May 18, 2010

Flat Fastballs, One After The Other

One week ago, Jonathan Papelbon was mixing his fastball with his slider and splitter with ease. He said his ability to repeat his delivery and his arsenal of pitches was "probably at its peak". So why, last night against the Yankees, were all 19 of his pitches fastballs?

John Farrell was quoted in last Friday's Globe as saying there had been "an increase of personal awareness, not just in terms of the stuff that he has on a given night, but a conscious effort to not be as predictable or exclusively using his fastball as he trended toward that way last year".

Last night was his first blown save since July 28, 2009 (JoS1). It was also the second time in his career he allowed multiple home runs in a game; the first was in his major league debut on July 31, 2005.

Fatigue was probably not a factor in going only with the heater. Although Papelbon had gone 2.1 innings on Saturday -- his longest outing by innings since June 2006 -- he threw only 26 pitches, something he had done three times previously this season and 10 times last year.

Peter Abraham called Daisuke Matsuzaka's postgame press conference "bizarre".
He paused 30 seconds before answering the first question and appeared on the verge of bursting into tears. Two Japanese reporters who have followed his entire career said they had never seen anything like it.
And Dice gave this cryptic answer about why things unraveled for him last night: "There's one thing that I know for sure, but I'm not quite ready to share that at this point."

Dice threw 32 pitches in the first inning, 26 of which were fastballs. "I have a lot of different pitches. If I don't use those properly, that is going to work against me at times." So why did he throw so many fastballs? His catcher, Victor Martinez, said he didn't know why.
I'm just behind the plate trying to help him. At the end, he's the one who has the last word. He's the one who has the ball in his hand. I'm just putting suggestions. He can say yes or no.
What a mess.

I keep a Sox notebook/diary with various bits of info from each game and from the papers. For Saturday's game, there is this: "worst loss of year?" ... Not anymore.


Rob said...

Something's wrong when the catcher is only making "suggestions" and the pitchers said nah, I'll throw 26 fastballs.

allan said...

Indeed. I wonder if we'll be seeing the Cactus next time out with Dice.

gojohn said...

The G39 recap pretty much sums it up. I'm not feeling confident about Beckett tonight either.

mattymatty said...

Its almost shocking how fast this season is unraveling. No question nothing is decided yet, but doesn't it feel like a spool of string is just spinning and shrinking and shrinking?

Man, I hope Beckett throws a gem tonight. We really need it.

Amy said...

I wonder if we'll be seeing the Cactus next time out with Dice.

What are you suggesting? That Dice will listen to Tek more than he listens to Martinez? That Martinez is not being assertive enough?

Amy said...

And, by the way, I hate Papelbon. Now he may not have had a blown save since July of last year, but he sure came close many times after that or I would not have this awful sinking feeling every time he comes to the mound and we have only a one or two run lead.

allan said...

I don't know what I'm suggesting.

Did anyone see the Dice press conference? Was it bizarre? Or was he just shocked and bewildered and quietly frustrated?

There is some talk at SoSH about how maybe the pitchers do feel better with Tek. But Jesus, the pitchers are also grown men and they ain't gonna have a 'tus binky around for the rest of their careers.

Amy said...

IIRC, didn't Tek catch for Beckett last time when he imploded? Tek can't cure all their issues....

wardo said...

Anytime Papelbon starts pointing out his "value" and why he should be paid lots of money by either the Red Sox or any other team, he can simply be pointed to this game.