Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Month to Stop Pitching Well

Daisuke Matsuzaka, last five starts:

  • Aug. 15, TB: 6IP, 8H, 3BB, 6ER
  • Aug. 22, TB: 6IP, 2H, 4BB, 2ER
  • Aug. 28, NYY: 6.1IP, 6H, 3BB, 5ER
  • Sep. 3, TOR: 5.1 IP, 10H, 1BB, 7ER
  • Sep. 8, BAL: 2.2IP, 6H, 3BB, 8ER

Tim Wakefield, last five starts:

  • Aug. 13, TB: 8IP, 2H, 2BB, 0ER
  • Aug. 20, TB: 7IP, 4H, 1BB, 0ER
  • Aug. 25, CHW: 7IP, 3H, 3BB, 0ER
  • Sep. 6, BAL: 3.2IP, 9H, 2BB, 6ER
  • Sep. 11, TB, 3+IP, 10H, 0BB, 7ER

These are two pitchers who were set to be part of a postseason rotation (Wake as the fourth starter, I presume), yet both guys have struggled mightily in September, not exactly the time to be showing your worst stuff of the year.  We won’t rehash the discussion of whether Daisuke Matsuzaka is wearing down, regressing, etc., and Wake is coming off a back injury and clearly, no matter what he says about feeling just fine and having good stuff in the bullpen, isn’t there.  So what does this portend for the Sox the rest of the way?  For the postseason rotation?  Is this is all just small sample size variation?  I am interested to know what other SFs (and, perhaps, a couple of YFs!) think about all of this.

Use this as a general purpose Red Sox discussion thread.

171 comments… add one
  • As a YF having witnessed what Wakefield is capable of in the postseason I wouldn’t be too worried. It is also my own belief the knuckleballers are the most consistent pitchers in the game and especially in tight spots such as the post season. Besides for Game 7 2003 ALCS, Wakefield has been better than decent in the post season.
    As for Dice-K, well thats a different story. He obviously isnt used to pitching this long and its just as obviously affecting him now. However, he does show up for big games, i.e. WBC. It will be interesting to see how he does if the Sox make it out of the first round.
    Just keep Delcarmen warmed up…

    theshantee September 12, 2007, 9:13 am
  • >>>Besides for Game 7 2003 ALCS, Wakefield has been better than decent in the post season.
    I don’t know any Sox fans who blame G72003 on Tim Wakefield. The series was blown in a myriad other ways, and Boone’s shot was a fluke of Dentian proportions. I remain convinced that with just about any other manager than Grady Little, the Sox would have broken the curse a year early.
    Anyway, the big tacit question in this post (and postseason) seems to be: What about Clay?
    (BTW, how is the rotation lined up for the Yankees? I can hardly keep track anymore.)

    Hudson September 12, 2007, 9:28 am
  • Looking back at recent games, I assume it’s DiceK/Becks/G38 against New York…
    History strongly suggests that Francoma will “show faith” in Matsuzaka, but I hope he has Buccholz ready and raring to put in 3-4 innings if necessary. Starter by committee.

    Hudson September 12, 2007, 9:31 am
  • As long as we score 16 runs, does it matter?
    Seriously, I’m not super concerned about either of them, Matsuzaka has a reputation as a big game pitcher and we know what Wake can do. They are just picking an awful time of year to stumble.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 9:41 am
  • A major factor on this issue for the postseason is the new format for he ALDS. For those of you who did not hear Mike & Mike discussing this minutes ago, one of the ALDS series will now include 2 off days, allowing the teams in that series to pitch two pitchers twice and on normal rest (in Games 1/4 and 2/5). The team that clinches the best record in the AL will have one hour from clinching to decide if they want that series schedule or the other (which will include only the one rest day).
    This has major implications for teams like the Indians and Yankees, who would each love to have the longer rest (Sabathia/Carmona in 4 games; Wang/Pettitte in 4 games).
    If the RS clinch best record, who until these latest glitches may have felt less compelled to go for the longer-rest series since their starting rotation has ben more consistently good during the season – at least the 1-4 starters – and this would give them a leg up in a possible series with, say Cleveland, may now have to re-evaluate based on how the bottom 3/5s of their rotation is shaping up come the end of September, though I am not sure who their best #2 option would be at the moment.
    Anyway, it will certainly be interesting. I’m not sure I like the whole system – not out of Yankee fandom, but just out of the concern with having different schedules for parallel series, but I guess the tinkering with formats in pursuit of the almighty dollar will continue to prevail.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 9:47 am
  • Hudson: Yankee rotation for RS will be Pettitte (vs. Matsuzaka), Wang (vs. Beckett), and Clemens (vs. Schilling).
    For possible posteason, I am interested to see if Joe puts Wang or Pettitte as the number one. If they are playing LAA I may actually prefer Pettitte. He is the only guy on the team who holds runners, and he holds them about as well as anyone. And it is the gnat-like runners, not the big bombs, that hurt the Yankees vs. LA. When Wang has trouble, it is often due to pitching out of the stretch, with which he still seems to strugge a little. Not good vs. a team like LA.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 9:50 am
  • Interesting point, IronHorse. I certainly like the prospect of Beckett pitching twice in the ALDS.
    This REALLY helps a team like the Padres though. Can you imagine Young and Peavy pitching 4 out of 5 NLDS games? I pity who has to face that.

    Atheose September 12, 2007, 9:50 am
  • Atheose, I think – am not sure – but I think, this is only for the ALDS.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 9:52 am
  • Oh, and I don’t think pitching Beckett twice is the issue, since, as your # 1, you would have that anyway (in games 1/5). The issue is more, how strong is your (and your opponents’) 1-2 combination relative to your (and their) top 3 combination. For some teams it is not a big deal, but I think for others (and I think Cleveland and NY are probably the most relevant here) their 1-2 are so much better/more experienced than their 3-5 that it could be pivotal. This adds a wrinkle I think to how much the RS decide to rest guys if (and I am not conceding this yet!) they clinch the ALEast say in the last week of the season, but not yet the best record in the AL.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 9:56 am
  • OOPS! That was wrong, my bad.
    Series A:
    Game 1 – Thurday Oct 4th
    Game 2 – Friday Oct 5th
    Game 3 – Sunday Oct 7th
    Game 4 – Monday Oct 8th
    Game 5 – Wed Oct 10th
    Series B:
    Game 1 – Wednesday Oct 3rd
    Game 2 – Friday Oct 5th
    Game 3 – Sunday Oct 7th
    Game 4 – Monday Oct 8th
    Game 5 – Wed Oct 10th

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 9:58 am
  • Besides for Game 7 2003 ALCS, Wakefield has been better than decent in the post season.
    And Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS. Wakefield in the postseason has been similar to Wakefield in the regular season. Great starts mixed with catastrophes. It’s how it goes. I’m worried less about Wakefield than I am about Matsuzaka.
    So if the Sox clinch best record, do they take the longer rest to give Beckett/Dice-K (Schilling?) more starts? But if they’re playing Cleveland, do they want to face Sabathia/Carmona that many times?
    The Sox might rather take their chances with the less rest and have Schilling (Dice-K?)/Wakefield against Westbrook/Byrd or whoever else the Indians have in the back end of their rotation. At least, that would make me feel more comfortable.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 10:21 am
  • Love the Airplane! reference in the title, by the way. I’ll always laugh at an Airplane! or Three Stooges homage. Always.
    Looking at Wakefield’s postseason stats, he’s actually only been decent in 1992 (NLCS for the Pirates) and 2003 (ALDS and ALCS). Every other postseason, he’s put up some bad numbers, with no series ERA below 6.75. Overall, he’s 5-5 with a 6.12 ERA.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 10:26 am
  • Wakefield has been nothing short of disastrous against the Yankees in the recent past. In ’06 he had a 5.49 ERA against them, this year it is nearly 11. His career ERA against the Yankees is over 5, and his season ERA is now at 4.68, a bloated number made even scarier when you realize he had three recent starts where he was totally lights out. He’s made eight starts where he’s given up six or more earned runs. I will not feel comfortable with Wake on the hill starting, particularly if the Sox face the Yanks in the ALCS.

