I have not been that satisfied by a regular season Boston Red Sox game since I watched Jon Lester throw a no-hitter on May 19th of 2008. All of us Red Sox fans around the world finally realized what John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein saw in the now 29 year old Japanese born pitcher, when they paid $51,111,111.11 just for the rights to negotiate with him, and then proceeded to sign him to a 6-year $52 million contract in 2006. There is one word to describe the performance of Daisuke Matsuzaka last night against the Toronto Blue Jays: brilliant. No, I am not blowing his performance out of proportion. Nor, am I jumping on the “Dice-K is going to win the 2010 Cy Young Award” bandwagon. What I am saying is that last night signified the most impressive performance by Dice-K since he has become a member of the Boston Red Sox. The most glaring reason for my bold proclamation…just check out his line:
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST ERA(Season)
D Matsuzaka(W, 2-1) 7.0 3 1 1 0 9 0 106-71 6.35
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Dice-K went seven strong innings, yielding only one run, while racking up nine K’s, and allowing NO WALKS! Daisuke Matsuzaka just pitched a major league baseball game and did not allow a walk. He also worked at a swift pace, which is very abnormal for him, allowing his fielders to stay sharp and provide a solid defensive effort behind him. Maybe even more surprising than his walkless performance, of the 106 pitches throw, sixty-seven percent of them were for strikes. Matsuzaka didn’t nibble on the corners with his curve ball. He didn’t use his fastball to just simply set up his other pitchers. Nor did he work most counts to three balls and two strikes like he usually does. Daisuke attacked hitters early in the count with his fastball, and after getting ahead of them he finished them off, often quickly, with his change-up.
Maybe this isn’t the new Daisuke Matsuzaka. Maybe last night was solely an apparition that he wanted to present to us to give him a few weeks without people calling for him to be traded. Whatever it was, last night actually restored some of my faith in Dice-K. Well, actually that’s a lie. But last night did restore some of my faith in Theo Epstein’s ability to find quality talent in veteran players. Well, actually that’s a lie too. What last night did for me is establish that we didn’t waste more than $103 million on a Japanese pitcher. Well, on second thought, that isn’t completely true either. Ok, last night provided me a great baseball game to watch with some good pitching…there we go that sounds like a winner to me.