Daisuke Matsuzaka's Dual Nature

Matt BreenCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2008

Daisuke Matsuzaka is perhaps the most unique pitcher in baseball, from his seven different pitches, to his living legend status in Japan. However, his bizarre stats this season are perhaps the most perplexing:

10-1, 2.65 ERA, 65H, 26ER, 57W, 1.38WHIP, .328OBA in 88.1 innings

First off, he has an amazing record (league leading winning percentage) and a low ERA for the American League. Based on those two stats alone Daisuke would look like a certified ace.

However, his 57 walks in 88.1 innings are alarming to say the least. To make a long story short, Matsuzaka walks a ton (almost six per nine IP) and gives up a decent amount of hits but they usually amount to nothing.

Watching Daisuke on a regular basis, it is apparent he has the ability to turn it on when it matters. It is not uncommon for Matsuzaka to walk two batters in a row and get out of the jam without giving up a run.

Daisuke nips around the corners, rarely getting close calls, and more commonly walking the batter. It seems as if he'd rather give up a walk than a hit.

As a result his pitch count sky rockets and he frequently leaves the game in the fifth or sixth inning. This poses the question, should Daisuke be allowed to pitch more innings?

Consider in Japan his pitch count was often significantly higher, ranging from 130-160 and sometimes more. However, this was with five games rest and would be detrimental to his health in the United States.

While Daisuke has walked a thin line and seen success throughout the first half of the season, he must throw more strikes to continue to be efficient. He definitely needs to throw more fastballs and (obviously) more first pitch strikes. 

It's hard to imagine his success continuing with his walk ratio, but he has gotten this far with his unorthodox method.