Nation STATion: Dissecting Dice-K

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Nation STATion: Dissecting Dice-K

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Daisuke Matsuzaka is most likely done with the Red Sox. And while there are still some die-hard Dice-K defenders, most of Red Sox Nation has had enough.

Watching Dice-K pitch over the last four-plus seasons has been somewhat akin to being at a mediocre buffet where you eat and eat, but every now and then, just when you think you cant stand any more, you taste something delicious, and you queasily continue noshing.

Lets go to the buffet line:

105 starts
Since 2007, Matsuzaka had four more starts than Brad Penny, three more than Jair Jurrjens, one more than Nick Blackburn. He had two fewer than Jonathan Sanchez and Tim Wakefield, four fewer than Tim Hudson and five fewer than Jamie Moyer and Jeff Suppan. He had the same number as Ricky Nolasco and Doug Davis.

Dice-K four times won four starts in a row, and although he never won three consecutive starts, nine times he won two starts in a row.
622.2 innings pitched
Since 2007, Dice-K pitched 5.2 innings more than Gil Meche and a third more than Jair Jurrjens. He pitched three innings less than Jorge de la Rosa, five innings less than Brett Myers and 9 innings less than Kevin Correia. His two longest consecutive shutout innings streaks were 15 and 13.1. Other than that there were no stretches of zeroes longer than eight innings.

49 wins
Since 2007, Dice-K had one less win than Zack Greinke and Tim Hudson, one more than Fausto Carmona, and the same as Ryan Dempster, Ryan Wolf, and Scott Baker.
He had 33 wins in his first two seasons.

30 losses
Since 2007, Matsuzaka had one less loss than Josh Beckett, Jeff Francis, and Tim Lincecum, one more than Jair Jurrjens and Ricky Nolasco, and the same as Carl Pavano, Jake Peavy, and Brad Penny. He was 18-3 in 2008 and 4-6 in 2009.

.620 winning percentage
Since 2007, Matsuzakas winning pct. was just .010 less than Chris Carpenter, .009 less than Yovani Gallardo, and .001 less than Justin Verlander, .010 more than Felix Hernandez, Tim Hudson, and Jake Peavy, and the same as Phil Hughes and Mike Mussina.

ERA: 4.25
Since 2007, Dice-Ks ERA was .08 less than Rick Porcello's, .06 less than Ricky Nolasco's, .05 less than Brad Penny's, and .01 less than Bronson Arroyo's. It was .01 better than A.J. Burnett, .04 better than Joe Saunders, .06 better than Javier Vasquez, and the same as Jamey Wright. In 2008, his ERA was 2.90; it was his only season with an ERA under 4.40.
WHIP: 1.397
Since 2007, Matsuzakas WHIP is .072 better than Edwin Jackson, .071 better than Mike Leake, .038 better than Gio Gonzalez, .021 better than Anibal Sanchez, and .007 better than Justin Masterson. It was .008 worse than Brad Penny, .038 worse than Clay Buchholz, .045 worse than A.J. Burnett, and .055 worse than Carlos Zambrano. It was the same as Brett Tomko. In his first two seasons (15-12, 18-3), his WHIP was the same: 1.324.

He faced 2704 batters and surrendered:
367 singles
132 doubles
6 triples
64 homers
301 walks (4 IBB)
31 HBP

His innumerable full-counts actually can be enumerated; there were 393 of them.

The games that Dice-K pitched seemed endless. His appearances were measured in hours and minutes, not in innings pitched:
35 games pitching less than 5.0 innings: 7-15 record
91 games pitching at least 5 innings: 49-21
71 games pitching at least 5.1 innings: 42-15
66 games pitching at least 5.2 innings: 38-14
60 games pitching at least 6 innings: 36-12
41 games pitching at least 6.1 innings: 27-7
38 games pitching at least 6.2 innings: 27-4
31 games pitching at least 7 innings: 22-3
13 games pitching at least 8 innings: 10-0
1 game pitching 9 innings: 1-0

Even though the majority of his appearances were brief in terms of innings, there was no shortage of pitches thrown:
102 games throwing 60 pitches
100 games throwing 70 pitches
98 games throwing 80 pitches
90 games throwing 90 pitches
74 games throwing 100 pitches
35 games throwing 110 pitches
6 games throwing 120 pitches

His effectiveness, or lack thereof, was never a reflection of the hits he surrendered:
3 games allowing 1 hit: 3-0, 5.47 ERA
12 games allowing 2 hits: 6-3, 1.77 ERA
9 games allowing 3 hits: 4-2, 1.84 ERA
16 games allowing 4 hits: 7-3, 1.93 ERA
15 games allowing 5 hits: 10-1, 5.47 ERA
21 games allowing 6 hits: 11-6, 4.28 ERA
7 games allowing 7 hits: 2-4, 6.23 ERA
13 games allowing 8 hits: 2-6, 7.97 ERA
5 games allowing 9 hits: 2-2, 6.52 ERA
4 games allowing 10 hits: 2-2, 8.34 ERA
1 game allowing 12 hits: 0-1, 9.53 ERA

Please notice the difference in ERA when he surrendered over four hits.

It was indeed a combination of hits and walks that would make the difference between a good and bad outing seem so tenuous:
9 games allowing 0 walks: 6-2, 3.68 ERA
15 games allowing 1 walk: 7-4, 4.57 ERA
22 games allowing 2 walks: 13-6, 3.77 ERA
27 games allowing 3 walks: 13-9, 4.73 ERA
15 games allowing 4 walks: 3-5, 4.64 ERA
12 games allowing 5 walks: 4-2, 3.00 ERA
3 games allowing 6 walks: 2-1, 5.74 ERA
1 games allowing 7 walks: 0-0, 10.38 ERA
2 games allowing 8 walks: 1-1, 3.72 ERA

Its almost inconceivable that his lowest ERA was in games when he allowed five walks in an outing and in the two games in which allowed eight walks his ERA was significantly lower than in the 15 games that he walked one.

