Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2007-03-07 09:57
by Alex Belth

I fully expect Daisuke Matsuzaka to be more than formidable this season. The Bombers can survive a strong rookie season from him; they'll have cause for concern if Paplebon and Beckett are monsters. Fortunately, Yankee fans up north are staying warm thinking about Phillip Hughes, who is profiled by Jayson Stark today at

Speaking of chill, the latest round of steriod stories are predictably depressing. Check out Jon Weisman's excellent post on matter over at Dodger Thoughts.

Comments (64)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-03-07 10:09:46
1.   vockins
I think Beckett being a monster is about as likely as Pavano being a monster. Well, maybe not that bad.

I'm more worried about Lester.

2007-03-07 10:13:14
2.   C2Coke
I am glad Alex had already stated the worse scenario and got it out of the way.

As wild as Igawa looked the other day, I somehow gained a lot of confidence in him. With Wang, Pettitte, Moose and a GM named Brian Cashman, I gotta say, I haven't feel this good going into a season for a while now.

2007-03-07 10:24:41
3.   rbj
I'm not so sure Paplebon is going to be such a monster -- it's fine for one inning, but having to start 30+ games, I dunno.

And will Schill be healthy?

At this point, I give a slight edge to the Yankees' rotation.

2007-03-07 10:26:18
4.   Shawn Clap
Matsusucka won't make up 11 games in the standings.

Bob Gibson in 1968 form probably couldn't close an 11 game gap.

I grow bored with this so-called 'Spring Training', these guys are ready now. Someone call the Commish, tell 'em to get this thing started already!

2007-03-07 10:29:56
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Kevin Goldstein has an early scouting report on Matsuzaka (from an actual scout!) over on Baseball Prospectus:

It's unfair to judge by an early spring outing alone, but the scout's report says that Matzusaka didn't show a plus-plus pitch that would make him an ace. That's he looked more like a number two or three from that outing.

2007-03-07 10:41:59
6.   Marcus
Good to see those quotes from Hughes. He seems like a very level-headed guy. Easy to root for.

Hrmph, I'm not the biggest Jayson Stark fan. I don't know if it's the lame analogies, excessive use of italics, or the superfluous "y" in his first name, but the guy just annoys me.

The Yankees previously weren't a baseball team, they were rental center!

"Bringing in those gazillion-dollar, superstud hired guns hasn't worked so well."

I'd be pleased just to read the unedited quotes, rather than have to sift through the lazy, over-used, "Yankees as evil empire" ideas over and over again.

2007-03-07 10:47:32
7.   Marcus
5 I wonder if there's anything to what Igawa said about the feel of the MLB ball being different than the Japanese ball? Not as much grip, leading to less effective breaking balls?

Long way to go until the season starts though, so we'll see how adjusts.

2007-03-07 10:54:25
8.   standuptriple
4 Let's not forget Matsuzaka was lights out last year against MLB March (WBC). I fully expect him to do well, but the true test will be his ability to perform on shorter rest and after guys have seen him up close.
2007-03-07 10:59:24
9.   Alex Belth
Thanks for the heads up on the BP scouting report, Cliff.
2007-03-07 11:10:59
10.   wsporter
7 There's been a good deal written on the net this year about the American ML ball being more slippery than the Japanese version. I think COH had a bit on it this winter. Anyway, that seems to be the word.
2007-03-07 11:25:06
11.   Shawn Clap
8 Matsuzaka faced Tawain, Cuba & Mexico. Only Mexico boasted any "MLB hitters", and of those, the best is a toss-up between Karim Garcia & Jorge Cantu.

I fully expect a Todd Van Poppel-esque crash back to reality come June/July.

2007-03-07 11:30:54
12.   yankz
11 Waiting...
2007-03-07 11:35:03
13.   Bama Yankee
"Who is Jorge Cantu?"
2007-03-07 11:35:12
14.   standuptriple
11 I think Cuba would take offense to that comment. Does anybody have box-scores (I'll even accept round ones) from the WBC handy?
2007-03-07 11:39:46
15.   Shawn Clap
If you click on the game recap, there's a link to the box scores.

2007-03-07 11:41:51
16.   Raf
15 for box scores
2007-03-07 11:54:42
17.   The Lady
Marcus, Igawa said that? Sounds like something I've heard before. From Irabu. Yikes!
2007-03-07 11:56:47
18.   AbbyNormal821
4...FRIGGIN' EXCELLENT! That's got my vote for to be Dice-K's nickname if he hasn't been given one already by anyone on here yet!!!
2007-03-07 11:59:41
19.   standuptriple
I guess I shouldn't have been that lazy. Looks like Cuba did a decent job touching him up. THe point I was trying to make is that he looked good-to-very-good vs guys who never saw him before early. I'm not ready to annoint him just yet. [preparing for mikeplugh's Matsu-defense]
2007-03-07 12:03:20
20.   Bama Yankee
For the record, our buddy Karim Garcia hit .429/.500/.714 in the WBC. Jorge Cantu was .333/.346/.583. Mexico also had Vinny Castilla (.292/.320/.333) and got six hits off Clemens but only one off Dicey-Kay (no relation to Michael, Danny or Mary).
2007-03-07 12:08:36
21.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I think it all depends on Dice-K's fastball. I recall hearing that he had a mid90s fastball.I have a hard time believing that if he's maxing out at 91 that he'll be the ace everyone thought he was going to be. He'd need Mussina-like command of his offspeed stuff to really succeed in that case.

I dunno, maybe he has that sort of command -- and apparently the Sawx think it's his changeup that will be devastating -- but from where I'm sitting, and after seeing our Japanese import pitch the other day -- it looks like maybe both us and the Sawx got a # 3 or 4 starter, rather than us getting a 5 and the Sawx a #1.

2007-03-07 12:13:29
22.   Cliff Corcoran
21 I sort of assumed the two imports were a number two (DM) and a number four (Igawa), actually, but then as the previous thread indicates, I, unlike Billy Joel, don't go to extremes (I do, however, go for ice cream).
2007-03-07 12:18:04
23.   standuptriple
21 I think as long as he doesn't learn the knuckle from Wakefield the Yanks will be able to adjust.
2007-03-07 12:20:42
24.   Chyll Will
19 In Mike's defense (if nothing else) I think we all anticipated him to be a Yankee on this date; no one saw Boston blowing the house down the way they did, so it shouldn't change Mike's observations and predictions per se. On the other hand, I'm guessing that the prevailing sentiment is that while he's probably as good as he's purported, he'd better suck when it counts (dibs on Aug-Oct)

20 or our buddy jkay, I imagine. By the way, if Dave Concepcion played today, would he be called D-Con or Rat Poison? (which begs another question: was he ever a players rep?)

2007-03-07 12:25:45
25.   williamnyy23
Three points on Matsuzaka:

1) According to many reports, he has been working out extensively since January and already adopted a mid-season routine. I believe he threw a 60 pitch bullpen before his 3-inning stint against the Marlins. Based on that level of preparation, he had better look very good in early spring. Considering that he must be way ahead of not only other pitchers, but the hitters as well, anything less would be a warning sign. Also, another thing to consider is whether Matsuzaka will be able to maintain his routine as the long MLB season drags on. If not, some early success could give way to a late season fade.

2) Matsuzaka pitched only 13 IP in the WBC (and 0 against the U.S./DR/PR). Also, he wasn't even by far the best pitcher on the staff. Shunsuke Watanabe and Koji Uehara both pitched as well in as many or more innings. If you use the WBC as a measure, then every Asian pitcher should have been signed. Both Japan and Korea were well ahead of many of the other teams in terms of preparation, so not surprisingly, they featured excellent pitching (and made it so far). Furthermore, Chan Ho Park and Jae Seo were among the two best pitchers in the whole tournament and we know how they have fared in the major leagues.

3) Finally, check out some of the names in the Marlins lineup…there was no Cabrera…not even a Jacobs or Willingham.

There seems to be a real rush to anoint Matsuzaka, but the proof isn't going to come until well into the 2007 season. Let's not rush things too much…before you know it, another cold, dreary off-season will be upon us!

2007-03-07 12:31:38
26.   yankz
25 It won't be dreary this time around.
2007-03-07 12:34:36
27.   Bama Yankee
22 Nice one, Cliff. BTW, keep up the good work. I really enjoy your insight. I am not sure where that joker from the last thread was coming from (at least I hope they were joking). We all know that you Didn't Start The Fire because that's Just The Way You Are... ;-)

24 "D-Con"... LOL, good one Chyll.

2007-03-07 12:40:24
28.   Max Nomad
Nice, williamnyy23; it drives me nuts when things are so blown out of proportion over a little bit of ST. It's been my experience that guys like Moose, Santana, and Halladay have poor springs because they're just tuning, and others like Maroth dominate and we all know the truth.
2007-03-07 12:44:56
29.   rbj
25 Good point in #1 -- How long is the Nippon League season, and I don't thing they have to travel as far as MLB players do.

Still, if he were in pinstripes I'd be touting him, not knocking him.

2007-03-07 12:57:44
30.   williamnyy23
29 The Japanese major leagues feature a 136 game schedule. Also, most teams employ a six man rotation. So, when you consider the weekly off day, the typical Japanese pitcher (including D-Mat) throws once a week.
2007-03-07 12:58:08
31.   Chyll Will
27 I always say, "think of the possibilities"... Richie Sexon?
2007-03-07 13:00:07
32.   Jeteupthemiddle
I did a couple of community projections on my blog (Melky, Pavano, Igawa) and decided today that with all the talk about Hughes (since his appearance yesterday)a projection for him could be fun.

If anyone wants to participate, please feel free.

2007-03-07 13:01:34
33.   OldYanksFan
I believe I heard that the ball in Japan is SLIGHTLY SMALLER, and maybe why pitchers from Japan don't do as well at (position players) batters do.

What pitch this would effect the most, I don't know, but I would guess a curveball.

2007-03-07 13:02:04
34.   Shaun P
Regardless of how DM performs, given all we've heard about him, especially from Mike P., I'm looking forward to watching him pitch. If NESN, ESPN, or FOX is broadcasting the game, though, I'll be muting the volume.

I think we'll enjoy watching Quest Igawa pitch too. He just seems like he'll be an entertaining pitcher. In fact, from what I've read, I think he could end up reminding us of a lefty El Duque - getting by as much on guile and deception and a number of pitches (and an ability to locate those pitches well) as opposed to blowing guys away, like DM is supposed to be able to do.

2007-03-07 13:03:13
35.   williamnyy23
To back up my earlier post, the following is excerpted from Dan Shaughnessy's article in the Globe:

Matsuzaka certainly loves to throw. Sox officials were somewhat surprised when he threw approximately 60 pitches in a bullpen session Monday, the day before his start.

"It's being reined in a little," Epstein said. "It's a compromise. He's got a program that works for him. It's proven to be healthy for him. We don't want to change him. At the same time, there's a sharing of ideas about how to best get ready for a long season."

2007-03-07 13:16:49
36.   Bama Yankee
31 Or this guy:
2007-03-07 13:25:26
37.   Chyll Will
35 Which brings up a point to ponder: Do you suppose there's more potential for Boston to misuse, abuse or otherwise undermine his ability (think of Paps, Hansen) than for him to fail on his own in his first year? That's where I actually like the Yank's cautious approach with young pitchers. Maybe we're talking about two extremes here, but if the same approach is taken with Igawa as with Wang, then I think he has a better shot at pitching out the season than Dice.
2007-03-07 13:33:08
38.   RIYank
A couple of Marlins swear that Dice-K threw a gyroball. Of course, they do not agree on what that means -- one said it was a change-up, the other said it was a slider. (I only heard this on the radio this morning and didn't catch which Marlins were blabbing.)

On another topic: David Pinto said yesterday that he thinks there's a good case to be made for bringing Hughes up now. The idea is that leaving him in Scranton (still can't get used to saying that) is wasting an excellent year.

2007-03-07 13:36:26
39.   RIYank
And speaking of Mike Plugh, has everyone seen this?

2007-03-07 13:38:22
40.   Chyll Will
36 LOL... Or this guy:
2007-03-07 13:50:20
41.   Shaun P
37 I think Matsuzaka has too much talent to outright fail - BUT the bigger failure could be if he disappoints. I think you're onto something, Chyll.

There is so much hype surrounding Matsuzaka in RSN, if DM is just a high-end #2, not the world-beating #1 everyone in New England has been told to expect, with the Boston media being what it is, . . . the Sox will get killed in the media, and that's bad news for them. Knowing that possibility, I can see the Sox FO overthinking DM's transition to MLB, and shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

2007-03-07 14:19:02
42.   mikeplugh
Okay guys. I'm awake now. You can pine away all you want about what he is and what he isn't, but you'll see later. Here's what you need to know.

1. He was SUPPOSEDLY working out during the offseason, which means throwing. He came to Red Sox camp completely out of shape and the NHK feed of the game yesterday showed him changing shirts. Michelin in effect. He'll get back in condition, but he's nowhere near top form now.

2. BP's blog about his outing was based on his 4th, 5th, and 6th innings of work in ST. The scout in question saw no 70+ pitch in his arsenal. In my considerable experience with this player, I would evaluate him even more harshly based on that performance. His control was bad and the breaking stuff didn't have the bite on it that he is famous for. When he works out his mechanics and gets his timing and conditioning together you'll see a ++slider, +change, and +fastball to go with some other nice pitches. Matsuzaka called himself 40-50%.

3. All of this can be readily observed if you went through the simple task of watching a clip of him pitching for Seibu and a clip of his work against Florida. Two different pitchers. One of them is in his comfort zone in Japan, in good condition, with a great rhythm, and the other is adjusting to life in a foreign country, out of shape, and facing Major Leaguers for the first time.

All that said, he did throw 3 innings of 2 hit, 1 walk, 3K, no run work. There were all of 3 balls hit hard against him and two were foul balls. I hope he loses every game against the Yankees, but I'm not going to delude myself into thinking he's anything but an ace.

