Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 6/9/12


(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Thank you, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg.

It’s rare enough to walk into a ballpark one afternoon in any month of a long baseball season and be genuinely amped about being able to finally lay eyes on not just the one, but two of the best and brightest young talents in the entire game.

In their Fenway Park debuts, Harper and Strasburg gave everyone — the 37,309 fans, the beer and hot-dog vendors, the announcers, the scribes, the grounds crew, the ticket-takers, security crew, the clubbies, the players, coaches and owners — a performance right out of some fantasy league’s playbook.

Strasburg: 13 strikeouts — including a stretch of five in a row, seven of eight, eight of 10 — and then battling out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in his final inning with his last two strikeouts.

Harper: A laser-beam home run 420 feet to dead center and seats in the back of the triangle, a double and a single, one great running catch and two opportunities to show off his cannon arm.

Herald - Two National treasures

Leading up to last night's game, fans were stoked to see these two guys take the field.  When the storm clouds started forming, fears of a rainout sent panic through Sox Nation (at least in the world of Twitter).  But fans were not denied their potentially only chance to see these two play baseball in person.

I pretty much hate Interleague play, even though the Sox (and virtually all other AL Teams) generally fair very well against their NL counterparts.  It just feels like an unnatural sideshow and distraction in the middle of the season.  We need to worry about how we're going to handle Ortiz.  If we have to throw one of our corner infielders into the outfield (which isn't just an interleague problem this season).  Have to watch our pitchers step up to the plate and deal with all the awful consequence that brings.  We have to hear the term "Subway Series" spewed at least 12,000 times.

But without interleague play, Sox fans don't get to see these two guys play baseball.  At least not without trekking to some other ballpark in some other state.  Or, cross their fingers and hope fate has these two teams squaring up in a World Series (and that Strasburg's arm is still intact by then, and that the Karma Gods haven't smited Harper into oblivion).   As last night proved, I guess there is a point to all of this.

But as I stated in last night's recap, we got to face Papelbon and the Paris Phillies, and now we got to see the two phenoms do what phenoms do.  Interleague play has served its purpose.  Can we go back to losing to the Orioles now?

On Page 2, Guess whooooooo's baaaa-aaaaack!

A year removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the mound for the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon.

Asked what he expected out of the onetime Japanese star, manager Bobby Valentine held his palms up.

“Oh, gosh,’’ he said. “It’s hard to know.’’

That aptly sums up Matsuzaka’s tenure with the Red Sox. A rotation mainstay for two seasons, Matsuzaka has been wildly inconsistent and/or injured since, compiling a 5.03 earned run average since the start of the 2009 season and making only 44 starts.

Matsuzaka refused interviews, although the Sox did distribute a quote they said was from the righthander.

“Saturday’s game will be a special game,’’ Matsuzaka said. “It represents a new step for me. It is going to be a very emotional day, but I have to remain calm and treat it like any other start I have had throughout my career.’’

Globe - Matsuzaka set for long-awaited 2012 debut

I love Valentine's response, when asked what to expect of Dice-K:  "Oh, gosh.  It's hard to know."

In just 6 words, he managed to sum up the entire Dice-K era perfectly.  Here's hoping for the best!

Rest of the links:

Herald - Doubront can’t measure up in duel | Phenoms rock Sox | Globe - Strasburg and Harper steal the show | Nationals show off treasures | WEEI -Bard sees progress in one-inning outing | Sox to designate Byrd to clear Daisuke spot | CSNNE -Sox pleased with battles vs. Strasburg | Harper torments Doubront | ESPN - Nationals uprising rocks Fenway

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