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Dicey Night for Dice-K Tribe Beats Bo-Sox 4-2 Lead A.L.C.S.

The good news? Boston Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne is no longer the most hated man in New England! The bad news? Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka has probably taken his place! Huge expectations were placed on the Japanese free agent pitcher's shoulders when he was signed to what was looked at as an exorbitant amount for a player who had never pitched in the MLB. But Boston was willing to pony up the money to his former team in Japan as well as to sign the pitcher to a very tidy sum. Dice-K as he is known by his teammates, started off strong the first time around the American League but seemed to hit a wall for about six weeks from early August, to mid September when he seemingly lost his advantage. There has much speculation why the early American League Rookie of the Year candidate fell from grace so rapidly. Some set it was the amount of pitches he had thrown , and was just out of gas. Other observers said that American League hitters had adjusted to Matsuzaka, and he had not responded in kind. What ever the reason he seemed to come out of the abyss in the campaign's final weeks.

Well any goodwill Dice-K may have built up in Boston during the last month, evaporated Monday night. Matsuzaka was knocked out of game three of the A.L.C.S. with just one out in the fifth after allowing four runs on six hits in two walks by the Cleveland Indians. That was all Cleveland would need when their starter Jake Westbrook was far more effective than he had been against the Yankees in the A.L.D.S. allowing just two runs on seven hits in six and two third innings. Cleveland won the game 4-2, they now lead Boston in the best of seven series 2-1.

The last time these two teams met in the MLB Playoffs was back in 1999. Cleveland center fielder Kenny Lofton trying to slide head first in to first base damaged his shoulder, and led to off-season surgery that kept him out of the beginning of the 200 campaign. It may have only been fitting then that Lofton who came back to Cleveland for his third stint in a mid-season trade with Texas would be the hero for the Tribe in game three. Lofton, hit a 2 run home run of Matsuzaka in the second, giving Cleveland a 2-0 lead and the Sox never recovered. Cleveland would score two more off the Boston starter in the fifth driving him from the game and giving the Indians a 4-2 win. Cleveland now has a 2-0 margin after taking away home field advantage from Boston in game two. Boston scored their only runs of the game in the seventh as Jason Varitek hit a 2 run homer off Westbrook. The two teams matchup again Tuesday at Jacobs Field for game four , Paul Byrd scheduled to make the start for Cleveland Tim Wakefield scheduled to be the Red Sox starter.

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