The SpringThe Spring has wrapped with a final Matsuzaka go round. It wasn't his best performance, but it was certainly enough to get by. Matsuzaka's problem the last 2 starts has been his abnormally high walk totals. It is apparent that he is displeased by the lack of control he's displayed after being able to hit any spot he's wanted for the last 3 years. I've been saying since he signed with the Sox that there will be times when we are all left scratching our heads about a game, as a result of the adjustments he'll be making to a new league, a new culture, and a heavy travel routine.
The final tune up for Daisuke was a 4 inning affair in which he gave up only 2 hits, while striking out 7. The downside was the 4 walks and 3 runs that he gave up to Philadelphia, including a 2-run homer to red hot Pat Burrell. That's the good and the bad of it. We'll see what kind of fireworks the man from Yokohama brings with him in his regular season opener against KC. I'm guessing you'll see the best of Daisuke Matsuzaka in that start and a lot of people will be super impressed. Let the naysayers do their nay saying now, while they can.
The last thing I wanted to do this Spring, before things get going, is compare the exhibition numbers of Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa. You all know I'm a Yankee fan and that I'm hoping for good things from Igawa. As I've been singing the praises of Matsuzaka to anyone who will listen, I've also been talking up Igawa. Yankee fans need to hear me tell them that Igawa isn't in the same ballpark as Matsuzaka, while Sox fans need to be told that he's a legitimate MLB starter, who is more than a consolation prize. The truth lies in the middle. Matsuzaka is a brilliant once in a generation talent. Igawa is a strong Major League #4, with #3 potential. Here's the stat lines:
Igawa's enemy is the walk. Always has been. Matsuzaka has been plagued by walk-itis in the Spring, but should get that straightened out soon. His 10.80 K/9 ratio is stunning. If he had walked 1 less batter he'd have a WHIP under 1.000 and if he'd gotten Pat Purrell out rather than surrendering a 2-run homer he'd have a 2.08 ERA. Nice.
For Igawa's part, the WHIP is about where I expect it to finish. His ERA will be a little higher. That K-rate is fair and I think he'll get the walks a bit more under control. I'm predicting 17 wins for Daisuke and 15 for Igawa. Matsuzaka's numbers will be better across the board, but Igawa will get the slightly better run support. There's nothing left to it, but to do it. Let's get ready to rumble......