First things first: Who the f@#k was that guy in the Daisuke Matsuzaka costume last night?

Because the last time I’d heard anything from the real Matsuzaka, he was floundering in the minor leagues, on the verge of becoming one of the more curious footnotes to Red Sox history. A big-money signing who arrived on a tidal wave of publicity and good vibes, but petered out after just two seasons.

But the guy who showed up last night? The guy who gave up just three hits and no runs over six stunning innings? Who attacked the zone and actually struck out more guys than he walked? Who threw four innings of no hit ball, propelled by that bizarre, hip-thrusting, wang-dango thing he does?

Man, was I glad that guy showed up.

It was, quite simply, a ballsy performance that exceeded my expectations. Three freakin’ weeks ago Daisuke couldn’t get double A players out. Now he’s making quick work of the team that we’ll likely be facing in the ALDS? Well played.

I’m not ready to slot him in the two hole behind Beckett, but you’ve got to love a guy who pulls a majestic, six inning performance out of his ass when most of us were just hoping he wouldn’t be carried off the mound unconscious by the second. Even better was how he explained this sudden burst of awesome, per Ms. Amalie: “On the road back, I’ve been a burden on my teammates more than anything and I feel that I owe them.”

It’s amazing how everything sees to be peaking at the right time. If Daisuke is truly back, he’ll join the Triumvirate of Awesome, which includes Beckett, Lester and Buchholz. The bats have been wailing. V-Mart has proven a critical pick-up. A-Gon, the guy who is all glove but no bat, is suddenly all glove and all bat, thank you very much. And the sight of Ortiz going yard as a crisp autumnal wind blows across the Fens just makes everything right in the universe.

Also, the Yanks and Rangers and Rays all lost, beefing up our wild card lead while pushing us just 6.5 games behind New York for the East lead. How can we surrender the East when we’re just 6.5 games out with a 3 game series in the Bronx coming up? I won’t do it. I refuse to.

And after seeing Matsuzaka come out of the freezer to shut them down, I’m certain that Anaheim wants nothing to do with us in the post-season. That’s just how I like it.

Oh, and remember that time John Lackey wanted to be Ellsbury ‘n’ Elf’s roommate? So do we.