Dice-K Takes to the Mound

OK, Sox Fans Dice-K is about to take the mound and show us if he's worth $54 Mil. Word is Japanese media invaded Kansas City today and have taken up about half the stadium. In an effort to balance the reporting, I'll update now and again as the game progresses.

Bottom of 1st:

DK has the great kind of Japanese wind up. Slow, methodical, clean. Lead off hitter gets a single. Double play. DK's fastball has some movement and is coming in between 90 - 95. Slider looks nice. Good control. I like the breaking balls more than the fastball. Obviously a control pitcher, not a power pitcher. Got out of the the first inning with one hit and infield grounders.

Second Inning:

Looked good. Settled down a bit and put 'em down effectively. So far the slider looks like his best pitch.

Third Inning:

1-2-3. Dice-K (stoopid nickname, thanks Globe) has settled in nicely. He looks like a little machine. The way they train Japanese ballplayers (fundamentals, fundamentals) makes for consistency in their play. Looks like a nice kid too. When he and Yook kind of screwed up on an infield grounder, he showed a nice laugh and smile. (They got the guy out.)

Fourth Inning:

Struck out the side. Great late breaking curve took out two hitters. Has a one hitter going. Nice.

Top of the Fifth:

This ump is killing me. He has the lowest strike zone I've ever seen. The KC pitcher is getting Ortiz out on pitches that are scraping the top of his cleats. (News break... Fox is reporting that one of the Brits was held in solitary. Maybe he was the one guy who refused to make all those happy faces for the camera. Hopefully, he's a senior NCO who will embarrass all those young officers who pushed the Iranian propaganda.)

Bottom of Fifth:

KC putting the wood on DK. With two down and runner on third, he's going to the fastball and it is riding high. Wondering if this is an issue. The second strike comes on a nice fastball, but that was about the first good one of the inning. Now some decent fastballs but the hitter is hanging on them nicely. He's up to about twenty-five pitches this inning. Got the final hitter out on a nice, low breaking ball. Again, I think his breaking stuff is where he is strong. Got to wonder if he has an issue with a creeping fastball.

Sixth Inning:

DK gets taken deep with one homer and some hard wood on hits and outs. Finally gets out with a nice K but the Royals are back in the game and DK is close to 100 pitches. They'll probably let him go to 120 or so (just a guess) but he will have to have a clean seventh to go on much longer.

Seventh Inning:

Control is good and speed is the same as in the first inning. First two go down with Ks. First on a fastball, second on a slider. Up and down in order on a flyout from a high fastball. Got away with only twelve or so pitches. Will be interesting to see if he comes out for the eighth. He should, based on his speed and control in the seventh.

Top of the Eighth:

Looks like DK isn't coming back out. Lots of pats on the back in the dugout and he has the post-game jacket on. Sox just picked up a run as Big Pappy is looking sprightly on the base paths.

OK, that's it for the DK live blogging. He got away with one run on six hits and a 11o or so pitches. I think he got 10 K's, the highlight of the performance. Looks like a nice first outing for the new Japanese mega star. I worry a little about the rising fastball, but he clearly has a nice repertoire of pitches and he is a young, strong guy. With Josh Beckett and an effective Wakefield, the Sox have the making of a nice starting rotation. The biggest questions is Curt Schilling. Will he be strong? Or will he run hot and cold like he did last year. We'll see.



3:12 PM

We're on the same sports page today, Jake. I'm watching Dice -K's debut on NESN. You're right. The Japanese windup. Reminds me of Ichiro's ritual at the plate. These guys are so graceful. You think that's a slider? Could be the gyroball they're talking about, a combination of a slider and a split finger fastball. It's too cold for baseball out there, though. Global warming? No evidence of that in K.C. this afternoon


3:28 PM

He's got a bunch of pitches and I'm not sure I can differentiate between all of them. Clearly in the fourth he was getting guys out with a curve. But the earlier innings... I'm not sure. It looked like a slider but may be that gyro pitch. Not sure. In anyc case he's looking good, despite the cold.


7:02 PM

pitch count at 110. Temperature high 30s. He's the horse you're betting will win it all for you and the stockholders, if he goes the distance. And you'd send him back out there on the mound in the 8th? Whaddya think this is? 1963?

Seriously. I agree with you. I recall an era when Koufax and Drysdale and Gibson and their ilk were expected to work a whole shift.


10:13 PM

Good commentary on Mr. Matsuzaka by Peter Gammons on ESPN tonight. He has control of four or five good pitches, and he throws "backwards," that is, he starts with breaking balls and other "out" pitches, then finishes them off with fastballs. Only a handful of pitchers have ever thrown 10 strikeouts in their debut. He just put himself at the top of the heap after one game. Reminds me of his Japanese counterpart Kaz Matsui, who I saw in a Mets uniform on opening day in Atlanta in 2004. He hit the first pitch of the season over the park, in his first-ever MLB at-bat. The Japanese players that come here have a knack for letting the league know they are here.