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Red Sox 5, Royals 1: A Visit From The Hypothetical Daisuke Matsuzaka

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BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 27:  Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Kansas City Royal during the game on August 27, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 27: Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Kansas City Royal during the game on August 27, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Daisuke Matsuzaka starts are almost invariably frustrating. No explanation is needed for bad days, of course. Daisuke practically makes an art of being awful, building up to big hits with slow deaths by bases on balls. Even when he's good, though, there's that sense of waste. Why isn't this the guy we see every time he takes the mound? Why do we get the bad Daisuke when this Daisuke exists?

Still, a good day of frustration is preferable to a bad day of frustration all else being equal, and today we got just that. Seven innings, five hits, two walks, six strikeouts, one unearned run. Yeah, he had some help from the seven men behind him (less so the one in front, with Salty being spared a pair of errors by a generous scorekeeper), but there's no denying that he was quality on the mound today, plain and simple.

The offensive attack was not quite as impressive as in the last two games in the series, but it came with perhaps the most exciting individual performance from Jacoby Ellsbury. We've seen flashes of 2009 Ellsbury of late, with nine his in 20 at bats. Tonight, though, there was the first sighting of 2011 Ellsbury, as the center fielder found the right field stands in the first on a high fastball and then planted a double off the Monster in the sixth. There was power in that bat tonight.

Cody Ross had power, too, just missing a home run in the third and then driving Ellsbury in in the sixth with another wall ball double. But that's pretty standard issue for Cody, who just abuses that left field wall with regularity.

These are the Royals, of course, so all successes are somewhat...dampened...but wins help clear the air and give this new era in Red Sox history a brighter beginning. And it makes sure the Sox will have at least the one series win in August. Can't complain about that.