Dice KO’d

Daisuke Matsuzaka has been horrible during his last two starts for the Red Sox. His ERA is an absurd 16.88 in September. After allowing 8 runs to the Baltimore Orioles last night, he looks like a shell of the pitcher who not long ago appeared to be the future ace of the Sox pitching staff.

Coming over from Japan, major leaguers had no prior experience with Dice, so the first time against these teams he was showing stuff they had never seen before. Now that he’s going through these lineups a second time, the players are getting used to him – his slow wind-up, his weird butt wiggle, the variety of off-speed pitches.

Also, Dice isn’t throwing as many first-pitch strikes as he was earlier in the season, so he’s getting into more batter counts, allowing the hitters to wait on his fastball. When Dice K isn’t locating his fastball for first-pitch strikes and keeping batters off balance with the off speed pitches, he looks downright ordinary. He’s finding out that he can’t just throw fastballs past major league hitters.

As good as Dice K was in Japan, the talent over there pales in comparison to Major League Baseball, and a drop-off in performance was to be expected. Consider this: he is technically a rookie and has 14 wins playing in the toughest division in the league. If this was anyone else, they would already have his name engraved on the Rookie of the Year award.

Another thing to consider is that Dice K was used to pitching every 6th day in Japan. Pitching every five days and routinely throwing over 100 pitches per game may be wearing him down. If I were Terry Francona, I would give him his next scheduled start off. The Sox have a comfortable lead in the standings, and some guy named Clay Buchholz who’s proved to be a pretty good pitcher is ready to take his spot in the rotation for a game.

I’m really not worried, and here’s why: Dice K is respected by his teammates and members of the organization for his tireless work ethic and loyalty to his team. He is a true professional who will make the necessary adjustments to be a big part of the Red Sox playoff run, in this season and many more to come.

6 Responses to “Dice KO’d”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I may be wrong about this, but it seems Dice’s run support for some odd reason hasn’t been that of the other guys in the rotation this year. Just a coincidence I’m sure, but a factor none the less. Did someone say Cy’ Young 2010??? He has much more to come for sure.

  2. Dave Says:

    You’re right about his run support. I brought this up on my Aug 28th posting. But his last two losses can not be attributed to his poor run support. Giving up 8 runs in one inning to the O’s is unacceptable. He’s a hard worker, he’ll be alright.
    Remember Beckett struggle in his first year in Boston also.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    with mr. dice k .. he is not calling the pitches the catcher is giving the signs which #33 gets from the manager. lots of pitchers have thier own special catchers they work out with, and have on game day someone who knows his every habit and pitch. a team maybe thats the answer.. plus alittle rest would be good this IS AMERICAN BASE A BALL BONZI 33

  4. Dave Says:

    Dice K has the luxury of having one of the smartest catchers in the game. Varitek has already caught 3 no hitters, and makes all the calls on game day. It’s not a matter of pitch selection, it’s his execution. He’ll get it. His win/loss record is not a good indicator on how well he has pitched this season.

  5. The RS Bat Boy Says:

    Dice-K’s next start against the Yankees will be the “tell-all” for how the Sox will do in the play-offs. He’s getting 6 days rest. If he can’t rise to the occasion (As much as I love the Sox) there will be several other teams who will end up having a stronger pitching staff for the play-offs (and that doesn’t include the Yankees. If they get in, they’re automatically “One and Done!”

  6. Dave Says:

    I don’t know if I agree with you on this. To be successful in the playoffs you need to have 2 quality starters. I believe the Sox have 3 proven big time pitchers in Beckett, Wakefield and Schilling. I think Dice K would be a luxury for them. That being said, I hope he no-hits the Yanks.
    I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for writing.

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