Dice-K: Isn't he ironic?

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Dice-K: Isn't he ironic?

Back in 1996, Alanis Morissette released Ironic, a song about things that were in no way ironic. Here in 2012, Im going to write a blog post about Daisuke Matsuzaka . . . Isnt that ironic?

Isnt it ironic that yesterday at Fenway, Dice-K made one of his best starts in four years (seven innings, no earned runs, six Ks, two walks, 101 pitches, less than six hours); two days after the Red Sox threw in the towel?

Isnt it ironic that the victory was the 50th of Dice-Ks career, meaning that his win total has yet to equal the millions (51) that the Sox paid just to negotiate with him back in 2006?

Isnt it ironic that Dice-Ks first and 50th wins both came against the Royals?

Isn't it ironic that after winning 18 games in 2008, Dice-K has a total of 17 in the four seasons since?

Isnt it ironic that when asked about his impending free agency after yesterday's game, Matsuzaka said: I'm not really thinking about that at all. Right now, I'm more focused on the playoffs?

Answers: No. None of it's ironic, but it's all frustrating as hell, and another reminder of what a colossal bust Matsuzaka has been in Boston.

Of course, it's not all his fault.

The Sox still deserve a lot of blame for royally screwing with Dice-K's routine.

Think of it this way: Imagine Rory Mcllroy shocks the world this afternoon and announces that he's signed an exclusive six-year50M contract to play on the Japan Golf Tour (and that the tour had to pay the PGA another 50M just to negotiate). And let's say that upon arriving in Japan, Mclleroy's training regiment doesn't sit well with the JGT. They tell him: "Listen, Rory. You need to scale it back. We have a lot invested in you, and our research shows that if you keep training like this, your body will break down."

Now let's say that Rory listens, and doesn't train as hard has he did on the PGA and European Tours. Wouldn't you expect his performance to suffer? And if it did and in turn, Rory was blasted in the media, booed by fans and ridiculed by an entire country wouldn't he have a legitimate beef with the tour?

And then, on top of that, what if the lack of training weakens Rory's overall strength and he ends up breaking down anyway? What then? Can you imagine how much he would and should resent the JGT?

It's the same thing with Dice-K and the Sox. On one hand, you understand why they'd wanted to protect their investment, but at the same time, it's not like they signed him to a 10-year deal. It was six years, and he was still young. In retrospect, they should have just left him to maintain the same approach and mindset that made Japan's most dominant pitcher.

But hey, what can you do? What's done is done.

As is, just about, Dice-K's time in Boston.

Anyway, I was feeling nostalgic after yesterday's performance and hopped on YouTube to see if I could find any good Matsuzaka material. Of course, finding a good baseball video on YouTube is harder than finding a minority at Augusta, but that didn't stop me from trying . . . and finding two that pretty much sum up Dice-K's Sox career. The first is a video of Matsuzaka warming up in the bullpen before his first career start at Fenway (April 11, 2007). Listen to the buzz around the Park as he's introduced over the PA. Feel the excitement. I'm not exaggerating when I say this video gave me chills.

By comparison, here's the ovation when he was introduced before his first Fenway start of this season June 9, against the Nationals, after more than a year away from the team.

Wah wah.

You know, those two videos are pretty much a microcosm for the state of the Red Sox in general in 2007 and 2012. It's backwards. It's depressing. More than anything, it's just so damn ironic.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

BOSTON - For a bullpen that could use all the help it can get right now, there's the prospect that Koji Uehara could rejoin the Red Sox on Labor Day.

Uehara, who's been out since July 20 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw a bullpen Monday at Fenway that impressed John Farrell.

"He came out of today's work session in good fashion,'' said Farrell. "It was 25 pitches to hitters with good intensity to both his fastball and split. It's been impressive to see how he's handled the volume, and now, three times on the mound, the intensity to his bullpens and BP.''

Next up for Uehara will be a bullpen session Wednesday morning, followed by a live batting practice session Saturday in Oakland.

Since both Pawtucket's and Portland's seasons are over on Labor Day, Uehara won't have the option of going on a rehab assignment to face hitters before being activated.

But the Sox believe that he can build arm strength through these side sessions and BP sessions -- enough so that he could return to the active roster soon.

"We'll re-assess where is after Sunday,'' said Farrell, "and I wouldn't rule out activation [after that]. What we've done with Koji is just review how he feels after each session and we'll take it from there.''

Uehara, 41, is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA, and while he's had a propensity for giving up homers (eight in just 36 innings), he had been throwing better before being injured.

And given the performance of the bullpen in general and the recent poor showings from Matt Barnes, the Sox would welcome Uehara back as soon as he's ready.

"The one thing that Koji has proven to us,'' noted Farrell, "is that, even with limited spring training work [in the past], he's been a very effective pitcher for us and obviously, he has a chance to make a very positive impact once he does return.''

Uehara's progress since late July has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox, who feared at the time of the injury that he might be done for the season.     

"To his credit,'' said Farrell, "he's worked his tail off and advanced fairly rapidly and he's withstanding the intensity that he's put into [the work]. A healthy Koji certainly adds to our bullpen.

 

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Maybe Tim Tebow could be the eighth-inning guy? 

OK, OK. Maybe not. Still, the Red Sox will be among the “roughly half” of the MLB teams who will attend the former Heisman Trophy winner and Patriots’ 2013 training camp phenomenon’s baseball tryout on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Tebow is 29 and hasn’t played organized baseball since he was a junior in high school. He was an All-State performer in Florida back then.

Based on his accuracy and mechanics throwing a football, maybe DH would suit Tebow better than the mound.