    SF September 12, 2007, 10:34 am
  • Wakefield, or better stated – that knuckleball, has always been an unpredictable beast. That knucleball has an equal chance of shutting down all playoff opponants or get blown out of the stadium.
    Not unlike Wang and his sinker, IMO.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 10:36 am
  • No question that knuckleball has a hard time against dem Yanks. I presume Wake is not as carefree when facing them, tightening his grip somewhat.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 10:39 am
  • RAW, if you think that Wang and Wake have an equal chance of shutting down the Sox and the Yanks, respectively, you are living in fantasyland.

    SF September 12, 2007, 10:44 am
  • Let’s not forget Wakefield’s less obvious, but rather important, function in the 2004 postseason: Innings eater during a debacle, preserving the rest of the staff.
    The postseason is such a crapshoot, really… Just think what a headcase Derek Lowe was during much of the 2004 season. Some weren’t even sure they wanted him to start playoff games. But he was brilliant and indispensible to bring home that long-awaited ring.

    Hudson September 12, 2007, 10:44 am
  • (P.S. The weird new scheduling wrinkle only makes the playoff outcome even more random. I don’t like it.)

    Hudson September 12, 2007, 10:45 am
  • My question. How come they (Wake, Coaches) do not know right away that the knuckleball is not moving? I mean I would think you can tell during warm ups. Would they ever decide to pull him right away or not start him?
    Wang has many pitches to use if his slider is not working, including a mid 90s fastball. Wake goes to which pitch exactly? I also think teams that have seen the knuckle a ton (the yankees) can wait for the pitch they want, his fastball.

    Seth September 12, 2007, 10:46 am
  • So if the Yanks take a few games on the Sox, even if the Yanks lose the division, it can make things difficult for the Sox, because if Angels/Indians somehow catch up with having the best record, at least the Yanks will have more rest..

    Lar September 12, 2007, 10:47 am
  • Climate probably influences the knuckleball more than any other pitch. I have not done research on this fact, but it must — it’s just physics. I suspect strongly that clear cool Autumn days with low humidity lead to less movement on the pitch, which may partially explain the drop-off in his #’s during the post-season.
    That said, we all know that a knuckleball can unpredictably completely shut down an opponent, anytime, just as BostonRAW said. It’s amazing there aren’t more pitchers out there throwing the thing, a real tribute to Wakefield’s skill.

    rufuswashere September 12, 2007, 10:52 am
  • This is telling.
    Wake since ’87:
    vs Balt –
    IP 223.0
    H 217
    W 75
    BAA .251
    vs NY
    IP 202
    H 180
    W 110
    BAA .239
    Obvious conclusion is that NY brings more patience to the matchup, but cannot hit him any better than others.
    vs Clev
    IP 126
    H 124
    W 46
    BAA .252
    vs Det
    IP 150
    H 152
    W 40
    BAA .261
    As suspected, neither Cleveland nor Detroit has such patience.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 10:53 am
  • Hey, not to threadjack but doesn’t this sound a hell of a lot worse than NY is letting on?
    Sep 11 Updating recent items, the Associated Press reports New York Yankees SP Roger Clemens (elbow) revealed Tuesday, Sept. 11, that recent tests had shown he has ligament damage in his sore right elbow and internal bleeding in his forearm. Clemens also said he had received two cortisone shots in Houston last week that have caused dramatic improvement in his elbow”
    I mean, come on, wasn’t the guy, like, born during the depression?
    That report makes it appear as if Clemens is cooked.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 11:01 am
  • Braw. Its nice to pick statistics out. You should add BB to your numbers are you will see the yankees patience (110 BB over those innings), which of course is why that have rocked him so often (5 ERA)

    Seth September 12, 2007, 11:14 am
  • sorry you had it there, I missed it

    Seth September 12, 2007, 11:17 am
  • I did (W). That was the whole point of the analysis, i.e. NY has done well against him because they are a patient group. Others, not so much.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 11:21 am
  • “…Boone’s shot was a fluke of Dentian proportions…”
    i’m gonna give you a pass on this one hudson, because “what’s the bigger fluke” is not a debate you should engage in with yf’s…as for wakefield’s chances against the yankees, it doesn’t matter that he’s scuffling a bit now, and the stats be damned, he usually puts together a good start against the yanks, it feels like that anyway…
    sf, your post supports why i refer to the post-season as a tournament now…some teams are built to breeze through the regular season [ask the yanks about that, prior to this year anyway]…the post season is a different animal all together, especially the opening round…the timing of when you get healthy and hot has never been more important…having said that, i think the sox set up well for the playoffs with their pitching and defense, but sometimes stuff happens…
    b-raw, the wang bashing, however subtle, is starting to get old…like any other pitcher he is vulnerable to “bad game” syndrome, but it seems that he’s on more often than not…

    dc September 12, 2007, 11:22 am
  • “b-raw, the wang bashing, however subtle, is starting to get old…like any other pitcher he is vulnerable to “bad game” syndrome, but it seems that he’s on more often than not…”
    amen, dc!

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:23 am
  • Re: Wakefield- It’s just a slump. The guy’s been around too long for this to be permanent (unless he’s pulling a Mussina, which seems unlikely). He can break out of it, the question is whether he will. I’d guess he probably does. That said, how dominant he is down the stretch is still up for debate, even if he gets back to form. Like others have said here, he can be pretty hit or miss.
    Re: DiceK- This is definitely the bigger concern. Wake has proven himself, and everybody knows he’s capable of pitching well late in the season. It’s just a matter of will he. DiceK, on the other hand, has never pitched this much. If the Sox can find some time to give him extra rest, maybe he can roll back the numbers to at least less-catastrophic levels. But without extra rest, I really doubt he’s gonna be back to form this year.
    Re: Clemens- it’s definitely worse than they’re letting on, but I think Clemens is hiding as much or more than the Yanks office. Clemens is way too competitive to let anything but full-on disability take him out at this point in the season. Especially if he finally accepts that this is his last season, because he wouldn’t have to worry about doing permanent damage to his arm. If this last month ruins his throwing arm for good, oh well. Unfortunately, that might mean he goes out there in Boston and pretends to be August-Mussina.
    Re: The Schedule Change- I’ve also heard rumors that this is setting up for a change to 7-game series for the entire postseason. Not a bad idea, if only because it gives us more baseball. But until the extra games are added, the opportunity for more rest will definitely play in certain teams’ favor more than others. Except for having the opportunity to rest DiceK more, I think Boston has the least to gain from it, though.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 11:32 am
  • I want to understand something, DC; Yank fans (at least some of them :)) post of how Beckett blows, with one guy saying he would rather have Lowe, but you object to my opinion that Wang, with his career 3.74 ERA and .267 BAA, is nothing special?
    Would someone please forward any statistic from Wang, besides wins (of course), that will convince me he is no better than a number 3 starter?

