September 10, 2009

Matsuzaka In North Carolina - A Report

Daisuke Matsuzaka made what might is likely his final minor league start of the year on Wednesday night for Salem (A) in a playoff game against Winston-Salem (White Sox).

JoS Senior A-Ball Correspondent SoSock filed this report:
6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP

He got the Win, final score 7-2. Threw 89 pitches total, although our paper doesn't separate strikes [Globe says 61]. The one run came in the 1st. [SoSock was unsure if the run was unearned; the short Globe report says it was, but the paper links to the box score, which has it as an earned run.]

His stuff was good. He threw in the 88-92 mph range with the fastball all night. But the offspeed was what he was obviously concentrating on, and it was breaking wickedly as the game went on. All of the Ks came after the 1st two innings. Two of the three hits were in the 1st and 2nd innings. Typical Dice. In his last inning he struck one out, gave up his 3rd hit, then struck out the last guy he faced before leaving to as big an ovation as the paltry 3,000 people there could muster.

Unofficial stuff - It was extremely cool seeing him up close like that. We were right up against the dugout, and they're not huge dugouts. So every time he came in after an inning he was passing about eight feet in front of us. He nodded to the cheering crowd every time, but was all business. As he left after 6.2, he took the ball with him and threw it into the crowd. He stuck around for the rest of that inning and the top of the next before walking down the 3rd baseline between the top and bottom half.

He stopped to chat with a couple of the Salem pitchers who were warming up "in the pen". The pen at Ernie Shore is just two mounds in foul territory between the baseline and the seats. There has to be a "guard" protecting the catchers' backs just like in our LL games. Then he disappeared around the clubhouse, following the little footpath beside and behind it to the maintenance area behind, where I'm sure there was a comfortable ride waiting beside the big bus.

Much like when I saw him in Baltimore a couple of years ago, there was more Red Sox paraphernalia than there was Dash [Winston-Salem Dash, the home team]. Of course, even the home town fans here don't often buy the stuff. I myself have a ton of the old Warthogs stuff [the team's name from 1995 to 2008], but have yet to warm up to the new name and haven't bought a thing. Regardless, the cheers were decidedly in favor of the visitors. All in all - a memorable experience!
Cool fact: 1918 Red Sox World Series hero George Whiteman managed the Winston-Salem Twins in the 1929 Piedmont League.


SoSock said...

Thanks for making my story a little more accessible! The editing was needed.
One last note - Dice's catcher for this game was none other than Tim Federowicz. That may not mean much to the rest of you, but.........Have I mentioned lately?
That's right, Federowicz is another UNC Diamond Heel, in the Sox system. Just graduated from college this past May and caught for Dice K on Wednesday. Pretty cool. He was a freshman when Bard was a junior, so they played together just the 1 year. Bard left after 3.

allan said...

I took out the confusion over the un/earned run, but that was it. No real editing, folks!

That's right, Federowicz is another UNC Diamond Heel, in the Sox system.

Castig, is that you? :>)

Rob said...

I always think of Star Wars when I hear Castig talk about a team's system. Like the planet "systems" in Star Wars.

Hey, look! It's the Dagobah system!

Amy said...

Thanks for the report, SoSock, and thanks for posting it, Redsock! Great story. Let's hope he pitches like that when he gets back to "the show," as they apparently say in baseball talk.

Patrick said...

That's right, R2, the Dagobah system.