Daisuke Matsuzaka arrives for game (courtesy NHK Photography YK)
Showing a bit more confidence with his/her fastball, Mothra K-ed 9 in 6+ innings in defeating the also-sleep-deprived A's 2-1. Friend to Children Jet Jaguar (whose secret identity as humble shoeshiner Jon Papelbon remains hidden)** whiffed three to close out the game. Afterwards, everyone retired to the New Otani in San Francisco for saki and karaoke.
File photo: Jonathan Papelbon
Most encouraging for the visiting nine was the pre-game decision by Jason Varitek to NOT strike out in three of every four at-bats for the remainder of the season, leading to a productive run-scoring home-run-that-was-called-a-double late in the sixth that proved to be the difference in the game.
Returning to seriousness, the performance by Dice was solid, but not as solid as the numbers (or President Remy) would have you believe. It's good to see him having a bit more confidence in pitching to contact and working in the strike zone, as opposed to his usual horrible tendency to go Greg Maddox on us and attempt to find the last .00001" of the black on the outside corner with every pitch. But the A's were surprisingly free-swinging last night, showing nothing of the Moneyballesque patience at the plate that one would expect from a Billy Beane team, so don't give him the Cy Young quite yet. The easy 9th for Papelbon was a relief after his dubious performance in Japan. All in all, a quiet but encouraging game for the OTT. Now if they can only find a way to hit Rich Harden.....
** Yes, I know -- that's Prince of Space, and Jet Jaguar is a robot. This is funnier.