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 11:34 am
  • KurticusMaximus–RE: The Schedule Change–for reals?! All 7-game series?!
    I would love this…love it, love it, love it. Not just because of the “more baseball” aspect, but also because I’ve always thought the first round gave the worse team a better shot at winning.

    Devine September 12, 2007, 11:35 am
  • “b-raw, the wang bashing, however subtle, is starting to get old…like any other pitcher he is vulnerable to “bad game” syndrome, but it seems that he’s on more often than not…”
    amen, dc!

    Just like the Beckett-bashing, right? And Beckett’s superior to Wang, too!

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:37 am
  • RAW… do “career 3.74 ERA” and “nothing special” belong in the same sentence? I’d kill for a starting pitcher with that ERA…
    (It would be better than all but one of Boston’s starters now, I think…)

    Devine September 12, 2007, 11:37 am
  • it’s fair to say that RAW is quite the outlier of a Soxfan around these parts…
    We welcome all ilks, of course, but by no means should RAW’s YF-like cockiness be interpreted as representing many of us other SFs!!

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:40 am
  • A career 3.74 ERA in the AL East over these last three years is suddenly a #3. If you say so.
    Meanwhile, comparing Wake’s repertoire to Wang’s at this point in their respective careers is biased in favor of the Sock. This is not surprising coming from you.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:41 am
  • The Beckett bashing at least on my part ended about a month into the season. And it was fueled by an irrational hatred which I admitted all along.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:42 am
  • KurticusMaximus, if RS management say Dice’s recent bombings have nothing to do with fatigue you should take them at their word. I do.
    Dice has shown no signs of wearing down, in that he reaches a certain point and loses stamina. Instead, he has shown losses in confidence during certain situations which Tito has explained as him throwing too many fastballs, trying to overpower ML hitters. Same as Gagne.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 11:44 am
  • Right, Nick. It goes something like this:
    “Our starter has like 150 wins more than yours!! Yours stinks!!”.
    Meanwhile, one guy has played two seasons, another 15. Wang is superior, and I’d take him any day of the week. Over Wake. Over Schill, and reluctantly over Dice (at least this year). He’s a #2, easy. I won’t go near the “he’s a #1” starter argument, if he’s a #1 then Beckett is a #1+, relatively speaking, and I know that you can’t fathom a discussion like this, Nick. ;-)

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:44 am
  • “Just like the Beckett-bashing, right?”
    So last year!

    Andrews September 12, 2007, 11:45 am
  • Seth, it’s not that Wakefield’s knuckleball wasn’t moving. According to Wake, it was moving great in the pen, and according to Cash, it was moving well in the four-run second.
    Wake is most effective, I think, when he’s wild, so hitters swing through the zone and miss. When it flutters but lands in the wheelhouse, it’s still hittable. Of course, the Yankees, being naturally patient and having faced him tons of times to boot (don’t forget the role consistency plays in this. How many Orioles and Devil Rays have faced Wakefield since even 2000? Many fewer than Yankees, I’d wager) can force him to throw his mediocre fastball and curve for strikes, then bash it around.
    Wakefield’s value in the postseason is higher as a 2004-style innings-eater who saves the bullpen and maybe keeps the team close enough to win a slugfest (a la Game 1 of the Series).
    The Lowe example is a good one. He was a terrible, terrible pitcher in 2004, then won the deciding game of all three series through fantastic pitching. All bets are off come playoff time.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 11:45 am
  • “I won’t go near the “he’s a #1″ starter argument, if he’s a #1 then Beckett is a #1+, relatively speaking, and I know that you can’t fathom a discussion like this, Nick. ;-)”
    Beckett is a #1+ and Wang is a #1.
    There I said it! It feels good to get that off my chest.;)

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:46 am
  • Beckett > Wang > Wakefield. Shouldn’t even be a discussion.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 11:47 am
  • Dice has shown no signs of wearing down, in that he reaches a certain point and loses stamina. Instead, he has shown losses in confidence during certain situations which Tito has explained as him throwing too many fastballs, trying to overpower ML hitters.
    Actually, for all his talent (and he clearly has a ton of talent), he’s shown more than just a confidence breakdown, or a fatigue breakdown. He’s shown a repertoire breakdown, which we discussed earlier this week. He’s gone from a several-pitch pitcher to a two-pitch pitcher, and he’s apparently not even throwing his best pitch (offspeed/change) as part of that two-pitch repertoire. I have no idea if it is fatigue, confidence, ball properties, Tek, organizational strategy, some combination of all these things. But it’s not plausible to assume that everything is fine with Daisuke but his confidence. No way. I simply don’t know what is wrong, but he has shown enough to me to think that in time (maybe not this year) he is going to be a near-ace. He’s only 26, he’s a rookie, and he’s pitched damn well for a good portion of the season. I hope he returns to form, soon.

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:49 am
  • The bloody sock is about to be outdone by the bloody arm falling off of Clemens on his final pitch of a complete game masterpiece in t October. We can’t lose.
    Seriously, unless the Yankees have won the first two games of the RS series this weekend, I don’t see the value of starting Clemens. He has limited bullets left at best. At some point in the post-season, one of our new kids – Hughes or Kennedy – is likely to have to start a game, unless Mussina has a big rejuvenation starting tonight and Clemens takes some of Barry’s flaxseed oil. Get the newbies ready for it (while also saving Clemens’ bullets for a bigger moment) by starting Hughes Sunday in Boston.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 11:49 am
  • A-Rod > everyone else.
    Just wanted to get that off my chest as well.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:49 am
  • “…Just like the Beckett-bashing, right?…”
    maybe it’s just because i haven’t been participating in it, but it just seems to me that the beckett-bashing has abated, coincidentally? with his better year this year…
    “…And Beckett’s superior to Wang, too!…”
    uh, ok, if that makes you feel better, but that wasn’t the point of this argument…you guys continuing to disrespect wang is as lame as me trying to claim that poppi only hits all those homeruns because the pitchers have bad aim and keep hitting his bat too hard…wang’s having another good year [i never said he was better than one of your guys]… why can’t you just acknowledge that?…

    dc September 12, 2007, 11:50 am
  • “if RS management say Dice’s recent bombings have nothing to do with fatigue you should take them at their word. I do.”
    That should be right after “The check’s in the mail” and right before “it was only driven by a little old lady on Sunday afternoons” on the all time load of BS list. :)
    Why would the sox say otherwise?

    Andrews September 12, 2007, 11:50 am
  • SF, would you entertain the idea that the league is adjusting to Dice-K? This is not an attempt at a flame war. Just curiousity. I watched him pitch more in the beginning and assumed he’d get stronger as he learned the league more. I didn’t even think possible the reverse situation.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:52 am
  • Right, Paul. More baseball math, answers still unknown:
    Karstens + Rasner + Igawa + Clemens = ??
    JD – Trot – Wily Mo = ??

