Monday, October 22, 2007
Rox versus Sox! Thanks to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The Boston Red Sox returned to the Fall Classic, thanks to three strong innings (and two so-so innings) by the Hundred Million Dollar Man (that's a Six Million Dollar Man, thanks to inflation).
Sox manager, Terry "Tito" Francona stated that he wanted Matsuzaka to go five innings, so he could get the win.
As a baseball guy, I understand this completely. Matsuzaka had been knocked around, and had not been able to string together more than a few solid innings before collapsing. Apparently, he took this very hard following Game 3 of the ALCS, and spent hours, staring at his locker, hiding his face in shame, and checking his Citibank Japan account. Francona and Epstein were afraid that their prodigy would commit seppuku if he brought more dishonour on his gaijin benefactors.
So, Tito let the man pitch, Matsuzaka hurling his trademark gyroball and his blazing fastball to the Tribe batsmen. He went five, then his Samurai second, Hideki Okajima came on in relief, which ultimately led to Papelbon and an 11-2 Sox win.
So, Matsuzaka--confidence restored--can put away his blade...and prepare for the Mile-High atmosphere, the home of the Rox, and the free-swinging hitters of the Colorado Rockies.