SARASOTA, Fla. — In his next-to-last tuneup before the start of the season, Daisuke Matsuzaka today threw five innings of no-hit baseball against the Cincinnati Reds, but displayed new control problems.
Dice-K struck out six and walked five batters — one in each inning — before exiting at the end of five. None of the Reds hit the ball hard, but it was rare to see him out of the strike zone. Only 59 of his 104 pitches were strikes.
Dice K walked the first batter he faced. Adam Dunn then swung at a 3-0 pitch and filed to left. After Brandon Phillips flied to center, Ken Griffey Jr. fouled off what may have been a gyroball. Griff flied to right to end the first inning.
He walked another batter in the second, but made the rest of the Reds look silly, striking out Edwin Encarnacion and Alex Gonzalez. Speaking of Gonzalez, he made an error on the first play of the game, a grounder hit by Julio Lugo. How’s that for irony?
We got to see Dice-K attempt to bunt in the third. With one on and nobody out, he came up to face lefty Bobby Livingston and showed bunt on every pitch, fouling off a pair, working the count to 3-2 before drawing a walk. He was erased on a double play grounder and did not have to slide.
Dice-K waked Adam Dunn, but got Griffey to pop to third on an 0-2 pitch. He walked Gonzalez in the fourth, his fourth walk of the afternoon.
He walked Dunn again in the fifth. He was relieved by Jonathan Papelbon in the sixth.
A record 7,663 fans turned out at Ed Smith Stadium for the nationally-televised game.