Rarely Super Effective

by Marc on April 6, 2011

in Red Sox

These days, I have a difficult time watching Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch. He has loads of talent—the Red Sox didn’t sign him to a long-term deal and drop over $50 million on negotiation rights to him for nothing, you know—but it just hasn’t translated into the kind of success it should. His approach is off, and remains off—he nibbles at the plate too often when he has the stuff to attack hitters successfully, and it leads to walks, hitter’s counts, and homers.

I’ve written about that sort of thing many times, both here and in other spaces. This time around, for the sake of my own sanity (or to show you that he has finally broken me), I want to approach things a different way. With an assist from the battle system in Pokémon, we will now predict an average plate appearance from Dice-K’s first start of the 2011 season. I find it fitting, as both Dice-K and Pokémon hail from Japan, and I am drawn to both for reasons I can’t even begin to explain.

A wild Shin-Sooachu appeared!


Go, Matsuzaur!


What will Matsuzaur do?


Matsuzaur used Incinerating Fastball! It’s super effective!


Shin-Sooachu flinched and couldn’t move!


What will Matsuzaur do?


Matsuzaur used Electric Slider! It’s super effective!


Shin-Sooachu is paralyzed! It can’t move!


What will Matsuzaur do?


Matsuzaur used Waste Pitch! It’s not very effective…


Shin-Sooachu is paralyzed! It can’t move!


What will Matsuzaur do?


Matsuzaur used Waste Pitch! It’s not very effective…


Shin-Sooachu is no longer paralyzed!


Shin-Sooachu used Wood Hammer! A critical hit!


Matsuzaur fainted!


Trainer Acta is about to send in Santanablast.

You’re in charge, Bardizard!

I don’t think you need to be a Pokemon Champion to understand what was wrong with Matsuzaur–I mean, Matsuzaka’s–strategy. If he had continued to attack Shin-Soo Choo, then there would have been a much better chance of finishing him off with a strikeout or, at the least, a defensive swing that led to an out on a ball in play. Instead, he gave Choo time to recover, and set himself up in a count where he needed to throw a strike–Choo, as basically all of the majors do at this point, knew this, and just waited out a mistake from Dice-K that he could launch.

Unless he’s having one of those random good nights–hey, sometimes even during the good nights this happens–expect to see a handful of sequences like the one above. Just, you know, with fewer exclamation points.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt April 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

Normandazur chooses Great Article! It is Super Effective!


TsB April 6, 2011 at 10:42 am

What’s that pokemon that wiggles its arms and then uses a random attack? Whatever it is, it’s a perfect analogy for Matsuzaka.


Mike April 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

It would be nice to see Matsuzaka live up to his ability. For some reason I feel like this will be his year. Salty is a fresh start as catcher and maybe something will click between them.


Sully April 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I think Varitek is going to be Dice’s C for much of the year.


Mike April 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm

And sure enough he did. I guess that makes some sense.


Brendan April 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

This is one of those things that would probably take three days and an insane amount of Pitch F/X scanning to really find out, but Matsuzaka has to already be approaching the career record for “times turning an 0-2 count into a walk,” right?

Also, I eagerly await the day when Yahoo! decides to release an actual Pokemon-fantasy baseball hybrid game. “With this victory, your Saltypuff has evolved into Tekbeast!”


Matt April 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

The always amazing B-R has that info (here: http://tiny.cc/9fflr). According to B-R, Matsuzaka has had 510 hitters in 0-2 and has walked 16 of them. He’s struck out 222 of them as well.


Brendan April 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Brilliant, thanks. B-R never ceases to be awesome.

Reassuring to know that I’ve just succumbed to a bit of selective memory there.


doctorogres April 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

I can’t help thinking that your dark voodoo pokemon magic had something to do with that Choo HR…


John G April 12, 2011 at 12:08 am

I’ve developed a theory about Dice-K’s struggles, and it looks (from my perspective) to be a mechanical issue stemming from an old (possibly lingering?) hip injury just before the WBC in ’09. You’re welcome to take a look.



John G April 12, 2011 at 12:10 am

And I should add, I found your piece to be incredibly entertaining, and it should become a regular feature at this website. 10.5 out of 10.


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