Tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the mound in his biggest start to date. Bad enough the guy’s gotta follow-up Josh Beckett’s ridiculously spectacular performance Wednesday night, he’s also in the primary position to dictate whether we head to Anaheim with a 2-0 advantage or at a 1-1 stalemate.
My thinking — my hoping — is that he’s gonna do just fine. That he’ll hike up the big pants and erase those second-half doubts that have had me itching before his every start since August. The one clear advantage is that the Angels haven’t yet faced him, a point noted in today’s OC Register:
But Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera concedes there is a fear of the unknown. Like most hitters, he is thrown out of his comfort zone when facing a pitcher for the first time.
“One thing I cannot get out of my head is we’re facing a guy we’ve never faced before,” he said. “When you face guys like that, you don’t know what to expect from the guy until you’ve faced him three, four times.”
To shorten the learning curve, the Angels will rely on videotape from Matsuzaka’s first season in the majors. Cabrera said he will watch tape of Matsuzaka facing “every third hitter (in lineups) — like (Baltimore’s Miguel) Tejada or Alex Rodriguez,” figuring a pitcher will go through his full repertoire when facing the opposing team’s best hitter.
He’s got the hometown crowd behind him, a steamy Indian summer night and a chance to fulfill all the hype and madness that got us through the off-season.
I can’t wait to see what happens.