2007-03-07 14:22:08
43.   Chyll Will
41 Yep, it was an overstatement to say he could very well fail on his own, but it highlights what the bigger issue is, and that is the same confluence of circumstances that led to Boston winning it all is highly unlikely even with Matsuzaka, given their FO's penchant for over or undervaluing their talent lately. From a casual point of view, it's as if they've minimized scouting and have simply applied a QuickBooks algorithm that allows them to throw money around during the off-season, but not address their fundamental weaknesses... whoa, that not only sounds familiar, but also superfluous! I do have a bad case of the flu right now, so that could explain it...
2007-03-07 14:30:20
44.   Chyll Will
42 (psst, Mike's cranky when he wakes up...) You mean I was mostly right 24?
2007-03-07 14:38:01
45.   Bama Yankee
40 ROFL. You got me with that one. Imagine Bob Sheppard saying that guy's name...
A couple more for dis-honorable mention:
2007-03-07 15:00:48
46.   Chyll Will
45 It REALLY hurts when I laugh right now... no one sponsored that first one? Oh, where to take that one without Ken booting me? Hiroshi! Leave 'em alone, leave em alone... ah, what the hell,

Could this guy be related to #2?

2007-03-07 15:04:06
47.   standuptriple
I didn't mean to awaken Plughzilla. My initial comment was tongue-in-cheek (damn sarcasm filter in on the internet). But like most I'm going to reserve judgement until his 2nd and 3rd start against an AL East team.
2007-03-07 15:04:09
48.   randym77
20 I think heard recently that Karim Garcia is expected to make the Phillies roster. As a bench player, but still.
2007-03-07 15:11:58
49.   Bama Yankee
48 I hope he does. As I have said before, he probably owes a little something to the Banter for keeping his name out there while he was away in Japan.

Heck, he is such a household name now that even Pedro knows who he is... ;-)

2007-03-07 15:19:46
50.   Bama Yankee
46 Sorry to hear about your case of the flu. Hope you get better soon.

In the mean time, here's another one for you:

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-03-07 15:39:41
51.   Chyll Will
50 Ouch. Good one, you win. >;)
2007-03-07 16:21:32
52.   rabid stan
I'm glad Andy looks alright after that.

Jaret Wright is not impressed.

2007-03-07 16:47:35
53.   C2Coke
No one is watching the game?

The Rocket is sitting right behind Torre. Could there possibly be more indicators that if the Rocket decides to come back he will be wearing the pinstripes?

Al Leiter can definitely continue his career as the announcer.

2007-03-07 16:50:41
54.   rabid stan
53 This is the first time I've gotten to watch a game live this year. I'm not going to break it up with constant posting.
2007-03-07 17:00:22
55.   C2Coke
54 It's my second time so I know how you feel. Enjoy the game!
2007-03-07 17:15:07
56.   rabid stan
Gun says 84? Was that a changeup? Awesome
2007-03-07 17:43:35
57.   Schteeve
42 I don't get professional athletes who take what 3 months off and let themselves get all doughy. Stay in shape all year. Lots of people who don't get paid to work out do it all year long.
2007-03-07 18:11:59
58.   C2Coke
I have a joke to share with my fellow Banteres. A few days back I was complaining that the MLB.TV was buffering every second. However, since I was not using my computer, I thought it was the setup problem. And bobtaco here tried to help me. Then today, when I was watching my second live game this season on my own computer, the same thing happened. It was buffering so bad I missed Mo's 1-2-3 inning completely. So I got really fed up and waited 40 minutes to talk to the Customer Service of MLB. It took 20 seconds for the agent to find the cause of the problem. The answer I got was this:

We are not compatible with Windows Media 11. You need to downgrade it to 10.

2007-03-07 18:19:18
59.   dianagramr

That's odd ... I have WM11 at home, and MLBTV works fine on it ....

(but yeah ... that's kind of funny ...)

2007-03-07 18:29:22
60.   rabid stan
Mike Myers actually has to get used to throwing fewer pitches during ST.
2007-03-07 18:35:20
61.   C2Coke
59 I think it has something to do with the multicast setting. And the real sad story is: I just downgraded my Windows Media and restarted my computer, And now, MLB.TV is still buffering just not every second but every few minutes. Guess I will need to clear yet another hour on my schedule to call MLB. Sigh...
2007-03-07 18:59:26
62.   yankz
Oh my god...I don't know this has been discussed, but the essential Pete Abraham posted a link to Curt Freaking Schilling's blog:


Release the inner hound.

2007-03-07 19:01:23
63.   yankz
I still have to register, but my comment will be:

"I will never believe that the "blood" was real, and I hope you never lose that gut."

2007-03-07 19:09:09
64.   rabid stan
Well, that was fun. As always.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.