals in the minors in 2012.
Matsuzaka was back out for the eighth inning after 95 pitches. He allowed a leadoff single to Derrick Robinson, who was sacrificed to second. Hamilton struck out for the second out. Terry Collins then pulled Matsuzaka so Pedro Feliciano could face the lefty Shin-Soo Choo. That didn’t work, as Feliciano walked him on four pitches. On the first pitch to Joey Votto, Feliciano uncorked a wild pitch that sent the runners to second and third. But Feliciano settled down, escaping on a Votto on a fly out to end the threat.
Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He struck out six batters and walked two. His ERA, which was at 10.95 after those first three starts, now stands at 4.42. He evened his record at 3-3.
After sitting out Tuesday’s save opportunity, LaTroy Hawkins was on the mound to protect the 1-0 lead. He pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save of the season.
Mets win 1-0 to take the series from the Reds and finish the season with a winning record on the road, 41-40. The win is also the Mets 73rd on the season, which means they won’t lose 90 games, which is always nice.