It’s not too often that every pundit, columnist, blogger and fan is proven flat-out wrong. But, sure enough, Daisuke Matsusaza has done it. Be honest now, when he got ahead 0-2 to the first batter and then walked him, you had that gnawing feeling in your gut, right? All together now: Crack egg, smear contents on face. OK, feel better?
This writer has always been a big supporter of the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing. The $103 million plus outlay by the NOG ($51,111,111 posting fee; $52,000,000 contract) was bold–and had the added benefit of blowing the Empire’s bid out of the water.
Of course, we thought we were getting a rock solid, indestructible pitching machine at the peak of his career. Not so fast. What we have gotten is a guy who is so wedded to his training regimen and pitching philosophy that he is resistant to adaptation. On top of that, we were subjected to the effects of the moronic World Baseball Classic on Daisuke’s arm and conditioning.
To be fair, the potential for greatness is still there. In his first 61 starts for Boston he won 33 games–not a bad ratio. If he can avoid injury and get back to the 200-inning threshold, he should be as solid a number four starter as there is in baseball (behind Beckett, Lackey and Lester).
His 40-50 batting practice pitches yesterday are a good sign. But, Daisuke needs to step it up and prove that John Henry’s 100 million plus commitment was not in vain.
We were all wrong to fear the patented 3 2/3 inning, 107-pitch fiasco we’d become used to from Dice-K. Instead, he twirled an efficient, 6-inning masterpiece–and gave up only three hits! Who is this guy? Oh, that’s right, he’s the one we dropped over $100 million on. Now I remember.
This is why baseball is the greatest of all games. It can confound you just when you think you had it all figured out.
It seems like only a matter of hours ago when we were all thinking, “Josh and Jon and bring the rainout on”. Now, we face the growing likelihood of post-season play with four potentially dominant starters–Beckett, Lester, Buchholz and Matsuzaka. Who else can boast that kind of front line?
Of course, two or three more losses in the next few days, and we will be back on the ledge. For now, climb back in off the ledge, sit down and enjoy your Special K breakfast.