I wish Matsuzaka a good recovery and a long life of health and happiness, but Ill be honest, I cant eat another bite.

Sayonara.

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

BOSTON — We know that Red Sox manager John Farrell did something wrong. In the absence of any sort of formal announcement otherwise, we’re left to assume the umpires did everything properly — but there’s room for MLB to make that clearer.

If the NBA can put out Last 2 Minute reports, why can’t MLB provide more regular explanations or reviews of contested calls?

Farrell on Tuesday said he’d like to see more public accountability in the umpiring realm, hours before the manager was to sit out Game No. 77. Farrell was suspended one game for making contact with crew chief Bill Miller on Saturday night as manager and umpire rained spittle on each other over a balk call that went against the Sox.

Well, was it a balk or not? Did Miller do anything wrong as well?

“I don’t know if there was anything levied on the other side,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that.”

But would he like such matters to always be public?

“I think there have been strides made in that way,” Farrell said. “I guess I would. I think everyone in uniform would prefer that to be made public. Whether or not that happens, I don’t know, but that would be a choice I would make.”

The league has a thorough internal review system. But it is just that: internal. Most of the time, any way.

On most every night at Fenway Park, there is someone on hand watching just the umpires and reviewing them.

MLB, to its credit, has announced suspensions for umpires in the past. The league has made public acknowledgments when calls have been made incorrectly. More of that seems viable — even if it’s an announcement to reaffirm that the call was made and handled properly, and here are the reasons why.

“I haven’t received any further determination or review of what transpired,” Farrell said. “My position, my stance, remains steadfast. I still firmly believe that time was called [before the balk call was made]. I wasn’t arguing the balk. I was arguing the timing of it. As I reiterated today to those that I spoke with, I still stand by my side of the argument. Unfortunately, there was contact made.”

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

BOSTON — It doesn’t really matter what’s holding Hanley Ramirez back: his health, his desire to play through injuries, neither, both. The Red Sox need him to hit better as the designated hitter, or give someone else a chance in his place.

Tuesday is June 27. From May 27 on, Ramirez is hitting .202 with a .216 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage.

Putting Ramirez on the disabled list so that he can heal up, or at least attempt to, would be reasonable. If you can’t hit well — if you can’t even be in the lineup, as has been the case the last two days — you're hampering the roster.

Ramirez was out of the lineup for a second straight game on Tuesday because of his left knee, which was hit by a pitch Sunday. He’s been bothered by his shoulders all season.

“He’s improved today. He’s responding to treatment,” manager John Farrell said Tuesday of Ramirez’s knee. “He’s still going through some work right now. Would get a bat in his hand here shortly to determine if he’s available to pinch hit tonight. Prior to yesterday’s game, day to day, and still in that status, but he is improving.”

The route to better production doesn’t matter. As long as the Sox get some, be it from Ramirez or somewhere else. Flat-out benching Ramirez in favor of Chris Young or Sam Travis or both for a time should be on the table.

When it comes to lineups vs. lefties, Farrell might be thinking the same way. 

Farrell was asked Tuesday if he’d consider playing someone at DH other than Ramirez for performance reasons.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Farrell said. “Where he was so good against left-handed pitching last year, that’s been still a work in progress, for lack of a better way to describe it. So we’re always looking to put the best combination on the field.”

A right-handed hitter, Ramirez is just 5-for-35 (.143) vs. lefties this season, after hitting .346 against them a year ago.

On the flip side: in the final three months of the 2016 season, Ramirez hit .300 with a .379 OBP and .608 slugging percentage overall. That’s from the start of July through the end of the regular season vs. all pitchers.

“You know, the one thing you can’t completely turn away from is what Hanley did last year,” Farrell said. “While I know that’s last year, we’re still working to get some increased performance from him. I think he’s still a key member in our lineup. The presence he provides, the impact that he’s capable of. And yet, we’re still working to get there.”

Farrell said the team hasn’t been able to pinpoint a particular reason for Ramirez’s struggles vs. southpaws.

“No,” Farrell said. “There’s been extensive video review. There’s been extensive conversations with him. There’s been stretches, short stretches, where he’s I think shown the approach at the plate and the all field ability to drive the baseball. That’s been hit and miss a little bit. So, we’re just trying to gain a consistency that he’s been known for.”

Mitch Moreland's been playing with a fractured big toe in his left foot. After he homered and had another impactful night Monday, Farrell made some comments that are hard to read as anything but a message to Ramirez.

“In [Moreland's] most recent stretch, he’s been able to get on top of some fastballs that have been at the top of the strike zone or above for some power obviously,” Farrell said. “But I think the way he’s gone about it given the physical condition he’s in, is a strong message to the remainder of this team.”

Asked about that comment a day later, Farrell shot down the idea he was trying to reach Ramirez or anyone else with that remark about playing hurt.

“No,” Farrell said Tuesday. “I respect the question, but that was to highlight a guy who has been dealing with a broken toe, continues to perform at a high level and to compliment Mitch for the way he’s gone about it.”

It doesn't matter why Ramirez isn't producing, at a certain point. Either he is or he isn't. If not, they need to be willing to give someone else an extended look, whether it lands Ramirez on the DL or simply the bench.