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Return from land of the rising sun

By: Rick Phillips

Matsuzaka returns from the World Baseball Classic to join his Red Sox teammates for the first time this spring with another MVP award. Once again the modest, soft spoken man from the land of the rising sun has proven to the baseball world he has the stuff to dominate some of the world’s best. Will he bring this demeanor, this legendary stature to this upcoming season? Will he revamp Red Sox hopes at another championship season? Last of all, do the Red Sox need him to be their foundation in their rotation?

Dice-K came off a very above average sophomore season with 18-3 record and a 2.90 ERA. He had a minor drop in strikeouts, compared to his 2007 season, but it appeared last season he had more control over his pitches and appeared to trust his defense around him a lot more.

As of now, it appears that Beckett and Lester both will be ahead of him in the rotation, but does order really dictate importance for the Red Sox starting rotation? Beckett who obviously struggled throughout the 2007 season, with a lot of inconsistencies fans are forced to really depend heavily on their boy from Japan to show that legendary ability he has shown in the past two World Baseball Classics. Matsuzaka who is slated to make the starting rotation in the third spot may very well be for good reasoning. He may very well be there to give Red Sox a consistency that Beckett and Lester may not give the team.

Undoubtedly, the three first pitchers in the Red Sox rotation are very capable of having a stellar season, maybe even a Cy Young type season. Beckett has proven in past years he has the ability to reach back and lead his team till the end. Lester who is still young, but whose potential could easily put him in the bracket of elite left-handed starters, finds himself in a position to further prove himself. Matsuzaka, who has for the second time now proven he can be the best pitcher in the world. He has done so but for his own country, will he finally reach back for the Red Sox Nation and show Major League Baseball his capabilities?

With three aces, the Red Sox put themselves in a territory of high expectations, and within a division of equal competition. They find themselves in a very exciting position this coming season. Red Sox fans find themselves wondering who will take lead for their beloved team.

Rick Phillips is a writer for and Email -


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