Mariners Analysis

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Do the Mariners own Matsuzaka?

All in all, I suppose Dice-K has been a little bit of a let down for Boston fans. With all the hype, and with the benefit of playing on the best team in baseball, he's not winning 20 games this year. Clearly Beckett is the ace, with Schilling #2 and Matsuzaka a middle-of-the rotation starter.

In some ways, his struggles are hard to understand. He throws a fastball as hard as Felix or Morrow. He has 5 pitches he can throw for strikes. He has excellent command of his off-speed pitches. If you remove the hype over his posting fee and just thought of him as a rookie pitcher, he would have you tremendously excited as a fan. But he has struggled at times, and no team has done better than the Mariners.

For some unexplained reason, the hack-tastic Mariners have actually hit Matsuzaka, ignoring their long history of struggles against power pitchers. Perhaps because Dice-K usually pitches in the strike zone, the Mariners enjoy more success than if he was a little wild every once in a while. We all know the Mariners don't walk, so it might actually behoove Matsuzaka to ignore conventional wisdom and throw a few really bad pitches to each hitter, knowing there's a pretty good chance they'll swing.

So the Mariner success this year has added to the intrigue as they attempt an unexpected sweep of the best team in baseball. I would expect this to be a high-scoring affair.

I'll place the under/over on runs at 17.