Look, we all now how this post-season is going to pan out: The Sox and Yanks are going to collide in the ALCS. But before that, we’ll have yet another mash-up with the Anaheim Angels. Which makes tonight’s game a bona fide playoff preview.

Am I nervous? Let’s just say with Daisuke Matsuzaka back on the mound (and thanks to VJ for the photo above), I’ve been mainlining Red Bull, Hennessey and Peggy Lawton Choco-Chip Cookies since noon. I can’t feel my legs or eyebrows, but I’m still of relatively sound mind. And that sound mind tells me… Matsuzaka will be serving up the game of his Red Sox career tonight.

Wishful thinking? Maybe. During his rehab, Matsuzaka could barely contain teams of the caliber of the Roger Williams University Hawks, let alone the best of the AL West. But I’m hoping all that downtime was a humbling and ultimately life-changing event for the guy. I mean, we know the mother-flipper can pitch–he gave us 33 wins over his first two seasons with us and led his country to victory in the WBC earlier this year. Even if the gyro-ball turned out to be baseball’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster, there’s a reason Theo and crew broke the bank to sign him. And I’m hoping he comes back tonight a goddam bullet-and-hellfire throwing machine, so that I just sit there, mouth agape in awe, muttering, “So that’s the reason.”

The last time Daisuke faced the Angels, in the 2008 ALDS, he gave up 8 hits and 3 runs across five innings. I’m calling for better tonight–seven strong and just two runs. And if he crashes to earth with a thud before the third? Hell, I’m ready to go into battle with Lester, Beckett and Buchholz.