Dice-K Coming Up Snake Eyes

Daisuke Matsuzaka has hit a wall.

Hard.

In fact, the 27-year old from Tokyo has been under some heavy criticism as of late for possibly not living up to the hype, and $100 million the Red Sox shelled out, that everyone expected from him. But is this criticism warranted? Here’s a look at Dice-K’s 2007 season stats:

GS W-L CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP BAA
32 15-12 1 0 204.2 191 100 100 25 80 201 4.40 1.32 .246

Now while these stats may not blow your socks off, put aside how much money was spent to bring him here and the fact that he pitched so many years in Japan. For a first year MLB pitcher, those are some pretty good stats. So I really don’t think Matsuzaka can be criticized overall for his play. However his play as of late has been anything but spectacular. Here is a look at some of Matsuzaka’s key numbers since August 15:

GS W-L IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA
10 2-5 56 61 44 44 9 29 51 7.07

Like I said, anything but spectacular. He’s posted an ERA of 7.07 and averaged only 5.6 innings per start in his last 10 starts. If Dice-K is going to be criticized, it should be for this stretch, not his season as a whole. But honestly, I don’t think these past two months are really much of a surprise.

When you look at what life as a pitcher was like for Matsuzaka before coming to America, his struggles as of late aren’t too much of a shock. In Japan, Matsuzaka was part of a six-man rotation which gave the starter an extra day or two in between starts. Tack these days on top of themselves and that really starts taking a toll on someone not used to it. Another factor that has come into play is the fact that the season in Japan ended almost four weeks ago. This means Dice-K’s body is conditioned to have been done pitching for almost a month now. So when all the days between these two reasons come together, you are looking at around the time when Dice-K started to break down. It all comes together with a big shinny bow.

Now I’m not being an apologist for Dice-K because I’m a Red Sox fan, but I do want to help show some of the factors that are contributing to the starter’s troubles. This is why I’m a little perplexed as to why the Sox didn’t ease up on Matsuzaka a little down the stretch and give him more rest between starts. I know you can only do so much of this as you have a rotation to adhere to, but thinking ahead to having a fully rested star pitcher should also be a top priority. These ideas of why Daisuke has struggled can’t be news to the Red Sox can they? I mean if I broke it down and was able to come up with this logical reasoning you’d think a world class team like the Sox would have a clue too, right?

I guess they are just planning to roll the Dice-K for the rest of the season and hope they don’t crap out.

(And yes the last statement was in regards to the game craps. After all, this is a family site.)

Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.

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