Brett Anderson has been terrific for the Oakland Athletics since being activated from the disabled list. He eyes a third straight win for himself and aims to stretch the A's winning streak to nine in the finale of a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum.
Anderson has been downright spectacular for the A's after missing a whole year recovering from Tommy John surgery. After giving up a run in seven innings in his return, Anderson was even better on Monday in Cleveland, as he scattered two hits over seven scoreless innings to get the win.
"I thought his stuff was good last time," A's skipper Bob Melvin said. "I personally thought it was even better tonight. ... His stuff was really good, electric."
Anderson, who is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, has faced the Red Sox seven times and is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA.
"Everybody was excited about the prospect of getting Brett back with the stuff he has, because he has top-of-the-rotation stuff," Melvin said. "He can be a No. 1 or No. 2. He's showing that right now."
Boston, meanwhile, will turn to Matsuzaka, who was also solid in his own return from the DL on Monday. Matsuzaka beat the Kansas City Royals, limiting them to just an unearned run in seven innings.
"My body right now feels a lot better than it did before I had Tommy John (surgery), and my body feels better than it did back in June," said Matsuzaka.
Like Anderson, Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery, but returned in June of this season. However, he went back on the DL following an awful outing in Oakland in July 2 that saw him get blasted for five runs in just one inning. He is 4-2 in eight starts against them with a 4.73 ERA.
Matsuzaka will have his work cut out for him on Sunday trying to slow down an Oakland team that has won eight in a row and has outscored the Red Sox, 27-3, in the first two games of this set.
On Saturday, A.J. Griffin pitched seven strong innings in Oakland's 7-1 triumph.
Coming off a 20-2 loss on Friday, the Red Sox tied a season high with their fifth consecutive defeat, and tempers boiled over in the dugout.
Alfredo Aceves, who was suspended three games for reportedly slamming the door to manager Bobby Valentine's office at Fenway Park. had a night to forget. The right-hander dropped a foul pop-up in the fourth inning and then got into a verbal spat in the dugout with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Aceves pitched three innings in relief of Felix Doubront (10-7), who fell to 0-3 over his last six starts and hasn't won since July 18.
Coco Crisp had three hits, including a homer to start the bottom of the first inning, as the A's established a season-best winning streak and climbed within three games of Texas for first place in the AL West.
Griffin (4-0) retired the first 14 batters until Jarrod Saltalamacchia bunted for a hit. Griffin allowed two more hits and a run and fanned five. Pat Neshek pitched the final two frames.
"The command is what we've always seen," Melvin said of Griffin. "Good curveball, great touch, spinning the ball."
Another win on Sunday would give the A's their first nine-game winning streak since a 10-game run in June 2006, the last season it made the playoffs.
The A's have won seven of eight matchups with Boston this season. The Red Sox were 6-2 in the season series a year ago.