Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2nd Chances

The Indian's Game Two victory has put an entirely new spin on the Red Sox position in the 2007 post-season, and a lot of weight has shifted onto the shoulders of Daisuke Matsuzaka. The fact is, had the Sox won Game Two and put themselves up 2-0 in the series, a lot less would be expected of the rookie pitcher tonight. The Tribe managed to gut out a tremendous win and put the specter of a long series into play. I'm still of the opinion that the Red Sox are going to win the World Series this season (and possibly next season as well). As a Yankee fan, I find that revolting, but this team is built exceptionally well. There are few holes in the roster, and what holes exist have hardly reared their heads this year (J.D. Drew).

A lot now depends on Matsuzaka. If he coughs up the game and puts the Sox in a 2-1 situation, you'd have to worry that Wakefield, Beckett, and Schilling would have to win two out of three against Byrd, Sabathia, and Carmona in order to send it to Game 7. In my opinion, you have a situation there in which the Indians seem to hold the advantage, if only by the slimmest of margins. It's debatable, but I don't think anyone in Red Sox Nation wants to find out about who's right and wrong. In that scenario, unless Francona were to change and pitch someone on short rest (Beckett), he'd be starting Matsuzaka again in a deciding Game 7. Hmmmm.....

All of it is moot if Daisuke wins tonight. How has he fared against Cleveland this year?

@ Fenway on May 30th (5.2 IP, 12 hits, no walks, 6 ER, 4 Ks) Grady Sizemore 2-run HR
@ Cleveland on July 24th (7 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 0 ER, 5 Ks)

It's a tale of two starts for Daisuke. One hideous late inning breakdown, punctuated by a Sizemore blast. One lights out, 7 inning, 98 pitch, shutout on the road. It's almost impossible to predict what we'll see from Daisuke tonight, but I'll give it a shot:

6 IP
8 hits
2 walks
3 ER
6 Ks
Garko or Hafner will play big roles in this game....

Just an off the cuff, gut prediction. Go get 'em Daisuke.


At 4:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GO, Da-i-su-ke!!! Matsuzaka-san, ganbatte kudasai. Yuuki wo motte, omoikkiri nagete kudasai.

Thanks, Mike. You've been so faithful in following Matsuzaka, researching on his career. Also, you've been incredibly accountable for your readers.

I'm afraid to guess how much time and energy you've been putting into this. Please know that for every one idiot, there are a thousand others who appreciate and admire your blog.

You have brought in another spark in my life. It's been my habit this year to follow Dice-K and go to your blog nearly everyday. And it's all because of you. Great job, Mike.


At 8:51 AM, Blogger Joseph said...

Maybe I unfairly criticize your praise of Daisuke, but I find your team allegiances purely laughable. As a Giants fan, I despise crossovers like Kent and Schmidt. If you were a true Yankees fan, you wouldn't be rooting for Daisuke, period. I can appreciate that you've been following him for a few years, but did that stop Boston fans from turning on Damon the second he went to the Yankees? Quit being an apologetic Red Sox fan.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...


You'll notice that I don't cheer for Matsuzaka to win. My ideal scenario as a Yankee fan has always been excellent Daisuke pitching and a Red Sox loss.

My allegiance is unquestionable. I started this as a potential Yankee blog, was distraught when the Sox won the bidding, and had a lot of soul searching to do when I made the choice to continue the blog anyway.

My aim has always to write fair and supportive work here, due to 3 or 4 dedicated years of scouting and observation. I owe a lot to this blog as a matter of fact. I started a very nice writing side-career based on the attention that this blog generated for me. I've been on XM radio, write for Baseball Prospectus, and have been in contact with so many people all over the world, both fans and baseball executives as a result of this blog.

You can understand why I have an extra interest in this phenomenon that transcends fandom just a bit.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

Thanks Katsumi.

I appreciate your support and I'm very glad you've enjoyed my writing. Please make sure to continue reading my other blogs when this one is finally finished.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger pgriffith said...


I have really enjoyed reading the Matsuzaka blog. You have done an outstanding job. Daisuke is my favorite player, and I am a little disappointed with the 2nd half of the season and the postseason. I am afraid he is wearing down because he is not used to pitching this time of the year. I realize the transition from Japan to the U.S. was difficult for him. I am confident that he will be a better pitcher next year.
Thanks again for the great reading.

Priscilla Griffith

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

Mike, i know that you live in New York now, but when you were in Japan, what was the perception the people had over there about the Dice-k struggles?

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any opinion on why Matsuzaka is struggling in the post-season.

Is it just his command? The pressure of the playoffs?

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DICE K cannot handle BIG AMERICAN SLUGGERS WITH BIG AMERICAN BATS. It's that simple. Watch the games. He is a shrimp on the mound. His location/command sucks. Easily the bottom of the barrel in the starting rotation.


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