Well, this is why he’s here, isn’t it?
The shocking posting fee, all those ones, the last-second plane trip to Boston. It was all for this: So Daisuke Matsuzaka, Japan’s biggest-game pitcher could start for the Red Sox in October.
Never mind the struggles of September, the fatigue questions, the walks, the meltdown innings. And never mind the historic debut, the 15 wins, the 200+ strikeouts, the host of team rookie records. None of it matters tonight, when the free-swinging Angels step up for the first time against the rookie pitcher with the highest expectations perhaps in Red Sox history.
On the other side, Kelvim Escobar — a revelation for the Angels at age 31 — has his own questions to answer tonight, and they mostly revolve around the health of his shoulder and his ability to shut down a healthy Boston lineup that looked good against a better pitcher on Wednesday.
A win gives Boston a decided edge heading to the West Coast. Daisuke Matsuzaka may just be the pitcher to get them there.
No Angels lineup posted at the Globe yet:
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Paul O’Neill Kevin Youkilis, 1B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Manny Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Jason Varitek, C
8. Coco Crisp, CF
9. Julio Lugo, SS
SP – Daisuke Matsuzaka