06/22/07: Red Sox 2, Padres 1
Dear Daisuke Matsuzaka,
We're onto you.
Some of us back here on the East Coast were pretty stressed out last night by your entrance. I mean, we may not be as well versed in the strategic intricacies of pitching as some folks, but--walking the bases loaded with nobody out in the first inning? We happen to know that's not good. Doubleplusungood, is what that is. It was giving us agita, and we're too young for agita. Plus, it's not even a real medical condition.
That was a long first inning, especially for a late game. Long enough for us to go from laughing at the Padres retro uniforms* to debating theoretical issues--Is multiple personality disorder contagious via air, and has Curt Schilling's bloviating transmitted it around our bullpen?--to flailing in outrage. Long enough for "Come on, Dice, you got him, baby" to give way to, "Look how frustrated Tek is! He's like, get Wakefield in there to pitch this bastard! It can't be any worse!"
Getting out of that with only one run** was a gift, as they say, a fluke. "Damn, we got lucky," we told one another at the end. "This is going to be a horrible night."
We're kind of sorry about all those things we said.
Because after that first ninety minutes or however long that inning was, we saw what you did. You found your control. You found the Captain's mitt, which you had apparently not noticed earlier in all the confusion. Sure, you got into a couple more jams, but held it together and got the big strikeouts--nine of them, and some of them were of the big, exciting K variety, the kind that make a pitcher look truly masterful. We couldn't really relax and enjoy it after three leadoff walks, but in retrospect, a fine performance.
You do this a lot, Daisuke. The one scary inning, surrounded by dominance.
It can't be an accident. It can't be a coincidence.
Okay, it totally could be, but we suspect that instead, this is your strategy. You have an agenda here, don't you? You're creating a false sense of security for your opponents***. An illusion of fatal vulnerability. It works so well that even Tek and John Farrell are worrying their pretty heads about you. You're a terrifyingly inconsistent pitcher in those single innings...in the same way that Bruce Wayne is an airheaded playboy dilletante. And you're putting us through all this drama just for the climactic moment when you rip off the mask, reveal your true powers, steel up and shut your opponents the hell down.
Daisuke, Dice-K, darling...
Are you Batman?
We promise we won't tell.
* HA. HA. HA.
See the bands of orange and gold, so bright they caused NESN to melt down into a puddle of technical difficulties? With the weird font on the front that's less baseball and more Kirby's Adventure? Have you ever dropped acid to celebrate Thanksgiving? We think we have, now.
**That one run was batted in by new acquisition Michael Barrett, forever known in this house as "The dude who coldcocked AJ Pierzynski." We admit, we are vaguely hoping he'll see fit to lay a beatdown on one of his own teammates during this series. Or attempt one against a Red Sox pitcher and see how fast Tek takes him down.
***This theory would also explain why we keep avoiding letting him pitch against the Yankees. Element of surprise!