Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dice-sKape Artist?

I’ve asked it before, and I’m sure I’ll ask it again. When does luck become skill?

Last night, Daisuke Matsuzaka won his first game of the season. He’s been on the DL for a bit, so that’s not as bad as it sounds. But, it’s still been too long for a pitcher who was supposed to be your #2 or #3 starter. It was classic Dice. He went 5 innings, and walked 3 guys. He gave up 6 hits, and struck out 6. He gave up only one run. You could look at the 6 K’s in 5 innings, and brag about a Pedro-esque 10.8 K/9 inning ratio. His ERA for the game of 1.80 is also stellar. Or, you could look at the base runners and scream at the 1.80 WHIP. Which one is the most meaningful?

Nobody can be as lucky as Daisuke seems to be. Nobody can constantly put runners on base all the time and just happen to have the other team strand them. That really leaves two options. Option A: one day the odds will catch up to him and he’ll get blown out. Option B: he’s good enough to work around people he doesn’t like and attack the ones he can get out. Game by game? Option A is the answer. Look at Papelbon’s game last night. He was pitching fine. But, a bloop hit here, a seeing eye single there, and suddenly the bases are loaded. So, Matsuzaka’s definitely playing with fire having so many people on base all the time. Every once in a while the ground ball is going to be that extra inch away from Pedroia’s glove, and two runs will score. But, over the course of a season? It seems to work out ok. It’s kind of like Wakefield. Sure,
sometimes the ball doesn’t knuckle leading to a three-run homer. But, the rest of the time it’s fine. Sure, sometimes Dice will give up a big inning, but the rest of the time it seems to work out pretty well.

He throws a ton of pitches, thanks to all those base runners. He doesn’t go deep into games, and that’s annoying. It’s a flat out boring game to watch. He’s the last pitcher I want on the mound if I’m on the way to Fenway. But, I have to think that the Sox are glad he’s on the mound every fifth game. I would imagine that the powers that be consider his contract to be a bargain. I’m glad the Sox have him.

At some point, flukes become streaks, which become careers. Right?

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