Hideki Matsui will retire as a Yankee

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Hideki Matsui already opted for retirement over the winter, but he’s going to go out as a Yankee.

The Yankees announced earlier this afternoon that Matsui will sign a one-day minor league contract with the club on July 28 in order to announce his official retirement. He’ll be honored at Yankee Stadium on the same day.

Here’s part of the official press release:

The New York Yankees will honor the illustrious career of Hideki Matsui before their scheduled 1:05 p.m. game on Sunday, July 28 vs. Tampa Bay.

Matsui will sign a one-day minor league contract with the Yankees on July 28 in order to announce his official retirement that day as a New York Yankee. His parents are also expected to be in attendance at the game.

Additionally, on July 28, the Yankees will hold a special pregame homeplate ceremony for Matsui, and the first 18,000 Guests at the game will receive a Hideki Matsui bobblehead presented by AT&T – which portrays the slugger with his 2009 World Series MVP trophy.

In honor of Matsui, who wore uniform No. 55 with the Yankees, the day’s events are to take place on the Yankees’ originally scheduled 55th home game of the 2013 season.

After posting huge numbers in Japan, Matsui signed with the Yankees in the winter of 2002 and spent seven seasons with the club before making stops with the Angels, Athletics, and Rays in recent years. He compiled a .282/.360/.462 career batting line in the majors to go along with 175 home runs and 760 RBI. A two-time All-Star, Matsui was named the World Series MVP in 2009 after he went 8-for-13 with three home runs and eight RBI in six games against the Phillies.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.