The starter-turned-reliever will get the ball for the New York Mets in the second game of a single-admission doubleheader Sunday after Friday night’s matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks was postponed by rain in the fourth inning.
“It has definitely been a while, but it is something I have been doing, it is something I know how to do,” Matsuzaka said through a translator following a delay of 2 hours, 11 minutes. “I do not really want to think too deeply into it. I just want to go into the game and do my role.”
The 33-year-old Matsuzaka made 123 career major league starts before making the Mets‘ bullpen this year. He hasn’t pitched more than 3 2-3 innings this season in 14 appearances. His highest pitch total so far has been 56, but he’s prepared to go longer.
“I pitched yesterday, but just one inning, did not throw too many pitches,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “I do not think 100 pitches should be a problem.”
The first game will start at 1:10 p.m. Rafael Montero will make his regularly scheduled start, facing Arizona’s Bronson Arroyo.
The Diamondbacks are flying back to Arizona after the game Sunday. They host the San Diego Padres on Monday night, but the doubleheader was the only option for the teams that do not meet again this season and have no common days off the rest of the way.
“I’d rather stay,” and wait it out, Gibson said, “but I can see it was raining.”
Aaron Hill gave Arizona the lead in the second inning with a two-run homer off Bartolo Colon that just cleared the fence in left field. Rookie Chase Anderson allowed one hit and a walk in his third big league start for the Diamondbacks.
Dark clouds rolled in during the bottom of the third inning and the public address announcer made a request for fans sitting in exposed areas to move to protected areas.
After Colon pitched a perfect fourth, the grounds crew brought out the tarp and rain began to fall shortly after.
The Mets swept the Diamondbacks in a three-game series in Arizona April 14-16, but the teams are in very different places now. The Mets are 6-14 in May while the D-backs are 9-9 even though they were just dropped three straight at St. Louis.
Hill connected on a two-seam fastball from Colon after Miguel Montero led off with a nubber up the third-base line for a hit. Before the game, Mets manager Terry Collins talked about how Colon, who turns 41 Saturday, needs to use his off-speed pitches more to be effective. He started out Hill with a slider, then threw him four straight two-seamers.
Colon has had an up and down start to his first year in New York. He gave up two runs in eight innings in his previous start, a win over Washington, but yielded seven runs in 5 2-3 innings against the Yankees five days earlier. He entered 3-5 with a 5.34 ERA.