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

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?