Fausto ImpressionsSo much for the big test against the Tigers. One has to allow for the type of outing that Daisuke had against the Tigers prior to the All Star Break, as there is no better offense in the sport than the Motown Cats. It's easy to set our expectations high for Matsuzaka based in part on reputation and in part on the type of results we've seen over the course of the last month or so. There are a few statement games that appear in a season that you hope your man will step up and prove himself to show the world what he's made of. It wasn't to be for Matsuzaka in this game, but there will be more to come.
Meanwhile, the third go round against Toronto is on the horizon. The lineup looks different up North compared to the last time the Jays and Red Sox faced off with Daisuke on the hill. Vernon Wells is presently occupying the leadoff spot and the Blue Jays are getting a little more from Frank Thomas as well. Daisuke has had some success against the AL East's 2nd place club so far in his career with a 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and .170 BAA in 13 innings of work. He's struck out 18 in those two contests, but has also worked himself into trouble with 6 walks. The man to watch in this contest is All Star Alex Rios, who is having a second consecutive monster season. Against Daisuke so far, Rios is 3-6 with a walk and a double. His OPS against Matsuzaka is 1.238 in limited action.
The Cleveland Indians Fausto Carmona just beat Toronto a few days ago. He has very similar numbers to Daisuke on the season with the exception of strikeouts. Matsuzaka is in another class altogether. Our man also has a much longer track record of success than Carmona, so we can project a slightly better result based on superior strikeout ability and a better feel for the game. Basing my prediction on the results that Fausto produced, tweaking for a superior Matsuzaka, I'm going with the following.....