April 30, 2011

Matsuzaka Thinks He Knows What's Wrong; Jenks Does Not

Daisuke Matsuzaka said he started feeling stiffness in his elbow as soon as the game began. And after Ichiro Suzuki singled on a 3-1 pitch to start the fifth inning, Jason Varitek immediately signaled to the bench:
Dice just didn't look right. The ball wasn't coming out (smoothly). His velocity dropped quite a bit.
According to the Pitch f/x data at MLB's Gameday, here are the number of two- and four-seam fastballs and their speeds through Dice's 4+ innings:
              86   87   88   89   90   91   92   93
1st inning                              6   12    1
2nd inning                    1    4    3    1
3rd inning                    2    2    1    1
4th inning               2    3    3    1
5th inning     1    2    1
Matsuzaka believed he could keep pitching, but Terry Francona said no.
We watched him in between innings and it looked like he was stretching out his arm in between innings, so we were keeping an eye on him. ... When somebody says they're feeling stiffness ... it's awful hard to leave a guy in a game. He didn't put up a fight.
I left all the judgment up to Tito. ... I understand that Tito's always concerned about players' condition. To that extent, I am sorry about making him concerned about my elbow.
Matsuzaka said after the game that he is not worried because "I have an idea what's going on with my elbow."

Like the rest of us, Bobby Jenks is frustrated about his recent performances:
I don't even know what to say right now. ... I feel terrific, all my stuff is there. ... Obviously something's not clicking. Something's off. ... It seems like every time I go out there, something's finding a hole or flaring in there. I know they're good hitters, but the way I'm feeling right now, it shouldn't be happening.
It might sound like Jenks has been taking Excuses 101 from Professor Lackey, but he's right. Batted balls are finding holes. Jenks's BABIP is a high (and unlucky) .444, which is far higher than anyone else on the entire staff.
I know it's going to take some work to get these fans back on my side, but once I turn this around, I'll get them back. ... I've got some work obviously numbers-wise, but when we win this (expletive), we're going to look back and not remember April.
Much to everyone's surprise and delight, David Ortiz is crushing left-handing pitching so far:
         PA   AVG   OBP   SLG    OPS   BABIP
vs RHP   62  .226  .323  .358   .681    .234
vs LHP   36  .379  .500  .517  1.017    .400
I never agreed with people saying I can't hit lefties. I haven't been as patient as I know I can be against them. ... But people want to talk about that, so let me figure this out right here because I know I can hit them. ... Before, lefties would come in to get you out. They would challenge you ... They don't do that anymore. They throw a lot of (expletive). I face a lot of lefties that don't get me. I get myself out. Now, I try not to chase bad pitches.
Francona agreed:
He's swinging at strikes, not chasing balls, taking his walks and staying through the middle. ... He's not expanding his zone.
Jacoby Ellsbury, in the seven games since being moved back to leadoff on April 22: 13-for-32, .406/.424/.563/.987.

Adrian Gonzalez
Last  5 games: 11-for-22 - .500/.500/.727/1.227
Last 12 games: 20-for-54 - .370/.382/.519/ .901

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