Matsuzaka will make his first big league start in almost a year Friday night in the opener of a three-game home set against the first-place Detroit Tigers.With starters Jenrry Mejia (elbow) and Jeremy Hefner (torn MCL) out for the season, the Mets (58-67) are hoping to get a boost from Matsuzaka. The 32-year-old right-hander will take the mound in place of Carlos Torres, who was originally scheduled to start.Matsuzaka, who signed a one-year deal Thursday following his release from Cleveland two days earlier, went 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA over 19 starts with the Indians' Triple-A team in Columbus.Matsuzaka hasn't pitched in the majors since going 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts with Boston last year. While he helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series title during his 2007 rookie season and went 18-3 in 2008, he is 17-21 with a 5.49 ERA in 55 starts since the start of 2009.Matsuzaka is 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six outings against the Tigers, though he hasn't faced them since 2010. Miguel Cabrera is 4 for 9 with a homer off him, and Prince Fielder is 2 for 3 with two doubles.While Detroit (74-53) outscored opponents 73-21 and hit .314 with runners in scoring position during a 12-game winning streak July 26-Aug. 8, it has since posted a .228 average in such situations during a 6-8 stretch. The Tigers went 7 for 31 with runners in scoring position in dropping two of three to Minnesota, falling 7-6 on Thursday.Cabrera had hit safely in eight straight games and 18 of his previous 19 before going 0 for 4. He has eight homers and 24 RBIs in his last 17 games.Detroit will try to bounce back behind Doug Fister (10-6, 3.63 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 4.42 ERA in his last three starts. The right-hander gave up three runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 6-5 walkoff win over Kansas City on Saturday.Fister now hits the road, where he has gone 1-1 with a 5.70 ERA in his past five outings. He is, however, 3-3 with a 1.74 ERA in his last nine regular-season starts against NL foes.Fister has never faced the Mets, who are 17-6 in interleague play dating to July 2012. The Tigers have won nine of 10 at home against the NL but are 0-4 in such games on the road.New York, which has lost six of 10, is coming off a two-game split with Atlanta after falling 4-1 in 10 innings Wednesday. Greg Burke gave up a three-run homer in the 10th on his first pitch since he was recalled from the minors Sunday."Baseball's fast sometimes," Burke said. "Stuff happens quick -- and it did."New York has taken eight of 12 from Detroit since 2004, including five of six at home.
Doug Fister throws breaking pitches 33 percent of the time, sixth most in the AL among qualified pitchers. As a team, the Mets hit .195 in at-bats ending with a breaking ball from right-handed pitchers, third worst in the league.
From Elias: On Saturday, Matt Harvey will face Max Scherzer. This is the first time that 2 All-Star starters will start against each other in a regular-season game in the same season as their All-Star matchup.
Only Hank Greenberg has more 3-RBI games in a single season in Tigers history than Miguel Cabrera's current total of 19.