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Sayonara

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  September 8, 2010 01:29 PM

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Last night's shooting gallery at Fenway got ugly fast. Daisuke Matsuzaka got booed harder and more virulently than any incumbent Red Sox player I can remember since the days in which so many people around here were being idiots about Jim Rice. Not that the pitcher didn't deserve the bazoo. He was stone awful, and saved only by the fact that everyone who came out of the bullpen -- with the exception of Michael Bowden -- was worse. (It was nice seeing you, Robert Manuel. Really.) But there was a loud and nasty edge to it when Matsuzaka finally left the mound in the fifth inning after giving up a bomb to Jason Bartlett.

It's past time to wonder whether or not Matsuzaka ever will make it here as a top-level major-league starting pitcher. He hasn't been the worst of them this season; based on preseason expectations, both Josh Beckett and John Lackey have been vastly more disappointing. The Millstone Brothers, however, are locked into huge deals. Meanwhile, once the check for the brib...er...posting fee cleared, Matsuzaka became simply a No. 3 or 4 starter making a manageable -- and eminently tradeable -- $8 million or so per season. That'll go up to $10 million over the last two seasons of his current contract, but that's still far from a dealbreaker. It's time to move him out of here. Perhaps he'll prosper elsewhere but, based on last night, and on his maddening inability to stand prosperity pitch-by-pitch, it's hard not to argue that he belongs somewhere else.

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