's latest chance to stop his struggles may be his last for a while.
''If I keep going like this, I have no right to be a part of this rotation,'' Matsuzaka said through an interpreter after
being shelled from the start in the
' 8-2 win over the
Boston Red Sox
on Friday night.
He fell to 1-5 with an 8.23 ERA. And with
due for his first start next Thursday after six rehab outings, Matsuzaka could be the odd man out.
''We have the ability to be a little flexible in what we do. (I) don't know if it makes a lot of sense to do something before
the off day,''
Matsuzaka gave up a homer on the first pitch of the game to
. He let the first five batters reach base, got yanked in the fifth inning, allowed six runs and lost to his less heralded
Kawakami cost the Braves just $23 million for three years when he signed in January, far less than the $103 million - $51
for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka and $52 million for a six-year contract - that Dice-K cost the
Kawakami (4-6) allowed two hits and two runs in six innings, the ninth straight start in which he gave up three earned runs
''He was pounding the strike zone. We had a great game plan,'' catcher
said. ''He rises to the occasion.''
got both of Boston's hits off Kawakami before three relievers held the
''A two-hitter in this ballpark, you don't see that very often,'' Braves manager
said. ''He made good pitches.''
Boston still has the AL's best home record at 23-10 but kept struggling at the plate after managing just one hit, a homer
, in a 2-1 loss to Florida on Thursday night that ended in the top of the sixth because of rain.
went 3 for 3 with four RBIs as the Braves finally gave Kawakami support with seven runs while he was in the game. They had
scored just 24 in his other 69 1-3 innings.
''We were swinging early,'' McLouth said. ''I guess people had the feeling they wanted to be aggressive and we had pretty
Atlanta won its second straight game since breaking a four-game losing streak with a 7-0 win at Cincinnati in which McLouth
had two hits, a homer and four RBIs.
The Braves came out swinging against Matsuzaka, who usually runs up high pitch counts, and had three hits on the first four
pitches - the total amount of hits the
had Thursday and Friday.
The crowd booed.
''Everybody knows that I haven't been performing well,'' Matsuzaka said. ''As a professional, I have to accept (it) when I
get a reaction like that.''
After McLouth's 12th homer this season and third in 14 games since being traded by Pittsburgh, Atlanta loaded the bases on
a single by
, a double by
and a walk to McCann. Anderson's walk made it 2-0, but Matsuzaka escaped with a strikeout and double play, extending his streak
to 17 straight hitless at bats against with the bases loaded.
The Braves added two runs in the fourth on McLouth's RBI double and Escobar's run-scoring single. They made it 6-0 in the
fifth on consecutive doubles by McCann and Anderson that drove Matsuzaka from the game, and a sacrifice fly by
finally scored in the sixth with two outs on Bay's 18th homer, a two-run shot that gave him an AL best 65 RBIs.
Anderson drove in the last two runs with a single in the seventh and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
NOTES: Boston SS
, coming back from wrist surgery, begins a rehab stint Sunday at Triple-A Pawtucket. Two weeks there ''is not out of line,''
Francona said. ''We're not going to rush him.'' ... The teams have faced other in 11 of the 13 seasons since interleague play
began. ... Matsuzaka didn't reach the sixth inning for the sixth time in eight starts. ...
, who won the deciding game of the
2004 World Series sweep of St. Louis, pitches for Atlanta on Saturday night against
, the winner of the opening game of their 2007 World Series sweep of Colorado.