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Dice-K is... Back?

Dice      In Boston, we have seen many different versions of Daisuke Matsuzaka. The 2006 Daisuke, best pitcher on the Pacific Rim. The 2007 Daisuke, who had trouble adjusting to pitch counts, and American ball, as well as throwing strikes, and was inconsistent but good enough. There was the 2008 Matsuzaka, who could waqlk 9 men an inning and come out fine. To quote Red from Shawshank Redemption, Dice-K had the uncanny ability to "...walk through a mile of shit and come out clean on the other side."

     Then there is the 2009 Daisuke Matsuzaka. Instead of having impeccable movement, and giving up walks instead of hits, Dice got generous and gave up hits to go with them. Then two stints on the DL totalling nearly all of 2009, and finally, having trouble finding consistency past Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox called up... one of the Dice-K's. The question of the week was, which one.

     On Tuesday night, we found out. Spotting a pair of different fastballs, Daisuke chewed up the Los Angeles lineup for 6+ innings, giving up a pair of hits, walking a few men, and getting five BIG strikeouts. When the situation called, it seemed Dice-K was able to hunker down and really get those fastballs over. Has he finally bought into American baseball? He still ran the count up, but not at an alarming rate (to be fair, it was the free-swinging Angels). But the most important thing I (and Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy) saw was a steady diet of fastballs, complemented with an effective slider and a breaking ball made much more effective by the use of fastballs.

     Aside from Daisuke's famulous start, the Red Sox got some big hits, and some very small ones against John Lackey and Jose Arredondo, posting four runs, with nearly the whole lineup contributing. On a day where Victor and Youkilis were unavailable, this result is simply perfect.

     Papelbon had his usual the-game-is-not-yet-on-the-line jitters, but put this one away and sent everybody home happy. The only Red Sox player since Keith Foulke to be booed off a mound at Fenway made everybody proud tonight.


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