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The 606 - July 25, 2010
Dan Port | Sunday July 25th, 2010
Dice-K closes the series against Fister in Seattle on Sunday. (AP)
Dice-K closes the series against Fister in Seattle on Sunday. (AP)

Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Sunday, July 25th.

Yesterday, rookie Madison Bumgarner continued to make a good impression as a major league pitcher, going 7 strong innings and allowing just 2 runs while striking out 7 in a Giants victory over the Diamondbacks.

Win: Madison Bumgarner (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 1.14 WHIP)

The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 90-76-50, 3.83 ERA (568 ER in 1336.1 IP)

Dice-K closes the series against Fister in Seattle on Sunday. (AP)

Today in the 606, a Japanese import leads his Red Sox against the Seattle Mariners and a hurler who was among the league leaders in ERA for the first couple months of the season and is looking to regain his form.

RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka - BOS (7-3, 4.29 ERA) vs. RHP Doug Fister - SEA (3-6, 3.56 ERA)
Daisuke Matsuzaka has provided some stability lately for the Red Sox, a team that has suffered through a myriad of sub-par performances and Three Stooges-esque injuries this season.  After a rough beginning in which he missed the first month of the season and then posted a 7.89 ERA in his first 4 starts (19 earned runs in 21.2 innings) of May, Dice-K has come on strong, notching a 2.89 ERA and allowing just 18 earned runs and 42 hits in his last 9 starts (56 innings).  His latest outing was a 6.2 inning, 2 hit, 1 run, 6 strikeout effort in Oakland, one of his best starts of the year.  He isn't logging a lot of innings this year and has gone over 6.2 innings just twice in 13 starts, but the Boston bullpen has allowed him to work quality innings and his 7-3 record is a reflection of that.  Matsuzaka hasn't faced the Mariners yet this year, and in 6 career starts he is 2-1 with a 3.99 ERA, which is pretty much in line with his overall career numbers.

Doug Fister was riding high early in the 2010 major league season.  The 26 year-old Fresno State product was shocking most of baseball with an ERA around or under 2.00 and he was clearly one of the bright spots for a struggling and disappointing Seattle Mariners squad.  He entered his start on May 31st with a 2.03 ERA, good for the top spot in the American League, before allowing 5 runs in 7.2 innings and raising that number to 2.45.  He went on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue after that, and returned on June 26th for a 4 inning, 4 run loss to the Brewers.  Since that DL stint, Fister has posted a 6.49 ERA in 5 games (26.1 innings) and has generally lost his early season luster.  He hasn't won since May 14th (0-5 in 8 starts), but has still posted some solid outings, including a 6 inning, 7 hit, 3 run, 6 strikeout effort in his latest game, a loss to the White Sox.  Fister stands tall at 6'8" and his lanky frame might give the impression that he's a hard-tosser, but he is more of a finesse pitcher that relies on location and deception, so he may just need some time to readjust after his time away from the mound.  The Mariners are hoping that Fister is now back on track and able to provide some rotation help after Cliff Lee departed via trade.  He's never faced the Red Sox before.

Final Prediction: Doug Fister

Dan PortDan Port has been a writer and article editor for Baseball Press since the fall of 2009. He's a Wisconsin native and Los Angeles resident, as well as an aspiring novelist, moderately successful gambler, and avid craft beer aficionado. You can reach him at dan@baseballpress.com or check him out on Twitter @danport and at DanielPort.com.