Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Well it wasn't such a dandy for Daisuke, but he got the win. I suppose it made up for the King Felix and Gustavo Chacin matchups that went against the Red Sox rookie. To be honest, I wasn't able to see the game as I was away on some important business for a few days. I have it on my HDD recorder (my new best friend this season) and I want to take a look at it more closely before the next matchup. I think a comprehensive preview of the next Yankees game featuring our hero will serve the dual purpose of examining what happened in the last game, as a way to predict what will occur in the coming contest. You all watched the game, so you know better than I what happened blow by blow. You don't need me to write anything up about the storyline, having been firsthand witnesses to the sweep yourselves.

I predicted in an e-mail to a good friend that Matsuzaka's pitching line vs. the Yankees would look something like this (actual numbers in parentheses):

6 IP (7 IP)
8 hits (8 hits)
2 walks (1 walk, 2 HBP)
8 K (7 K)
4 ER (6 ER)

Not bad. If I keep this up, I just might be able to make some money in Vegas. Last thing today, being swept was not a very pleasant experience for me. The Sox look good. I tip my cap to Theo Epstein for his offseason moves, the best of which just might be Okajima in the end (save Matsuzaka). Okaji has been a lifesaver for a pen that looks mighty bad outside Papelbon. The Yankees are a better team than they showed in that series, thanks to some hideous pitching from rookies and one HOF closer. Another great season ahead in the "Greatest Rivalry in Sports" (c).


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Wayne said...

Mike, the bullpen looked anything from mediocre to terrible before the start of the regular season, but up through the Yankee series the bullpen has been one of the best in the AL. They had the lowest ERA and second lowest BAA as of the weekend series. I don't know if it will hold up for the course of the season, but if the starters continue to go 7 innings a game, the bullpen won't have to work too hard. The inconsisent Sox offense and sometimes awful defense has been as much of a negative surprise as the bullpen has been a pleasant one so far.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

I think it's hard to get a good gauge on the season at this early point. The Yankees have been 8-11, or similarly awful, over the last 4 or 5 years in April but often finish with the best record in the sport. Likewise, the Red Sox have fluctuated and it's hard to imagine that either team will look like it does now in about a month.

The Red Sox bullpen will be worse. The Yankees starting pitching will be better. The Yankees bullpen will be worse (save Mariano, who will be better) and the Red Sox offense will be better.

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen both of Dice-K's starts at Fenway, and in both, he did not look sharp.

In the Yankee game, he did not walk many people, but his fastball command was off, he hung some breaking pitches, and he hit a couple of guys. His best pitches were the splitter and cutter. I think he should have used that splitter more, such as to Giambi.

His change up, which is supposed to be one of his better pitches, has been average.

In the Seattle game, even though he only gave up 3 runs, there were several hard hit balls.

I didn't see the other 2 games, so maybe it is a Fenway thing.

The main thing is to improve his command.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Dorasaga said...

I think all of us, and moreso the SABRE scholars too, can see that Dice-K WILL LOSE COMMAND.

I don't know if you'd thought of this, Mike, but I'm more worried not his command, but his hot-temper.

After Dice-K lost a hit to Giambi and a HR to Jeter, what the next batters after were facing more deadly pitches, especially fastball, 97mph consecutively.

Dice-K is one of those guys who likes to duel his opponent and overthrow. Sadaharu Oh was worried about this at WBC final against Cuba, when he found Dice-K throwing harder more and more. I don't want the Monster to lose his arm like that.

At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if it hurts Dice-K to follow Beckett in the rotation. By most accounts, Dice has good movement on his fastball, but he's following the hardest thrower on the staff, who throws 97-98mph easily. Batters who face Josh the previous day are already attuned to that speed and would almost see a 95mph fastball as a relief. I feel the Sox should start Wakefield in between Beckett and Matsuzaka, or even between Schilling and Beckett. Knuckleballers can throw off hitters' timing for an entire series, and it seems to me you could really mess with hitters' minds more by varying the rotation. Let's see 'em try hitting Matsuzaka one day after whiffing at 70mph knuckleballs.

At 1:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Red Sox bullpen is not nearly as bad as you make it sound. Donnelly has been practically unhittable. And I know Romero's #'s look like garbage so far, but Tito has misused him; leaving him in to face righties even though he's a LOOGY. He can leave in Okaji for righties, but not Romero. And Kyle Snyder could turn out to be a diamond in the rough, as his peripherals suggest he has potential to be a solid middle relief option. Timlin is pretty shot, but he still has his moments. As long as he doesn't enter the game with guys on base, he's usually alright. Then there's Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen, Bryce Cox, and Edgar Martinez waiting in the wings. If that's considered a poor bullpen, then I'm missing something.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have the massively overworked arms of Rivera and Proctor (both of whom should be on the D.L. in no time), the fairly useless Myers (a one batter pitcher...and not a very good one) and Farnsworth (a one inning pitcher who can't pitch on consecutive days), and a slew of no-names, such as the immortal Colter Bean. Torre is so desperate for bullpen help that he pitched Pettite (?!) in relief on Sunday. Even the most foolhardy Yankees apologist would be kidding themselves to say the Yankees have any edge whatsoever in terms of pitching, bullpen included.


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