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:52 am
  • No, it’s not biased, Nick. Wang relies on his IF’ers as Wake relies on physics(?). But I’d much rather have a Beck, Schill or Dice, all of whom are capable of getting a batter out by their lonesome.
    If you want a Lowe comparison, it’s Wang not Beckett, with the primary difference being that Lowe has the ability to K batters whereas Wang does not.
    Wang = more Yank hype

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 11:52 am
  • “The bloody sock is about to be outdone by the bloody arm falling off of Clemens on his final pitch of a complete game masterpiece in t October. We can’t lose.”
    IH, hilarious! I can’t wait for the conspiracy theories!

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:53 am
  • BRAW, I have never heard this theory about Wang relying on grounders. Please tell me more.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:54 am
  • dc:
    You’ve got a bunch of Sox fans defending Wang here, so you are barking up the wrong tree. Wang is a damn good pitcher, end of story. Personally I don’t give a crap what people call guys, aces, #1s, #2s, etc. Wang is good, better than almost all of our own starters. What more do you want, for me to post a picture of him with me licking the “NY” logo on his hat? (ew.)
    Nick: sure, there’s gotta be an adjustment factor, without a doubt. Having seen a lot of his starts, though, this seems like a reliance on a limited repertoire, and a concurrent lack of control with his slider. The other night he couldn’t get the slider anywhere near the plate, and that was that. He was left with a fastball, which isn’t a Josh Beckett or Mariano Rivera fastball. That spells trouble. Earlier in the season I recall him throwing a larger variety of pitches. I think all the factors, fatigue, adjustment, confidence, etc., are all contributors.

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:56 am
  • “The Lowe example is a good one. He was a terrible, terrible pitcher in 2004, then won the deciding game of all three series through fantastic pitching. All bets are off come playoff time.”
    Maybe the all-time best example of this is Jeff Weaver last year?

    Andrews September 12, 2007, 11:57 am
  • Oy, RAW, your carpetbombing is not productive for the general image of us SFs…
    I wish I could defend your thoughts as the Sox are my team, but alas I cannot. You will be a lonely soul taking those stances.

    SF September 12, 2007, 11:57 am
  • For the record, Wang is having more than a good year. One of a handful with a legit shot at 20 wins vs. 6-7 losses. That’s a great year to me and I don’t think the offensive support is coincidental/lucky. Every player talks about being rejuvenated for his starts due to how quickly he works and the ground balls he induces. He also goes deep into games regularly. He helps the team in multiple ways and, with this year’s development of his slider and change, is getting better.
    Add to this his youth and I’m very happy to have him as our number one. I don’t like that he can’t hold runners and he needs to improve from the stretch generally, but winning more than any other starter over the last 2 seasons is not a fluke.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 11:58 am
  • Andrews, or Jeff Suppan or Miguel Batista in 2001 or Carl Pavano in 2003…The post-season does have a flukish quality about it. I guess that’s one of the things that makes it great. Cue Dane Cook screaming on my television.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 11:59 am
  • “Earlier in the season I recall him throwing a larger variety of pitches.”
    Why would he limit his repertoire?

    Andrews September 12, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • Devine- Yeah, I can’t find the article, but at this point it’s mostly a rumor. But a lot of managers have been gunning for the 7-gamer, because like you said, a lot of people think it gives the better team a better chance to win. The article I read about it in actually tried to break down some stats, and figured the extra 2 games don’t really make much difference. Still, though, two more games wouldn’t hurt, and they make for more baseball.
    BostonRAW- Sure, because front offices don’t have a vested interest in playing down weaknesses. I think the Yanks office is playing down Clemen’s injury, and I’d bet the RS office is playing down DiceK’s fatigue. That’s what front office’s are for.
    Besides, how is fatigue a less likely scenario than low confidence? DiceK played ridiculously well in the highest stress games Japan had to offer. I don’t think September would shake him up this much. Maybe that’s part of it, but I think it’s a tough sell to say that pitching more innings than he ever has has nothing to do with it.
    Re: Wang- Can we all stop bickering about this, seriously? The guy has 18 wins. He’s a good pitcher. But for the record- Beckett and Wang have the exact same lifetime MLB ERA (3.74). And Beckett’s ERA this season is only .42 lower than Wang’s, anyway. Is an extra run every 18 innings really worth this much argument?
    Wang is good. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, he’s good.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • Why would the sox say otherwise?
    I don’t know, Andrew, why would they start a group of minor leaguers 2 nights ago? or, IMO, be resting Manny and every other regular every other day?
    Could it be because they are as little concerned about the Yanks as I am? And if so, why not rest a pitcher so fatigued when the playoffs are just around the corner?
    I’m not buying it.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 12:03 pm
  • “…my opinion that Wang, with his career 3.74 ERA and .267 BAA, is nothing special?”
    Far be it from me to defend Wang, that’s usually Nick’s area, but you are way off base here. Wang does what all pitchers set out to do and that is win. Here’s a look at where he stacks up ERA wise with some of the best pitchers in the game.
    Zambrano 3.45
    Peavy 3.32
    Schilling 3.46
    Beckett 3.74
    Santana 3.18
    Sabathia 3.83
    Mussina 3.70
    Glavine 3.48
    Buerhle 3.77
    Wakefield 4.31
    Over the past 2 seasons he has more wins then every single player on that list. The end result is really what is important right?

    Anonymous September 12, 2007, 12:04 pm
  • “…my opinion that Wang, with his career 3.74 ERA and .267 BAA, is nothing special?”
    Far be it from me to defend Wang, that’s usually Nick’s area, but you are way off base here. Wang does what all pitchers set out to do and that is win. Here’s a look at where he stacks up ERA wise with some of the best pitchers in the game.
    Zambrano 3.45
    Peavy 3.32
    Schilling 3.46
    Beckett 3.74
    Santana 3.18
    Sabathia 3.83
    Mussina 3.70
    Glavine 3.48
    Buerhle 3.77
    Wakefield 4.31
    Over the past 2 seasons he has more wins then every single player on that list. The end result is really what is important right?

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 12:06 pm
  • “I’m not buying it.”
    You lost me. Not buying what?

    Andrews September 12, 2007, 12:06 pm
  • Maybe the all-time best example of this is Jeff Weaver last year?
    Ooh, good one. Pavano was actually a good pitcher though until his injuries. Or, rather, had a good season in 2003 (or was it 04?) Anyway, you know what I mean. Suppan’s another good example. I agree, Nick, it’s what makes the playoffs so fun — and so frustrating.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 12:06 pm
  • Sorry for the double post gentlemen.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • sf, i don’t want to see you do what you suggested…double-ew…i’m probably being a bit defensive because wang doesn’t usually get his due from sf’s, so i acknowledge your clarification…i didn’t see the need to reference beckett until i saw the response from nick…i’m ok now…b-raw’s just trying to bait us with his comments, so the best thing to do is ignore the nonsense i guess…

    dc September 12, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • KM: Re: stopping the Wang-bickering, fair enough…I think it is basically the sane world vs. BRAW on that point anyway – an increasingly regular occurence on this sight.
    On the latter, can someone arrange a cage match between BRAW and long-lost W*&^ta? He needn’t be re-admitted, the organizers here could could just put the two in a fishbowl and we could all watch the mutual feeding frenzy of outlandish statements and blind fandom.
    BRAW, on your latest gem, Manny is not being “rested” because the RS are unconcerned about the Yankees or for any other reason. He is injured, with an injury (oblique) that is notoriously nagging and long in healing.
    And, uh, if you think the RS are unconcerned about the Yankees you are delusional. Oh yeah, you’ve already proved that…repeatedly.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 12:13 pm
  • I should note that my last post wasn’t an underhanded slight against Beckett. I’m not trying to feed the Wang v. Beckett fire. Just saying Wang’s a damn good pitcher. So is Beckett.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • Nick, the guy throws that 85 mph sinker 90% of the time. What better comparable to Wake’s 75 mph knuckleball, thrown the same amount of times, do you need?
    There’s luck and then there’s Wang luck. Liable to break down at any given time..

