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.
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.