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.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''