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • Braw has officially gone off the deep end in my book.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 12:17 pm
  • BRAW is now goading. I will ignore.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 12:18 pm
  • mariano rivera throws a cutter like 90% of the time. I guess that means he sucks too.

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 12:19 pm
  • Ah, I suppose I don’t comment here often enough to recognize that BRaw was just looking for an argument.
    Moving on.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • I think not, John. Let us not forget Wang is on one of those super Wake grooves lately. Before his current streak, his ERA was around 4.5, if I recall.
    Nothing special. Tons of offensive support begets a ton of wins.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 12:25 pm
  • Back to the issue at hand…
    Is there real concern about Wakefield? It’s 2 poor starts, is that really out of the norm for a Knuckleballer? If there is an injury then I would be concerned, but without reason to believe there is significant injury I would pencil Wake in for his norm come playoff time.
    As for Daisuke, I looked at all of his game logs to see if anything popped out at me and there is nothing. It’s tough to determine if this is fatigue or if the league is catching on. Again he has some nasty stuff, I wouldn’t be too concerned unless again there is injury.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 12:26 pm
  • Anyone who thinks Wang throws the sinker as much as Wake throws a knuckleball is not watching one or both of those players enough, but as Sam brilliantly points out with the Mo-comparison, this is not really the issue.
    No wories on BRAW. In addition to baiting, and quite poorly at that (at least W*&^ta had strong arguments for his bs) he cuts and runs when the Sox lose to the Yankees, unlike pretty much all the RS regulars here.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 12:30 pm
  • Right now I would take Wang over everyone on our staff except Beckett… Ok, Schilling too, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 12:32 pm
  • I do not expect the Sox or Matsuzaka would tell us if he was fatigued. I was surprised when Okajima said he was fatigued a couple weeks ago.
    That said, Matsuzaka’s velocity doesn’t appear to be down, unless it’s some weird fatigue that hurts his arm when he throws a breaking or offspeed pitch. But that sounds more like a serious physical problem, rather than fatigue.
    I think the problem is JBS — Josh Beckett Syndrome. Trying to do too much at the first sign of trouble, thus exacerbating it by sacrificing command for speed on the fastball and zeroing in on trying to blow away the opposition instead of using what works for him (setting them up with offspeed, then using a well-placed heater).

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 12:33 pm
  • “Nothing special. Tons of offensive support begets a ton of wins.”
    That would make sense if his ERA was 3.74.
    As for Wang and the sinker, your facts are all out of whack. Have you watched him pitch this season? He throws his Sinker a lot less then in the past.
    Nothing wrong with being stubborn, but at least get the facts right.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • Paul, is Daisuke throwing the fastball more now then earlier in the season? I only had the chance to see him pitch early on so I don’t know. The games I saw he pitched backwards using his offspeed stuff early in the count then going fastball. Has he changed that approach? Is he relying more on the Fastball?

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • Wang’s numbers at Fenway with its notoriously imperfect infield:
    5 games, 29 IP, 36 hits, 5.83 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, .305 BAA
    Hopefully, we can revisit this blogs claim of Wang being the best pitcher in the universe this Saturday. Don’t be shocked when he gets blown out though. I know I won’t :)

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 12:39 pm
  • The DiceK problem is certainly tough to nail down. I don’t think it’s just fatigue, but I think that’s a part of it.
    By fatigue, though, I don’t just mean he’s getting physically tired. I think he’s having trouble adjusting to a longer season, in a lot of ways. Physically, there seems to be little indication that his body is giving out on him or anything.
    But I think mentally he’s having trouble keeping his performance up, for whatever reason. Some of that may be confidence, but like I said, he’s played in high pressure situations before, so that doesn’t explain it all. But he did show that he had trouble once runners got on base, even early in the season, so that could definitely be a problem that, for whatever reason, is getting bigger as the season progresses.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 12:42 pm
  • I’m not really worried about Wake. Like you said, John, he goes through this from time to time. Maybe not as severe as the last two starts, but we’ve all seen this before.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 12:43 pm
  • Don’t be shocked when he gets blown out though. I know I won’t :)
    God, I wish you wouldn’t stay stupid sh*t like that.
    Is he relying more on the Fastball?
    Sadly, I can’t watch all the games tot ell you for sure, but based on what Francona and Farrell said, that seems to be the problem. Maybe they’re lying to cover up a more serious problem, but I doubt they’d be feeding a line of bullcrap that is so easily verifiable by the reporters they’re discussing the problem with.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 12:45 pm
  • BRaw- No, you haven’t been paying attention. Job Chamberlain is the best pitcher in the universe. Duh.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 12:49 pm
  • Throwing the fastball more can certainly be a sign of an arm issue. More specifically it could be a sign of elbow problems. But that’s all guess work since I am not Daisuke.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • I can’t see how anyone can get too worried about Wakefield. The big thing with him seems to be that he either has it or he doesn’t. When he doesn’t there is no safety net – he gets crushed a la Mike Mussina when he doesn’t have his stuff (which he may no longer have at all…we’ll see). I’d be concerned re: Matsuzaka if for no other reason then you are still learning about him, have a long-term investment in him, and he is your #2.
    I have to think that pressure is not the issue. It is one or more of the following 4 issues listed here from least to greatest concern I would think for RS fans:
    1. a couple bad starts coincidentally strung in a row;
    2. MLB-learning curve; i.e. learning not to fall into bad fall-back plans like over-reliance on the fastball that may have worked in Japan but are bad ideas vs. MLB hitters;
    3. a nagging injury;
    4. fatigue.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 12:52 pm
  • Whatever, Paul. Far be it from me to point out how a lot of you guys get too caught up in present numbers while ignoring historical comparisons or actual talent. I would not stoop so low.
    Oops, I just did!

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • Matsuzaka, in his last start, had zero location with his slider. And I mean none. I have no idea if this is mechanical, physical, psychological, or some combination of all of these things.
    I subscribe to Occam’s Razor on this one: he’s in a new league, has new stresses, is pitching in a longer season against new, fantastic talent that adjusts, and he’s a human being. Some element of all of these things is causing his struggles. Hopefully he makes the adjustments now to mitigate the struggles.

    SF September 12, 2007, 12:54 pm
  • I love it. BRAW wants to get into “historical comparisons”. Oh yes, please go there. This should be fun.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 12:57 pm
  • Please, don’t go there. BRAW is leading this to a place that almost nobody here wants to go and is an army of one on most of his opinions. It’s not worth it.

