4-12-2011: Dice-K stinks it up, like number 5s tend to do

When I heard how confident everyone was that the Rays would come to town and be no-hit for the series, I knew that we were in trouble. No matter how bad the April numbers are, no team is as bad as you might think. But wow, 20 hits?

Just how bad was Daisuke Matsuzaka last night? Really bad. The Red Sox basically had no chance to win it after the second inning, and you can see that graphically, courtesy of FanGraphs:

Win Probabiilty graph, TBA @ BOS, 4/11/11

And he was horrific, no argument. The stuff was actually comparable to his first start in Cleveland, which was not too bad, but he absolutely couldn’t hit his spots. Terry Francona said that Matsuzaka has had command problems before, but last night he was “middle-middle”, which is what only a good batting practice pitcher aspires to be.

I know, everyone’s had it with Dice-K and they want the Sox to trade him or release him right now, but let’s be realistic. Nobody’s buying on him right now, and the Sox are not eating $20M. He’s a 5th starter, and 5th starters have really bad days. Tampa Bay’s number 5 last year, Wade Davis, allowed 7 runs on 5 hits in 3.2 innings on May 24 of last year, then had another game of 8 runs on 9 hits in 3.1 innings just two starts later. The Giants’ excellent rotation features Todd Wellemeyer in April, and he allowed 11 runs in 10.1 IP in his first two starts, good for a 9.58 ERA. The Phillies were running Jamie Moyer out there last April, and his first two starts looked like this: 12 IP, 15 H, 10 ER, 7.50 ERA.

People want to swap Matsuzaka with Tim Wakefield, but check the box score and you’ll see that Wake also got roughed up last night – there’s no evidence that he would be better. On the contrary, history tells us that Matsuzaka is a better pitcher, on average. So long as he has a couple of good ones mixed in there with the bad, I think we have to keep throwing him out there until a decent trade offer comes along. If he can’t turn in a good outing in his next two, the next step would be to place him on waivers to see if anyone claims him, so we don’t need to pay his money.


3 Responses to 4-12-2011: Dice-K stinks it up, like number 5s tend to do

  1. toosoxy says:

    i was already depressed. then you give a visual representation and it gets worse.
    i do not see dice-k bouncing back. i am through waiting.
    i’d like to swap him with wake and attach tek to all wake’s outings.
    that’s what i’d like to see.

    • redsoxtalk says:

      Unfortunately for the Sox, Dice-K doesn’t warm up well, and has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to come out of the bullpen (not that Wake does). With no minor league options and a full no-trade clause, he’s kind of holding all the cards.

      The ideal thing is if the Sox could acquire a decent #5/#6 starter, then they could waive Matsuzaka and use Wakefield in the #5 slot. You could see Felix Doubront called to fill that role, but he’s currently not stretched out, thanks to the implosion of Dennys Reyes.

      Other than that, cutting him doesn’t really seem like an option.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    The extension of Clay Buchholz means that we now have four starters locked in for the foreseeable future. I don’t see us sticking with Matsuzaka for much longer, but there is not much choice now. There’s some chance he could be moved at the deadline, but with all the constraints with dealing him, my guess is that an offseason trade is more likely.

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