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   1. lincarnate Posted: January 02, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#2658099)
It's one thing to throw 130 pitches knowing you're going to get six days of rest, but it's an entirely different when you're being asked to throw 120 with only four days off and only a couple of months to prepare your body to do so. I think Daisuke is just one reason the Sox should go to a 5.5 man rotation. Example:

Monday: Beckett, Tuesday: Schilling, Wednesday: Daisuke, Thursday: Buchholz, Friday: Lester
Saturday: Beckett, Sunday: Schilling, Monday: Wakefield, Tuesday: Daisuke, Wednesday: Buchholz, Thursday: Lester
Friday: Beckett, Saturday: Schilling, Sunday: Daisuke, Monday: Buchholz, Tuesday: Lester
etc.

You could structure it to get 30 starts each from Beckett and Schilling, 27 from Daisuke, Buchholz and Lester and 21 from Wakefield, which seems pretty reasonable and would fill up all 162 starts. You also could stay with a 12 man pitching staff by using Wakefield out of the bullpen between starts, pulling a Torre and sending another starter out on their throw day, or using a reliever like Snyder or Tavarez in (gasp) a long relief role.
   2. Valentine Posted: January 02, 2008 at 04:03 AM (#2658101)
I don't see any reason to suspect fatigue for Matsuzaka in early July. First, while the Japanese season is shorter, it isn't THAT much shorter. Second, he continued to be handed the ball in regular rotation. Third, he sustained that 3.59 ERA through August 10 -- a full month later than the date you mark. He clearly wasn't yet toast.

Through his first 24 starts: 3.59 ERA, 158 IP, 143 H, 56 BB, 159 K, 17 HR
In the 8 starts following: 7.14 ERA, 46.2 IP, 48 H, 24 BB, 42 K, 8 HR

His K/9 dropped about 10%. His walk rate jumped by 50%. Also 50% more home runs. Furthermore, 57% of his runs in those final eight starts were coughed up in the last inning or partial inning. In several of the games he pitched well for five innings before getting into trouble in the sixth or seventh.

Finally, after pitching every fifth game (exc. double headers and the ASB) for the first three quarters of the season, Matsuzaka was pushed back two games for his August 22 start. He again slipped one day in the rotation for his Sep. 3 start, and was pushed back two more days (plus an off day) for September 22. When the manager shifts from using a starter on a perfectly predictable schedule to giving him extra days of rest at every opportunity, it is an indication that fatigue is an issue.

It is hard to know exactly what to expect next year. He might pitch the same number of innings if he can more efficiently throw strikes. Learning curve for the US strike zone? I definitely would prefer that he stay away from 120+ pitch counts, at least in the first half of the year. Plenty of time for those in the playoffs if he is still feeling strong by then.

If the Red Sox are to pitch both Papelbon and Okajima cautiously, they'll need another trusted reliever to step up. Is Manny Delcarmen ready for the job?
   3. OCD SS Posted: January 02, 2008 at 04:29 PM (#2658236)
I think there's a difference between using HOK "cautiously" and simply not overworking him. Francona used him like a rented mule this season, the same way he did Paps in '06. I think it's safe to say that that kind of usage is not sustainable, and in the case of HOK we all saw it coming from his IP in Japan vs what he pitched for the Sox.

Everybody wants more bullpen help. The Sox are lucky that they have Delcarmen, and dare we dream Hansen? There's no one worth paying for that job at the current going rate so having young guys who can step in is a big advantage.
   4. 1k5v3L Posted: January 02, 2008 at 04:38 PM (#2658245)
dare we dream Hansen


D.A.R.E.
   5. tfbg9 Posted: January 02, 2008 at 04:42 PM (#2658251)
Perhaps they ought to try a "five days rest rotation" rather than the straight 6 man rotation? Each guy they might use as a starter has at least one reason to be semi-babied with a consistent pattern of 5 days rest: Beckett (blisters, overall studly awesomeness to be saved for a later date), Schill (age, fatness), Wake (recent brittleness, gutlessness),Dice (Japanese internal clock, insert joke here), Lester (youth, health), Bucholz (youth, organizational philosophy to go easy on young guys), and Tavarez (the fact that Bivens likes his pitching skills suffices for me).

Borrowing the idea from post #1, you might throw some innings to Tavarez and Wake on their throw days. As long as they don't occur in big games.

I got myself the playoff DVD's for Christmas. Beckett is an ultra-confident monster throughout, and I've been working on a drunken theory that Cappy sandbags dumb pitch calls all regular season to facilitate this.
   6. Darren Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:28 AM (#2658767)
Imagine if Tek called the smart pitches? Beckett would have had a negative ERA. :)

Valetine, it seems that you argue against fatigue and then for fatigue as reasons for Dice's struggles. I think it's possible that the high pitch count games contributed to his fatigue but that fatigue didn't manifest itself until later. Also, he did actually pitch pretty badly in those 8 starts that you mentioned:


First 17 games: 114.1 IP, 100 H, 37 BB, 119 K, 9 HR.
Next 7 games: 43.1 IP, 43 H, 19 BB, 40 K, 8 HR.
Last 8 games: 46.2 IP, 48 H, 24 BB, 42 K, 8 HR.

Those middle 7 games look like they fit a lot better with the last 8 than with the first 17. He also racked up some more high pitch counts during the 8 game span: 90 110, 109, 98, 113, 113, so that might have further fatigued him.

Overall, these arbitrary endpoints that I picked are sort of besides the point. The general point is that Dice was worked pretty hard early on and then struggled down the stretch. I think that fatigue is one of the obvious guesses as to why.
   7. Valentine Posted: January 03, 2008 at 05:16 AM (#2658788)
Good points. It is hard to differentiate "signal" from "noise", however, which is one of the reasons I was looking at usage patterns as well. I'm hoping he'll be stronger in his second season. I'm also hoping that he'll nibble less (more strikes, fewer walks). Between those two factors, I think there's a good chance that he'll be able to keep the same IP without breaking down.
   8. Dave Cyprian Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:25 AM (#2658845)
Well this off-season has been a little different.
   9. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:17 AM (#2658857)
I was watching the NHK "Music Station New Year's Special Program" on New Year's Eve, where Hideki Okajima was a judge for the singers.

The man was using his RIGHT ARM to lift his microphone. He looked like his left arm was paralyzed or something.

I'm pissing my pants.
   10. ieddyi Posted: January 03, 2008 at 02:39 PM (#2658918)
IF they use Okajima with the "Paspelbon treatment" they're gonna have to find a boatload of innings from someone else. It was only Okajima's early success that allowed them to rest Papelbon successfully. Who will make up the extra innings if both Okajima and Papelbon are innings restricted?
   11. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#2659162)

Who will make up the extra innings if both Okajima and Papelbon are innings restricted?


who gives a ####? we just won the world series. i think we start preparing for a 2009 WS run by resting relievers this year. that means that timlin pitches 150-200 bullpen innings, wake throws 300+ innings as a starter/reliever. papelbon (jon) and okajima (yoko) never pitch this year and revive the plastic ono band between innings to stay fresh.

basically, this philosophy should be called "abuse the sh!t pitchers, save the good ones."
   12. jimmybob Posted: January 03, 2008 at 11:29 PM (#2659678)
Hansen is going to be a beast this year. Just you guys watch.
   13. Valentine Posted: January 04, 2008 at 01:43 AM (#2659775)
Jimmybob, why do you believe that?
   14. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 04, 2008 at 05:02 AM (#2659870)
IF they use Okajima with the "Paspelbon treatment" they're gonna have to find a boatload of innings from someone else. It was only Okajima's early success that allowed them to rest Papelbon successfully. Who will make up the extra innings if both Okajima and Papelbon are innings restricted?

Trade for another reliever, or have somebody else step up from the pen. Papelbon will pitch probably the same amount of innings (50-60), Okajima despite being shut down for almost 3 weeks had 69... say we cut them back to 60 IP for the whole year. Manny Delcarmen was up for only 2/3rd of the season and he racked up 44 high leverage innings, those will need to be kept. Timlin will only get worse.

We'll need another good reliever, and another lefty not named Javier Lopez
   15. Darren Posted: January 04, 2008 at 05:13 AM (#2659879)
By "something like the Papelbon treatment" I sort of meant a bit more work than they gave Pap this year. And I sure hope Pap's innings are bumped up a bit. They probably will be because they won't have a 15 game buffer to play with this year.
   16. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 04, 2008 at 08:51 AM (#2659954)
who's set in the bullpen right now?

We've got Papelbon for about 60IP
Okajima with last year's workload looked gassed, he probably needs to be dialed back slightly. 60IP
Manny D is probably good for 60IP

This will finally be the year we DFA Mike Timlin. (The Alan Embree revival I did not foresee)
Julian Tavarez will eat some long mop-up innings if he stays.
Do we still have Kyle Snyder?

I REALLY REALLY don't want to see Javier Lopez again.

Travis Hughes went to Japan. Craig Breslow didn't get ONE MLB inning last year. Bryan Corey is 35. Hansen?

Masterson's ETA is probably August/Sept 2008 if all goes well.
   17. Dave Cyprian Posted: January 04, 2008 at 08:52 AM (#2659955)
The yankees are going to be under so much pressure this year its just ridiculous. If their young pitching can't hold up...

Well, its never to early to look forward to the next Pinstripe loss in my book.
   18. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: January 04, 2008 at 09:06 PM (#2660388)
   19. Valentine Posted: January 05, 2008 at 01:56 AM (#2660687)
Masterson's ETA is probably August/Sept 2008 if all goes well.

From what I've read, he's a bit of a long shot to be successful as a starter -- but a nasty sinker could be enough to make him an effective reliever even with minimal progress in other areas. We may need him before August.
   20. Marcel Posted: January 08, 2008 at 06:12 AM (#2663107)
Keith Law projects Masterson as a dominant 8th-inning type. If he can step in this year, that'll give the Sox a strong (and cheap) backend of Paps, Oki, Delcarmen, and Masterson. Timlin, Snyder, and Tavarez (or whomever else they get) should do well enough in middle relief, especially since I don't see any of them them getting many high leverage innings.
   21. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 08, 2008 at 01:49 PM (#2663193)
Gentleman and ladies, photo of the year.

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d119/speedlove/os/21-1.jpg
   22. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: January 10, 2008 at 08:18 PM (#2665646)
Matsuzaka's first start is now on NESN.
   23. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 10, 2008 at 09:05 PM (#2665689)
If he can step in this year, that'll give the Sox a strong (and cheap) backend of Paps, Oki, Delcarmen, and Masterson. Timlin, Snyder, and Tavarez (or whomever else they get) should do well enough in middle relief, especially since I don't see any of them them getting many high leverage innings.


If I know me some Red Sox, I know that they'll sign some random dude who they think has a "live arm" to a biggish contract and put him in medium-to-high leverage situations until well after it's clear that he has nothing (around July?) and then bring up Masterson or whoever is throwing well at the time. I'm thinking Alfonseca or Chris Reitsma or Jay Witasick or something, but I'm not sure those guys have ever had live arms.
   24. johnsilver52 Posted: January 11, 2008 at 02:12 PM (#2666072)
I was watching the NHK "Music Station New Year's Special Program" on New Year's Eve, where Hideki Okajima was a judge for the singers.

The man was using his RIGHT ARM to lift his microphone. He looked like his left arm was paralyzed or something.

I'm pissing my pants.


This could be nothing. Some lefties (like myself) only throw left handed and write, pick up objects, even bat right handed.
   25. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: January 11, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2666099)
Start making the chicken parm sandwiches. Dougie is back for another year. The posters will be delighted.
   26. tfbg9 Posted: January 11, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2666288)
Ugh. Dougie.
   27. villageidiom Posted: January 11, 2008 at 07:00 PM (#2666310)
Sure, fine, whatever. It's not like he's blocking someone, and he's costing $140k over the minimum.
   28. Valentine Posted: January 12, 2008 at 03:27 AM (#2666687)
#24, does Jeremy Affeldt fit the bill?

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