It seems our boy keeps getting the bad draw when it comes to opposing team's aces. The Indians figure to be a tough team to beat on any given night, but especially when their hefty lefty is on the hill. C.C. Sabathia has always been a top quality pitcher, but has really come into his own the last two seasons. Fortunately for the Red Sox, Sabathia is coming off two horrible starts and hasn't looked at all effective in July. If that trend continues, the Sox will jump on him early and often and Matsuzaka can earn himself a little cushion.
The Sox haven't seen C.C. this year, and only got him once in 2006. Sabathia went 8 strong, giving up a single run on a homer by Mark Loretta. Things could get ugly in this situation for the Tribe, as the Sox are among the best teams in the sport at mashing lefties. Boston hits home runs at slightly better than the league average rate against southpaws and hold an impressive .816 OPS against them.
Matsuzaka hasn't pitched well in July after a great June. Things seem to spin out of control when he begins his nightly foray into wasted pitches. It's been common to see Daisuke get ahead 0-2 and 1-2 on batters and then throw pitches above eye level and outside. No one is going to swing at those pitches. The key, as is always the case, will be for Matsuzaka to remain efficient against a team that is 4th in the Major Leagues in on base percentage and scores at a clip only rivaled by the Phillies, Tigers, Red Sox, and Yankees. Can he put together enough control to overwhelm the powerful Indians lineup?
I'm going to predict that Sabathia is lights out early but falters somewhere in the 6th or 7th inning. Matsuzaka will give up some early runs in this game and settle down late. The key will be Boston's ability to score given the chance against a tiring Sabathia and steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
I'm in the midst of some big changes these days. I'm setting up life between the US and Japan right now and it's a major undertaking. Those who keep living space on both the East and West Coasts of the United States are generally referred to as "bi-coastal" although I'm not sure what nomenclature would be chosen for my situation.
At any rate, I will be headed back to the friendly confines of New York City in early August, keeping a place in Akita City. During the next 2-3 weeks I'm afraid my blogging will be inconsistent, although I should be able to find enough access to both baseball and the internet to update here often. If I end up AWOL for several days without an update, rest assured that I will be back into the full swing of things by the 2nd week of August as a full time blogging maniac again.
Thanks for your patience and for always supporting what I do here. Keep checking back!!
I'm in the middle of moving right now, but Matsuzaka Watch is just that committed. Here's a quick prediction. The White Sox are garbage. Matsuzaka is coming off a couple of shaky performances. We get to see some vintage Daisuke to the tune of:
9 IP 4 hits 1 walk 0 runs 12 Ks 125+ pitches
Just a gut feeling. I will probably regret that prediction later.....Gotta move. See you on the flip side true believers....
So 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.....
Too busy to be creative tonight. I'm going lightning style with my prediction. Tigers are first in baseball with a team .290 average, 3rd with a .352 OBP, and first with a .471 slugging mark. They lead the 2nd place Indians by 35 runs scored on the season. There offense is goofy. Dangerous business.
So it would seem that Duke Saraie had the right recipe to help Daisuke get the walking right after all, huh? Nice work Duke. I thought I'd try to give another boost to our hero as he's about to take on another AL East club with a budding lineup of very nice players. To keep Matsuzaka hot, I nabbed hip hop/R&B singer Kumi Koda to perform her smash hit "Hot Stuff" for the Matsuzaka Watch audience. Koda is famous for providing scores and images to several of the Final Fantasy chapters, as well as for pioneering the "Ero-kakkoii" trend among her young fans. "Ero-kakkoii" is a combination of the words "erotic" and "cool" and anyone who has seen any of her work understands why it caught on.
Anyway, she's here via the magic of YouTube to kick off our coverage of the next Matsuzaka start. Let's hope our hero stays hot and can deliver a big performance against the Rays. With no further ado, I give you "Hot Stuff" from Kumi Koda:
Uh. I forgot to ask her anything about Daisuke. Yeah. Hmmmmm.....Guess I have to field this one on my own. I'll go with: