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Thread: FOX Sports Article: Reds on Matsuzaka

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    FOX Sports Article: Reds on Matsuzaka

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6...HPHCP&GT1=9232

    Perfectionist Matsuzaka perfect fit in Boston
    Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com
    Posted: 21 minutes ago

    SARASOTA, Fla. - Adam Dunn couldn't wait to face Daisuke Matsuzaka.

    "I just hope he's the best I've ever seen," the Reds' slugger said before Monday's exhibition game, half-sarcastically.

    "I want to walk out of there saying, I just got dominated.' That's what I want to feel today."

    "You do, and you don't," the Reds' Jeff Conine interjected.

    "I do because of all of the hype," Dunn replied. "I don't because I want to light him up."

    Well, Matsuzaka responded by pitching five hitless, scoreless innings in the Red Sox's 5-0 loss to the Reds.

    The most incredible part?

    His outing was a disappointment.

    Matsuzaka was so disgusted that he issued five walks and threw 104 pitches, he declined to meet with reporters afterward.

    Talk about assimilating quickly.

    With his first official major-league blowoff, Matsuzaka is well on his way to joining the long line of Boston pitching divas, from Roger Clemens to Pedro Martinez to Curt Schilling.

    "This time of year, I think the content of my pitching is more important than the results on paper," Matsuzaka said in a statement issued through his interpreter. "I'm not happy with the content of my pitching today."

    "I threw a lot of walks and wasted balls. It was tough on my fielders to defend and get into a good rhythm on offense. It's something I want to pay attention to in the regular season."

    Something evidently got lost in the translation: Matsuzaka surely wasn't responsible for the Red Sox's offensive futility.

    Then again, when reporters asked Sox manager Terry Francona what Matsuzaka expected of himself, Francona said without hesitation, "Perfection."

    Heck, it's what everyone expects, given the $103 million that the Red Sox spent to land Matsuzaka.

    And it's not going to happen.

    "We've got to be careful not to pick him apart so much," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said.

    "He is human. He's going to have days, like any pitcher, when he does not have total command."

    Monday was one of those days and the Reds still couldn't touch him.

    Matsuzaka issued one walk in each of his five innings, but only one runner advanced to second and that was on a passed ball.

    Scouts have clocked him at 96 mph this spring, but his high on Monday was 93 and he mostly pitched at 90 to 91.

    That is, when he even showed his fastball.

    "To me, what is most impressive is that he can make the ball break with three different depths and throw those three on both sides of the plate," Farrell said.

    Matsuzaka didn't do that consistently Monday, but several Reds compared him to their own Bronson Arroyo, noting the way he pitched "backwards" by throwing breaking balls early in counts.

    Reds first baseman Scott Hatteberg, who began his career with the Red Sox, said that catcher Jason Varitek actually apologized to him in the middle of one at-bat that Matsuzaka began with three straight sliders.

    "Sorry, Hatty," Varitek said, "this is the way he pitches."

    Hatteberg got ahead 3-0 in that sequence before eventually flying out, but hitters will be shaking their heads all season.

    Matsuzaka throws six different pitches, sometimes even more. He impressed the Reds even without his usual command.

    Hatteberg: "You've got to be aware of his fastball. He kind of hides it. He throws it when you're looking off-speed."

    Right fielder Ken Griffey Jr.: "We didn't get any hits so obviously he did something. He's a guy who thinks his way through an order, knows what he wants to do."

    Manager Jerry Narron: "Anybody who can change speeds on their off-speed stuff is going to be effective. And he does that."

    Lest anyone forget, this is a pitcher who is changing cultures, a pitcher who is being followed by an enormous Japanese media contingent, a pitcher who must adjust to a five-man rotation after essentially pitching once a week in Japan.

    Truth be told, he's doing exceedingly well.

    Three times a week, Farrell, Matsuzaka and Japanese left-hander Hideki Okajima take 45-minute lessons in English and Japanese.

    Farrell marvels at how rapidly Matsuzaka is learning baseball English dates, times, numbers and body parts, plus terms used to discuss workloads and mechanics.

    A few days ago, Farrell asked Matsuzaka in Japanese how many pitches he wanted to throw in a bullpen session.

    "Forty," Matsuzaka replied, in perfect English.

    Matsuzaka also is adjusting to his new baseball environment, curtailing his throwing sessions in preparation to pitch every fifth day.

    Is he everything that Farrell expected?

    "In some ways, a little bit more," Farrell said. "His presence and composure on the mound have been remarkable."

    Francona agreed.

    "It's been a pleasure to see him in person," Francona said. "You can see all the video you want. But in person, you see some things you can't see on video. And there are probably some things we haven't seen yet.

    "He's going to have to adjust. But there's no reason he can't adjust. He's got good stuff."

    It was apparent Monday.

    It is apparent every time he takes the mound.

    "He's got an idea," one scout said. "I'll be shocked if he doesn't win 15."

    Ken Rosenthal is FOXSports.com's senior baseball writer.
    I hope it's never sunny in Philly again.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: FOX Sports Article: Reds on Matsuzaka

    Lest anyone forget, this is a pitcher who is changing cultures, a pitcher who is being followed by an enormous Japanese media contingent, a pitcher who must adjust to a five-man rotation after essentially pitching once a week in Japan.
    And he bears the WEIGHT OF THE WORLD AND TWENTY BILLION GENERATIONS ON HIS LILLY PETAL-THIN SHOULDERS, WHILE FEEDING ALL THE WOUNDED GOATS OF HIS NATION FROM THE MOUND VIA TELEPATHY.

    :

    Matsuzaka is awfully good, he terrifies me, but oooh I love me some superhype.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: FOX Sports Article: Reds on Matsuzaka

    Right fielder Ken Griffey Jr
    Damn I like reading that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Re: FOX Sports Article: Reds on Matsuzaka

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    And he bears the WEIGHT OF THE WORLD AND TWENTY BILLION GENERATIONS ON HIS LILLY PETAL-THIN SHOULDERS, WHILE FEEDING ALL THE WOUNDED GOATS OF HIS NATION FROM THE MOUND VIA TELEPATHY.

    :

    Matsuzaka is awfully good, he terrifies me, but oooh I love me some superhype.
    Did you see that pitch? Did you see it? What was that? I think that might have been a gyroball! Was that a gyroball?
    "Reality tells us there are no guarantees. Except that some day Jon Lester will be on that list of 100-game winners." - Peter Gammons

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    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: FOX Sports Article: Reds on Matsuzaka

    Quote Originally Posted by WilyMoROCKS View Post
    Damn I like reading that.
    Hey, there was a Ken Griffey in right field in 1975 and 1976...
    Just thought I'd point that out.

    "Okay you guys, pair up in threes!" --Yogi Berra


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