While the hottest team in baseball (The Colorado Rockies, 21 wins in the last 22 games, including sweeps in both rounds of the play-offs) has been sitting at home since the 15th of October the ALCS is going to a game seven.
Down 3-1 the Red Sox have forced a game seven behind the pitching of Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling and now it's down to one of the biggest signings of 2007.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (15-12 regular season, 0-1 postseason) will face off against Jake Westbrook (6-9, 1-1) for the second time in this series. Westbrook and the Tribe took game three 4-2 and knocked Matsuzaka out after four and 2/3rds innings of work.
D-Mat (not Dice-K) will be under pressure to deliver by the Red Sox Nation. Having someone spend 103 million dollars on you will do that.
Matsuzaka was not quite the sensation everyone expected him to be. Neither was he a bust. He was...just there. He has had control problems throughout the season (80 BB, enough for 6th in the AL although he tempered that with 201 SO, also good for 6th) and he has underwhelmed in the post-season in two starts despite a supposed reputation as a big game pitcher (I don't really know where that rep came from -- the Koshien? In the Japan League?).
Daisuke is also pitching against history. According to one of the announcers during game five (I pre-apologize if this is wrong) no Japanese starter has won during the post-season, going a combined 0-4 over the years.
Hero? Goat? Neither? In about ten hours we shall see.
Personal note: Honestly, I am not that big a fan of the Red Sox. I can't stand Curt Schilling and would have been perfectly fine with the Sox losing game six behind a sub-par effort from Mr. Was-it-really-blood-or-not? And a column of Bill Simmons whining about D-Mat and the Sox would just be annoying. I liked Fever Pitch though (the movie with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon). Oh, and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t12qml7up-o <-- of course this isn't exactly something a Red Sox FAN would want to see (or hasn't seen already). I am a Mets fan after all.
Game Seven of the ALCS will be broadcast in Japan on BS-1 from 9:15 AM Monday morning and on BS-Hi from 9:45.
Howard Bryant at ESPN
ESPN's MLB ALCS page
Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports
Kaz Matsui continues the streak of Japanese players making it to the World Series. If the Red Sox make it, that would guarantee there being a third year in a row a Japanese player has won a World Championship.
As of right now, the NHK BS Sports page doesn't have Game Seven listed although the NHK daily TV schedule does but originally had it at 7 in the morning.
The BS live broadcast (whoops) doesn't seem to have the English commentary but the night replay does.