    SF September 12, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • I gotta feel that the pressure on all these largely-hyped international players must be enormous in a way that others pobably just can’t relate to. You’ve got all the issues/transitions SF has raised PLUS:
    1) big culture shift with language barriers and non-existent (or very distant) circle of supporters/family/friends/etc.;
    2) major expectations in two countries with results followed much more minute-by-minute than and American player, even A-Rod ’06, can likely relate to.
    If Matsuzaka does make the adjustment it should go without saying that he will have overcome much more than your average hyped minor-leaguer-turned-pro here.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:02 pm
  • “Before his current streak, his ERA was around 4.5, if I recall.”
    If that means his current streak began in May when his ERA was last 4.5 that is a correct statement. The highest its been since then is 4.10.
    BRAW-if you make up stuff on this site people will notice and call you on it. This will make a weak argument seem even weaker…

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • IH:
    You probably read this and commented, but I am going to refer back to Kyoto’s post on Dice’s struggles, particularly item #2 in his missive.

    SF September 12, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • So what are you saying, SF, that because you think Wang is the best pitcher in baseballl everyone else should too?
    I asked before if anyone here would reveal one Wang stat that supports any argument of superiority. The best (only) response is that his 3.70 ain’t bad for the East. That’s like saying Lilly is the 3rd best pitcher in the NL, because he’s in the NL.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 1:06 pm
  • My apology, Sam. I really did think his ERA was hovering around 4.50 before his present streak. Not so, I have learned.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 1:08 pm
  • “The best (only) response is that his 3.70 ain’t bad for the East. That’s like saying Lilly is the 3rd best pitcher in the NL, because he’s in the NL.”
    A new fantastic Zen koan. This is a tree falling in the forrest and one hand clapping all wrapped into one! Bravo!

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 1:13 pm
  • Concerning Wang`s luck, I don’t know where to get the data, but we could seek a simple statistical test to see just how lucky he is. Just look at his BABIP for ground balls, compared to the league average. From that and a assuming a normal distribution, we can test to see what is the probability that his gb should be turned into outs at league average rate.
    If the result is something like he has a 5% probability of having such low babip at gb, we can perhaps assume he has been lucky, but if it tell us that the probability is something like 0.01%, the best hypothesis is that he is an exception to the rule that pitchers cannot control his babip, and most likely his pitches produce hit balls that should be turned into outs more often, probably because of how hard they are hit (weaker gb tend to yeld outs more often than hard hit gbs.)
    This seem like a very simple study, at should add to sabermetricians claim that pitchers cannot control their babip. I am inclined to believe that while this is the general rule, there must be some exceptions.

    fabio(yf) September 12, 2007, 1:13 pm
  • Thanks SF – I had only skimmed and not commented on that thread as it was a busy day. Kyoto’s insights on Matsuzaka and Japan-to-US transitioning generally are great.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:14 pm
  • To have a 7-game Division Series, won’t MLB have to trim a few games off the regular season? Remember that Minnesota is often in the playoffs and is building a new stadium with no roof!

    Ron Newman September 12, 2007, 1:17 pm
  • “…this blogs claim of Wang being the best pitcher in the universe…”
    exactly who made that statement b-raw?…and when and where did sf say “…Wang is the best pitcher in baseballl…”?
    you got it wrong again…just like many of your other “facts”…you should take sam-yf’s advice…
    by the way, i got what i intended to, some well deserved respect for wang…you seem to be the only holdout…and i’ve tipped my cap appropriately to beckett for his great year…see, it can still be fun without the antagonism…

    dc September 12, 2007, 1:17 pm
  • To me, the most compelling stats for CMW as better than a “#3 starter”:
    Career ERA+ 117 *Beckett is 114 for reference)
    29 home runs allowed in 515 IP (thats .51/9!)
    Career slugging against .370! (turns the whole league into the 2007 version of nancy drew)
    2007 VORP 45.1, 19th amongst all starting pitchers in baseball (Beckett is 9th at 52.9)
    Career BB/9 2.4
    Career BB/FB ratio of 2.91
    A guy who can keep walks around 2 per 9 innings and completely shuts down opponents power is at least a great #2.

    Michael T September 12, 2007, 1:18 pm
  • We all should know that Wang is great because his name is a common euphemism for a piece of the male anatomy. What more does anyone need?
    Remember Dick Trickle? Representative Richard Swett? The former Sox Dick Pole? All of these players and persons bring a smile to the face of sophomoric baseball, politics, and sports fans everywhere, and CMW is no exception.
    Now, back to the idiocy.

    SF September 12, 2007, 1:18 pm
  • OK chief, hows this:
    Quality starts: 18
    Ground Ball/Fly Ball: 2.7
    Pitches/PA: 3.5
    HR allowed: 8
    Thanks for playing.

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 1:19 pm
  • Q: At what point does “won more games than any other pitcher over 2 years” not become good enough?
    A: When the person you are talking to is wearing blinders.
    While the BABIP exercise might be interesting and insightful, I really doubt it would have any bearing on BRAW’s views, in which I have become supremely disinterested.
    I’m happy to concede he is the luckiest player in the league and that his luck, having lasted over 2 years in the majors, is likely to coninue for another 10.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • but Sam, all those numbers occur because Ted Lilly plays in the NL.
    I think that’s the counter-argument now.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • I’m not touching this one with a twenty-foot pole.
    Both are having great years.

    Brad September 12, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • The most significant difference I have seen in Matsuzaka between his pitching in MLB and the videos of him him Japan is the movement on his breaking stuff. It’s night and day. I think this has a lot to do with the different ball. The ball used in the Nippon is smaller and has more grip as well as slightly raised laces. I think this is a huge problem for him. Look at those video from his days in the Nippon, it’s night and day.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • “I’m not touching this one with a twenty-foot pole.
    Both are having great years.”
    Brad, that’s like saying Ted Lilly pitches in the NL.
    I’m loving this Ted Lilly thing. It works for everything.:)
    Ok, I’ll stop.
    Ted Lilly
    OK, finished. I swear. Probably only amusing to me.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • I did not mean to say night and day twice, little fuzzy from last night still.

    Anonymous September 12, 2007, 1:24 pm
  • Every series v. Toronto makes me thank the baseball gods that Lilly is in the NL:)

    Brad September 12, 2007, 1:25 pm
  • I missed one, but think this is pretty devastating.
    CMW’s CAREER slugging % against (.370) is better than Josh Beckett’s for 2007.
    And I don’t think any Sox fan’s would argue that Beckett has been anything short of an Ace this year.

    Michael T September 12, 2007, 1:27 pm
  • No Nick, I was enjoing that one too. Ted Lilly would be proud.
    Lockland, very interesting point that I did not even know existed as an issue. But Matsuzaka has had many lights-out games here already hasn’t he? And if so, wouldn’t that mitigate the different-ball issue? I mean, he either is having trouble with the different ball all the time, or not, right? If anything, it would be something that would yield worse results in his earlier appearances I would think.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:29 pm
  • who the hell is ted lilly?

    dc September 12, 2007, 1:30 pm
  • DC, that is such a Ted Lilly comment to make.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:32 pm
  • How am I doing Nick?

