Cabinet PredictionsI was fortunate enough (in the cozy environs of my own imagination) to spend some time with several members of Prime Minister Abe's Cabinet as they left a recent meeting in Tokyo. Several of the ministers took a minute or two to weigh in on Matsuzaka and even offered a few predictions about his next start versus Oakland. Here's what they had to say:
Taro Aso - Minister of Foreign Affairs
Exporting a talent like Daisuke is a wonderful gesture by the Japanese people to the baseball fans of your country. If all goes well, we will be mass producing these pitchers in miniaturized form and sending more of them for you to consume. Of course, the gyroball is a national treasure. That will stay behind.
9 IP, no hits, no walks, no runs, 27 strikeouts
Tetsuzo Fuyushiba - Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
The posting of Daisuke Matsuzaka eased the burden of one high priced young whippersnapper on the infrastructure. For what it cost us to support Mr. Matsuzaka's needs in Japan we can now afford to pay for 10 new whaling ships. Huzzah.
7 IP, 7 hits, no walks, no runs, 7 strikeouts
Masatoshi Wakabayashi - Minister of the Environment
Whaddya say? Matsu-whatsit? You'll have to speak up. If you're referring to the boy from Yokohama High School, I think he'll be a fine pro. I hope he plays for the Giants. America, you say? Never signed on to the Kyoto Protocols. Also, I don't like those Hollywood pictures these days. Too many effects and not enough story. When I was a young man.....
Don't you mean Philadelphia Athletics?
Koji Omi - Minister of Finance
I don't know much about base..........ball. Fact of the matter is, I'm much more of shogi fan myself. Cleats irritate my corns. Matsuzaka-san certainly provided a boost to the economy though. With Seibu sinking into the abyss of financial uncertainty, a certain Boston-based benefactor, who will remain nameless, decided to bail them out with a hefty contribution. Uh...yes. The Red Sox. Who told you that?
14 IP, 112 hits, 12 "four balls", 10,000 runs, no strikeouts
Hiroko Ota - Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Well, right now we've only seen Matsuzaka's rawest ability. Early on his VORP is only 9.6, behind Beckett, Schilling, and Wakefield among starters. His Defense Independent ERA, adjusted for All Time, is 4.46. I expect to see him build on some early success, and get his ERA+ numbers back into positive territory. He's not a 93. That said, he's not as cute as Yuki Saito.
8 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 ER, 10 strikeouts
As for me, I'm going with Minister Ota's prediction. She was right about Pedroia, too. She said he'd hit when everyone else was beginning to doubt. Go Daisuke!!