Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka , whom I consider to be trade bait for 20 cents on the dollar, made his season debut against the Baltimore Orioles and confirmed my harsh feelings towards him.

Matsuzaka is a former ace who won 18 games in 2008, and a return to those winning days would be very welcome, but his recent injury history and his lack of control has made him quite erratic, undependable, and dead weight. So, considering his rust and predictability, I was not in the least surprised at how he fared against his first two hitters.

A struggling Adam Jones took a first pitch strike, watched as two fastballs and two curveballs missed, and jogged to first base. Jones is fleet of foot, and Matsuzaka kept a keen eye on him, but his attentiveness to the baserunner backfired in more ways than one. A pickoff throw to first was errant, sending Jones sprinting safely down to second.

Now a single by Nick Markakis could score a quick run for Baltimore, which came in with an abysmal 5-18 record. And they would get it from his talented bat as the young right-fielder began his grand day at the plate with a ripped single to left, scoring Jones not more than 10 pitches into Matsuzaka’s outing.

Life would get better for the Red Sox pitcher, but one run has far too many times been insurmountable a deficit to overcome by his team. He worked out of the first with no further damage and pitched two scoreless innings.

In the tops of those two scoreless frames, Boston managed to score, as David Ortiz slugged a Brad Bergesen fastball to right-center field and Jonathan Van Every crushed the first pitch of the third more than 400 feet to dead center.

This slim lead would increase in the fourth on RBI-doubles by the scuffling J.D. Drew and the red-hot Adrian Beltre, and Matsuzaka tossed a perfect bottom of the frame. Everything was going well for Boston. A 4-1 advantage was theirs and Matsuzaka had settled down. Then, it all fell apart.

Baltimore feasted on Matsuzaka for six fifth-inning runs. Five of which were scored with two out, with the big blow coming from Wieters, a three-run homer that gave the Orioles the lead. Matsuzaka was replaced by knucklerballer Tim Wakefield once Miguel Tejada doubled after Wieters blast.

That pitching change didn’t help matters, as Wakefield nearly duplicated Matsuzaka’s mediocrity by surrendering four runs in the sixth, the final two coming on a homer by Markakis, who drove in five runs overall.

Ten unanswered runs by Baltimore, and though Boston somehow managed to score five runs in the latter innings, including four in the top of the seventh, the incredible offensive display by the Orioles and the Red Sox batting practice style of pitching doomed them in recording their second straight loss against the American League East’s worst.

That is what this Red Sox team will do. When they get good pitching they can’t hit. When they get bad pitching they hit. They are frustrating to no end.

They have good pitchers, but they haven’t received many good outings from them, at least not good enough for their woefully inconsistent offense to take advantage of. If this continues to be the case as I expect, a lot more losses will be on the horizon for this underachieving team.

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