PiracyLets face it. Those of us who know what Matsuzaka is, expect him to have performances like his most recent. Nearly six innings of 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 run baseball with 7 strikeouts is par for the Daisuke course in my book. I realize that the Pirates are probably the closest thing to an NPB level franchise in the Major Leagues, so the excitement must be tempered, but the results are the results.
Daisuke hits batters on occasion. He hit batters in Japan and he's going to hit batter in the United States. The leadoff buzz of Chris Duffy was less a pitch with a message behind it than simply one that got away. It's been my experience with this player that some of his finest performances also feature multiple hit batsmen. That's just the way it is. Duffy was moved to third on two ground outs and scored on Adam LaRoche's single. The remainder of the game was a 13 up and 13 down affair, 7 of which were Ks. Dominating.
Daisuke's pitching line for the Spring now looks like this:
Let's now look at those numbers projected to 186.1 IP, the total he produced for Seibu last season. For comparison, you'll find the actual stats in parentheses next to these calculations.
132 hits (139)
29 BB (33)
15 HBP (3)
59 ER (43)
191 Ks (200)
2.84 ERA (2.13)
0.868 WHIP (0.923)
9.24 K/9 (9.66)
6.50 K/BB (6.06)
6.40 H/9 (6.71)
It's early. It's Spring Training. The numbers are ridiculously similar nonetheless. I have said all along that Matsuzaka is a Jordanesque figure who rises to the level of the competition. He's the kind of fish that will grow to the size of the tank, and when the tank is big enough to accommodate Johan Santana, Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, and Pedro Martinez, the tank is big enough to accommodate Daisuke Matsuzaka. Watch his ratios at the end of Spring and then follow me as I chart them through his first 5-10 starts. I bet you'll find a shaky game here or there, but in the end the ratios will look like this.