Amidst all the other drama, the Yankees-Red Sox game features a super-interesting pitching match-up, with Japanese free-agent-to-be Daisuke Matsuzaka facing free-agent-to-be Hiroki Kuroda.
Of course, as Joe Sheehan pointed out Thursday in his (subscription required) newsletter, their careers could hardly be going in different directions:
The two Japanese hurlers, with such different backstories, with such different presents, intersect tonight, one getting the assignment because his team doesn't have many other options, the other showing up as his team's backup ace, preparing for a postseason run. This isn't how it was supposed to end for the man they call Dice-K. This isn't how it was supposed to go at all.
Yankees seemed to have a HUGE edge in this one, considering that Dice-K entered the contest with a 7.68 ERA in 10 starts. Which made the bottom of the first inning all the more surprising ...
Ho-hum, another six-pitch inning for DiceK. Boy, if I had a dollar for every one of those I've seen the last six years....#RedSoxTalk— Sean McAdam(@Sean_McAdam) October 3, 2012
Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, the second inning wasn't nearly as surprising. Robinson Cano led off with a single, Nick Swisher walked, and then -- after Matsuzaka somehow struck out Mark Teixeira -- Curtis Granderson drove his 42nd home run of the season deep into the Bronx night.
With the bullpen all worked up, Dice-K did get out of the frame without giving up any more runs. But his goodbye to the Red Sox doesn't seem headed for a bunch of smiles and high-fives.