Sunday it was Felix Doubront, who earned a no-decision after allowing four runs in five innings in the third game of a four-game series with the Royals. Monday's series finale will mark the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka will make his first start since being placed on the disabled list on July 3 with a right upper trapezius strain. While he hasn't been with the big league club for almost two months, he has been doing his fair share of pitching. He made five rehab starts with Triple-A Pawtucket, going 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 21 strikeouts.
The 31-year-old has made five starts with the Red Sox this season. He's 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA. In his last outing before going on the DL, he allowed five runs on four hits, including a pair of home runs, in one inning against Oakland.
The right-hander has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons. He returned on June 9 after recovering from Tommy John surgery, and not even a month later, he was back on the DL. Monday will only be Matsuzaka's 14th appearance since the start of the 2011 season.
While Matsuzaka and the Red Sox look for a fresh start, Royals starter Luke Hochevar wants to pick up right where he left off. Hochevar was dazzling in his last outing against the Rays. He threw eight scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out 10. He didn't earn a decision, but it was arguably the righty's best start of the season.
Matching that performance could prove tricky given Hochevar's not-so-sterling career numbers against the Red Sox. In six career starts, he's 2-4 with a 6.56 ERA. Those numbers are a bit better when limited to his three starts at Fenway Park, where he's 2-1 with a 5.21 ERA.
Royals: Platoon in center
Manager Ned Yost said he would probably keep platooning center fielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson. Cain has slowed down after a hot start following an extended stay on the disabled list, and Dyson is swinging a hotter bat.
"[Cain's] going through a little down stretch right now but they all do and you know what he can do when he's right. He can carry you a little bit," Yost said.
Cain is just 3-for-24 in the first six games of the current road trip through Tampa Bay and Boston. Dyson, meanwhile, has hit in 10 of his last 11 games, batting .421 in that stretch.
"Dyson's doing fine," Yost said. "He needs to keep focusing on getting his walks if he's going to be in that spot and keep the ball on the ground. But he's so much better than he was last year."
Red Sox: Loney puts on new uniform
First baseman James Loney made his Red Sox debut on Sunday after being acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers.
"I'm excited," Loney said. "This has always been one of my favorite parks -- just everything about the atmosphere here, the fans here, you got a lot of support and it's a good atmosphere."
Loney was 1-for-5 with an RBI on Sunday in just his fourth career game at Fenway Park. In three prior contests, he picked up just one hit in 11 at-bats.
After a 20-save season in 2011 with the Astros, Boston reliever Mark Melancon picked up his first save as a member of the Red Sox in Sunday's 8-6 win. The 27-year-old righty gave up one hit and struck out one in the ninth inning. This was his first save opportunity since April 8, the third game of the season, when he blew a save in the 11th inning against Detroit.
Matsuzaka has faced the Royals three times in his career, going 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Only three members of the young Royals team have ever stepped in against Dice-K. Alex Gordon is 1-for-4, Billy Butler is 1-for-3 and Jeff Francoeur is 3-for-4 with a home run.