A couple weeks ago, it was reported that Daisuke Matsuzaka will under go Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, ending his season, and possibly his time with the Red Sox. Guess how many people are upset? NONE. (Approximately.) In eight starts this year, Dice-K is 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA. He has walked nearly as many as he has struck out. And he has continued to frustrate the Red Sox and fans.
How bad has it gotten? CBS Sports actually wrote an article asking whether or not it was okay to be happy when a player got injured. Their answer? The same as most of ours. Yes. To me, it’s not that I’m happy he’s hurt. I’m happy he’s out of the rotation. He just so happens to be out of the rotation because he’s hurt.
What was most irritating about Dice-K’s tenure in Boston, if in fact it is over, is how wildly inconsistent he was (that, and his inability to go deep into games.) I saw him pitch last year against the Phillies, and he took a no hitter into the late innings (an exception to my last parenthetical expression), nearly pulling it off. Yet a couple of starts earlier, there he was giving up seven runs to the Yankees. He always seemed to be good for four runs to the other team. Not exactly the ace we were told was coming. Even in his best year, 2008, when he went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA, he was still mind bogglingly frustrating. Not only does he make up pitches (gyroball, anyone?), he drives me to make up words. His advanced metrics, mainly his WHIP (1.324) and BB/9 (5.0!), were not reflected in his win/loss totals. No one walking FIVE people per game should go 18-3. Essentially, his record was an illusion of his good fortune, evidenced by a paltry .260 BABIP.
We will never know how he went from the pride of Japan to the scourge of Boston, but I do wish him well, despite this post. Plenty of pitchers recover, and even come back stronger, after Tommy John surgery. I wish him nothing but the best, just on another team. Dice-K seems like he would be a good fit in the National League, a second or third starter on a middling team, without the pressure of a city like Boston. What better way for him to redeem himself by coming back and being the ace that Boston always thought he would be?