Monday, March 12, 2007

Rough Going

Daisuke got a little taste of adversity today after breezing through Boston College and the Florida Marlins. The Orioles managed to go deep on him twice, including a 3rd inning blast on a straight fastball down the heart of the plate by Jon Knott and another deep shot off a similarly flat and centered pitch in the 4th by Jason DuBois. Neither of those players is a quality Major League batter, but in the Major Leagues even the fringe player can launch a fat fastball into orbit. Welcome Mr. Matsuzaka.

The more I think about it, the problem with Matsuzaka's outing wasn't his pitching as much as his thinking. If you have two players who aren't up to making the Major Leagues, like Knott and DuBois, they aren't going to swing at a good curve and they can't handle the slider. That's why they're in the minors. The only pitch they are looking to take a big hack at is a fastball in the middle part of the plate. Even career minor leaguers can hit home runs on those pitches. With those type players, trying to make a roster, you have to assume that they are looking dead red and then you show high to set them up for a middle/in change up.

Truth be told, I wasn't able to see this game. It was on very early in the morning in Japan and I have work in about an hour. I woke up to see the highlights of the action. From what I can gather from the limited snapshot of the other at bats the fastball was otherwise well located on the corners, and the breaking ball looked much improved from the Marlins outing. It looks like he K'ed Melvin Mora twice and Gibbons once. Those are decent big league hitters, so there was really some good and some bad. Better location on the two fastballs and we might be talking about a 4 inning, 4 hit, no walk, shutout. It's Spring Training.

If I can manage to see the game action on a replay tonight, I'll replace this little blurb with a more extensive analysis.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger John said...

According to post-game press conference; Matsuzaka said they (him and Varitek) decided to experiment couple things when they got to the 4th period: how hitters would react and hit to high fastball and high sliders

Overall I'm not concerned; afterall, this is just one of Spring Training games. It's sad how many yankees fans are so quick to make a mockery out of this on MLB.COM messageboard

At 2:52 PM, Blogger neno said...

Dice'Ks red eyes(contact lenses) were cool.

At 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just drafted Kuzumi Saitoh in my keeper league - does he have a chance to come over next year?

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous PFT said...

I saw the game on Dice-K had trouble locating his fastball in the 3rd and 4th innings and was getting behind in counts, and the 2 seam FB seemed to lack his usual late movement.

One of the HR's was a fastball up in the zone, and the other was just right down the middle, an obvious mistake.

To me, he pitched too high in the zone for the AL and his 4 seamer lacked movement, so unlike Papelbon, his 4 seamer did not explode up in the zone which causes hitters to swing at a ball that ends up out of the zone. The only guys who will chase Dice-K's it up in the zone are those who can hit it, the others will just take it for a ball.

It is ST, so Dice-K is trying to find out what works and what does not, so nothing to worry about here. In the BP later in the game Schilling was seen giving him some advice on his release point which he may have felt was causing his location issues with the FB

At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daisuke said before the game that he would be experimenting (ie throwing some meatballs) just to see where they'd hit them.

The 3-4 innings meant nothing, and if you'd seen Dice-K pitch before, you'd know that.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to pft

He wasn't trying to "locate" anything.

He and Varitek said that they were holding back on showing his best pitches (he DOES have an exploding fastball with tremendous backspin, like Papelbons, in fact; however, he hasn't thrown it in spring training games). Its been Bostons' plan for the last few years to not give away gameplans or even an unfamiliar pitchers pitches in spring training games.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do agree that this outing should not be a major concern. On a good day, he does have a high 4 seamer that can strike guys out. Also his splitter can be K-out pitch. Neither have been tested in the pre-season games.
They might be hiding it but would make sense to test it out. Maybe against next outing LAD, an NL west team? I would specially be interested to see if his 4 seamers can get by ML sluggers with good bat speed.

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that people are overreacting to Daisuke's bad outing. It's Spring Training for a reason. The players are working on specific things and are not focused on results. I suggest fans do the same. He;'s trying to get a feel for his pitches and for Varitek; he's not simply trying to get guys out, like he will during the season.


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