When a batter is slumping, there are a number of ways to work out of it. It can be as simple as taking extra batting practice or getting back to a usual plate approach if the batter has started pressing.
For a team-wide slump, though, you need to call on the big guns. You need Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Having trouble with whiffs? Let Daisuke put a flat fastball straight down the middle. Can't seem to get them falling for hits? Don't worry about it! Daisuke will hang some off-speed meatballs for you to put on a line or knock into the stands as you see fit.
Need some expert testimony?
"I was in a real rut before I saw Daisuke. With an OPS under .400, when I stepped into the batters box in the first inning with boos raining down from a crowd that hated my guts more than even my uniform, I was sure it was just gonna be another strikeout. I even almost faked an injury! But Daisuke knew how to make me right again, grooving a four seamer right down broadway. No deception, no movement--it was so good I didn't even have time to get in my own head before my bat was sending that pitch into the visitor's dugout." -Johnny Damon, Tampa Bay Rays Designated Hitter
"Daisuke is so great, man. He even works with groups. Me and my five buddies showed up to our appointment at the start of the second inning, and every last one of us made our way on base. This guy is such a professional that, when he saw BJ wasn't looking too good, he just walked him! Made sure everyone was satisfied. And when we were about to leave, he threw in a treat, letting our new pal Sam from Chicago wrap one around Pesky's Pole!" -John Jaso, Tampa Bay Rays Catcher
"How the hell did he get them to do that?" -Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays Manager
That's not all, though! Every session of Daisuke comes packaged with three innings of Tim Wakefield and a bonus appearance from Dan Wheeler! You're sure to score at least four more runs off of each of them!
In all seriousness though, folks, it was a disaster out there. The only bright spot on the mound came from Alfredo Aceves, whose eight straight outs helped keep the Rays off the board for the briefest of periods.
There were, however, some bright spots at the plate. While another poor performance in the clutch--this time 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position--held the Red Sox to just five runs to the Rays' sixteen, they did pick up ten hits and seven walks, including some important signs of life. Carl Crawford grabbed his first extra base hit of the season with a ground rule double, and added a single later in the game (a third hit was later ruled an error), Ellsbury hit his second homer of the season on a no-doubter to right, and both Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz hit triples--perhaps the most improbable combination of three-baggers the game has ever seen.
But the story tonight was Daisuke, plain and simple. And that story was bad, bad, bad.