If the Orioles were disappointed with the Red Sox lineup last night, they should be really pissed off that Valentine is sending “Dicey K” Matsuzaka against the Yankees with the AL East title on the line.
Bucky Showalter would be justified in asking: “Bobby, is Matsuzaka your best shot?”
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last four starts. Matsuzaka is 1-6 with a 7.68 ERA in 10 starts this season, but he has yet to pitch against the Yankees in 2012. Opponents have a .295 average against Dice-K on the season.
If Bobby Valentine is the baseball genius that Lucchino thought he was last December, when he rammed him into the manager slot, he will, at least, throw the kitchen sink at the Yankees; that is, use every pitcher on the roster, as if there were no tomorrow—which there isn’t for the Sox and Valentine.
Bobby would give Dicey K the Sparky Anderson “Captain Hook” treatment and get him out promptly, before he serves up a Matsuzaka Meatball for a 3-run homer, and hands the AL East title to the Yankees.
Then, he should run in a series of pitchers to take full advantage of the lefty-righty matchups.
Why not use the Kent Tekulve Strategy? Put LHP Miller in RF, LHP Breslow in LF and put RHP Atchison on 1b; then, rotate them to the mound for favorable matchups.
Or, better still, call up phenom pitcher Matt Barnes and let him start the game.
How many times have we seen that used for a spot start during the season and watched the unfamiliar minor league pitcher baffle the opposition?
Valentine has 18 pitchers at his disposal; Lester is out with back spasms. So, run them all out to the mound tonight; they will have the entire winter to recover.
Or, maybe the Red Sox will just continue to roll over and play dead for the Yankees, like they appeared to do against the Orioles; then many will say it is the “perfect” way to end the season of the Bobby Sox.
Or, can we hope that the team will “man up” and follow the lead of Pedroia, who is playing with a fractured finger and salvage one shred of honor and self-respect by giving Baltimore a fair chance to deny the AL East title to the Yankees?