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:33 pm
  • Check out from around 1:15 on…

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • IH, possibly, unless he was just throwing less breaking stuff here than he was in Japan, maybe he was laying off of it until he mastered the new ball, I’m not sure. If would be interesting to compare his pitch selection now vs. his time in Japan and see if there was any significant difference.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • brad, i couldn’t agree more with your sentiment: “…Both are having great years…” that was the only pertinent point…a little respect for both of them…sometimes we get too hung up on the nuances of various stats and ignore the obvious…finally, i could care less who’s a #1, or #2/3…that position could change depending upon what team your on…for example, if we’re talking about the twins, it’s unlikely that too many, if any, other team’s #1 would displace santana for that so-called honor…

    dc September 12, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • IH, well done. You’re Ted Lilly’ing ass!

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 1:40 pm
  • your=you’re
    [ted lilly made me do it]

    dc September 12, 2007, 1:41 pm
  • Fist pump for Ted Lilly.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 1:49 pm
  • So, I did some back of the envelope calculations, and It seems that CMW babip is at least 4 standard deviations smaller that you would expect if you assumed his hit balls should be turned into outs at league average rate. The probability that this is pure luck, as suggested, is smaller than 0.0032%, or about 3 in 100000. He should quit baseball and just move to Vegas.
    His control and ability to keep hitters in the park alnoe would make him a very good pitcher, but it seems that he has got something more going on. And all this with DJ at ss.

    fabio(yf) September 12, 2007, 1:49 pm
  • IH and Lockland- If his breaking stuff does have less movement over here than in Japan, that might back up the AL-hitters-are-getting-used-to-him argument. If the ball has less movement, it would take less time for batters to figure out how to hit it, even if DiceK threw it with the same proficiency all season.
    I think it’s definitely all a matter of a lot of factors working together against DiceK. The guy clearly has talent, it’s just a matter of getting him over this hump.

    KurticusMaximus- YF September 12, 2007, 1:50 pm
  • Lockland, that’s so “Lilly is third best in the NL, therefore he plays in the NL”.
    It’s getting Lilly in here.

    Nick-YF September 12, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • Fabio,
    I can’t balance a checkbook so I am in minor awe. As a great man once said, “I can’t pronouce it, but it eats pretty good ut it sounds really good” (who can name that reference?)
    Seriously, I do appreciate the effort. If I had tried the same, I would have fallen on my face. I don’t think I have ever based an argument on how many “standard deviations” off something is from the norm, but I can acknowledge that it sounds pretty convincing when you do it.

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • Oops, proper reference:
    “I can’t pronouce it, but it eats pretty good”

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • “It’s getting Lilly in here, let’s take off all our clothes!”

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 1:57 pm
  • IH, thanks. I’m a mathematician, it should explain why I care and how I did it.

    fabio(yf) September 12, 2007, 2:00 pm
  • Wow, I’m in meetings all day and I miss this? My view:
    It’s already obvious that, as a SF, I’m not a huge Beckett fan. I think he’s a fine starter, but not at the price they paid. That’s neither here nor there, but I just don’t think there’s “no discussion” that Beckett is better than Wang. Beckett has shown the higher ceiling but Wang has been remarkably more consistent. And over their careers, that means they’re about the same (114 ERA+ for Beckett vs. 117 ERA+ for Wang). Sure, when they’re both at their best, I’d rather Beckett. But drafting for the future, I think it’s a tossup based on ceiling vs. reliability.
    Even as the post got at it, no one’s really addressed it. What’s the Sox rotation for the playoffs? And I think it’s scary that that either Dice-K or Schilling is the #2 with the other the #3. Not the same good vibes I had in June. Ugh. Meanwhile, Buchholz is right at his innings limit.

    Pete September 12, 2007, 2:25 pm
  • “…And all this with DJ at ss….”
    exactly, with such a porous and mediocre defense behind him, you’d think he’d have worse luck/results…maybe it’s really dj and cano that are lucky all those balls find their gloves somehow…hmm….
    fabio, i have to admit i don’t get the conclusion your math reached: he is lucky, or he isn’t?…what is the standard for luck?…3 in 100000 doesn’t sound like real good odds to me…then again, i don’t believe in luck at all…so i’d put it at 0%…

    dc September 12, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • Lockland,
    The best part of that YouTube video is at 2:06, when the press are taking photos of Matsuzaka and Wily Mo is standing behind everyone dancing all crazy-like, trying to get Daisuke to laugh.
    By the way, the Ted Lilly comment made me choke on my Mountain Dew. I hope we all realize how antagonstic RAW is now. And just so my input is heard: Wang is having a great year. An ERA of 3.74 in the American League (especially the AL East) is nothing to skoff at.

    Atheose September 12, 2007, 2:33 pm
  • What up, playa!

    Ted Lilly September 12, 2007, 2:35 pm
  • Oh shit son, Ted Lilly is all-up-ons the typepad!

    Atheose September 12, 2007, 2:38 pm
  • I dont think that BABIP is necessarily the best way to test Wang’s luck. I understand the sabermetrtic rational behind it but if you watch the guy pitch he gets more weakly hit balls than most other pitchers as a result of his sinker. Saying he is lucky because many of his balls in play are outs is essentially the same as questioning his results because he doesnt get enough Ks.
    I do believe that statistical analysis of baseball is the most powerful tool we have but sometimes anamoles do occur. Watching Wang’s performances can be very informative as to his numbers. I believe he has the ability to strike people out and will go for one when he needs one. However, he has mastered pitching to contact and uses this as his primary tool. This allows him to throw less pitcher per AB and as a result go deeper into games. The fact he is successful in a different way than most other pitchers means nothing. Tim Wakefield can relate to this. End results matter most, and CMW’s are very very good.

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 2:44 pm
  • Sam, I’m not saying that Wang is lucky. I’m saying that the data shows this is really unlikely, his results are too good for too long to be atributable to just luck. The Babip argument was done to prove the same point you are defending.

    fabio(yf) September 12, 2007, 2:54 pm
  • Cool Fabio, I guess I misunderstood!

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 2:56 pm
  • A blog that claims Wang is the best pitcher in baseball (but his numbers suck because he pitches in the East) but Lilly blows, even though his numbers are actually pretty damn good, although only since moving from the AL to NL, is as consistant as a Wake knuckler, thrown in 80 mph winds.
    You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Yanks. Either he’s great, with numbers to support, or he ain’t. It’s fairly obvious that if Lilly moves back to the AL he sucks again. Likewise, if Wang leaves the AL East and the run support he gets with the offensively inclined Yanks he’s an average starter.
    Although, actually, I think he’s an average starter, period. Yanks or not.
    See you Saturday. Don’t be a stranger.

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • Wang once beat Bubba Crosby 47 straight times in rock-paper-scissors. Which means that Wang is either really good at rock-paper-scissors, Bubba Crosby is really predictable, stupid, or both, or Wang has some combination of smarts, skill, and luck.

    SF September 12, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • “Although, actually, I think he’s an average starter, period. Yanks or not.”
    And you are wrong. I guess this means that the sox have 4 below average starters. Actually screw it, Josh Beckett is the only good starter in all of baseball. Everyone else basically sucks.

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 3:04 pm
  • “…blog that claims Wang is the best pitcher in baseball…”
    where does one find this blog?…i’ve looked and looked and looked, and i just can’t find it, just like i still can’t find the logic in b-raw’s arguments….

    dc September 12, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • his results are too good for too long to be atributable…
    Why stop there? It is quite evident from looking at his pitching log that he’s the best pitcher since CY himself!
    /eyes rolling

    BostonRAW September 12, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • sf, we dumped crosby simply because he was so rock-paper-scissors deficient…can’t build a team around a guy like that…

    dc September 12, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • Loch Ness Monster, RAW’s logic, Big Foot, a person that thinks Wang is the best pitcher, the Easter Bunny…

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • Show me…Things that don’t exist.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • (but his numbers suck because he pitches in the East)
    Explain again how a 3.70 ERA is sucking? And further explain how it’s illogical to be impressed by having a non-sucky ERA in what is likely the best-hitting division in baseball?
    Your arguments just make no sense, B-RAW. I don’t like Wang precisely because of the anomaly he represents, but I don’t deny that the anomaly exists by calling him a crappy pitcher. That’s just ignoring, you know, the results when he pitches.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • I agree. When you can’t count on a guy to throw down a rock when he needs it, or if he goes to the paper slap at much higer percentage than the ever-reliable scissor chop, only to be defeated in tournament competition every time…
    Yeah, you gotta let a guy like that hit free agency and see if you can get a marginal pick for him.
    Plus, I heard that Bubba would often throw down on the two-count, which is clearly a false start penalty resulting in a shoulder punch. Too many mistakes in his game.

    Brad September 12, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • Lockland, next thing you’ll say there’s no Santa Claus, too?!

    yankeemonkey September 12, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • lol, Brad.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • Me speak English good. Ugh.

    yankeemonkey September 12, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • Braw(l), you are funny. Very solid reasoning. I’ll follow the lead of the old timers here and just ignore.

    Anonymous September 12, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • b-raw…here’s another shot at it, exactly what is your beef with the 18 game winner?…not enough strikeouts?…they’re about 4.5 for every 9 innings, not spectacular, but servicable…era?…he’s better than the league average by about .8 of a run…and he’s better than the league average in whip…he will pitch close to 200 innings this year…nobody here has said he’s the best, but all in all, he’s pretty darn good, huh?…cy would be proud…

    dc September 12, 2007, 3:20 pm

    SF September 12, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • I’m not even kidding, but I kind of rule at Rock, Paper, Scissor, for real. My friends and I like to gamble, on pretty much anything, anything at all, but when there are no ingredients or not enough people for poker, set of dice, backgammon board, or even just a coin to flip, our goto is RPS for money. I clean up.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • dc:
    Please, PLEASE disengage! There’s no point. Nobody agrees with BRAW, there’s no reason to keep this going.

    SF September 12, 2007, 3:22 pm
  • Lockland:
    I used to dominate my college roommate at RPS, almost comically. He was hardwired to always throw rock first: he’s a Republican, it was all too predictable. He never figured out that I figured this out about him.

    SF September 12, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Paul, why would you dislike a pitcher because he has success in an unpeculiar way (other than he being a Yankee and you a sf)? Shouldn’t this be something to be appreciated (sp?)? Guys that have approaches that work only for them are the ones that stand out at their level. Wakefield for instance is much more interesting to watch than other pitchers with his average results.

    fabio(yf) September 12, 2007, 3:24 pm
  • Ted Lilly fist pumps for disengaging!

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 3:26 pm
  • ok, sorry sf, i said earlier that i would ignore him, but sometimes i can’t help myself…

    dc September 12, 2007, 3:26 pm
  • fabio:
    I gather Paul finds Wang’s anomaly annoying, his uniform dislikable. If that’s the case I can understand where Paul is coming from as a fan (as an empiricist things like that drive me nuts, particularly when they benefit a rival!) but I can’t speak for him and don’t share the sentiments he expresses.

    SF September 12, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • SF, that’s too funny. I have a friend who basically throws what I tell him to throw, if I taunt him enough about what I “know” he’s going to throw, he inevitably will throw it. I will never understand that.

    LocklandSF September 12, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • It is unbelievable and a fire-able offense how much time I have spent here today on what is one of the busiest days of the year…

    IronHorse (yf) September 12, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • Ironhorse-I feel the same way. I actually delayed a project today so I could look up why CMW is a good pitcher. Any thing to protect the innocent from ignorance

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • Lockland have you ever played Left, Right, Center? Seems like a game you would love!

    John - YF (Trisk) September 12, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • You guys burned a day of work to respond to BRAW, as nobody else really needed convincing.
    This is why disengagement is vital, for your job’s sake!

    SF September 12, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • its worth it really SF, i dont love my job anyway.

    Sam-YF September 12, 2007, 3:40 pm
  • SF nailed my sentiments. Wakefield throws a unique pitch, but the results he gets with it are about what you’d expect — his stats and relative success are consistent with such a unique pitch. In fact, he’s not even as successful at it as other knuckleballers throughout baseaball history. It’s not the uniqueness that annoys me. I love the unique oddities about baseball.
    It’s the fact that Wang is throwing a sinker — harder than normal, sure, but not really “unique,” per se, achieving stats that would indicate he might struggle at times when luck deserted him, a la Derek Lowe — and somehow is showing up all of baseball history with the results. That annoys me.
    And yes, I’m sure his being a Yankee has a lot — if not most — to do with it.

    Paul SF September 12, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • It is much more likely that the league is adjusting and will continue to adjust to DiceK rather than the other way around. Here is a crude, but illuminating analyis of other imported Japanese “power” SPs who joined the MLB during their peak age. Simple stats are innings pitched and ERA+ beginning with their first “full” season in MLB:
    Hideo Nomo: 1. 191/150, 2. 228/220, 3. 207/91, 4. 157/83, 5. 158/82; first full year was seasonal age 26
    Hideki Irabu: 1. 173/110, 2. 169/93, 3. 55/64, 4+. toast/toast; first full year age 29
    Kaz Ishii: 194/89, 2. 147/104, 3. 172/88, 4. 91/81, 5. where are they now file; first year age 28
    Nomo did have one bounce back year at age 34 with the Dodgers after several years of medicority.

    Michael T September 12, 2007, 4:43 pm
  • I have to point this out because it always gets thrown out there, and doesn’t get challenged. Wang deserves no extra credit for pitching in the AL East. Wanna know why”
    He pitches for the freakin’ Yankees! (and therfor doesn’t have to face the one “great” offense in the league. Lets go to the tape, using simple runs scored:
    Bosox – 4th in baseball with 782, good but not great (2nd 10%)
    Tampa Bay- 11th in MLB with 707 which happens to be barely above MLB average of 691
    Baltimore- 18th with 661. Slightly worse than average.
    Toronto- 21st with 654, 3rd worst in the AL.
    So, a Yankees pitcher’s Division opponent’s offenses rate very good (Sox), sorta good (Rays), average (Os) and poor (Blue Jays).
    Thee you have it. And, this also goes for Sox pitchers, just replcae the very good with great.
    The Al East is the toughest Division to picth in. If you’re on the Os or Blue Jays.

    Michael T September 12, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • paul, i respect your honesty re. wang…i too look at sox players differently being a yankee fan…

    dc September 12, 2007, 10:11 pm
  • sf, i’m weakening…give me strength to ignore the stupidity….

    dc September 12, 2007, 10:17 pm

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