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Is Dice K Done? Analyzing The Current Fall Of Daisuke Matsuzaka

BALTIMORE - MAY 01:  Manager Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox removes Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 in the fifth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on May 1, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Dan PazosCorrespondent IMay 18, 2010

Recently, the $50 million man has been having all kinds of pitching trouble, at a time when the Boston Red Sox cannot afford it.

Prior to last nights game against the New York Yankees, Daisuke Matsuzaka's stats were not too pretty, but niether are any of the Red Sox starters.

After two good seasons for the Red Sox, gaining 15 and 18 wins respectively, Matsuzaka has not faired well in the majors due to injury problems, and overusing his arm in the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The 2009 season was an absolute disaster for Matsuzaka, only able to start 12 games, going 4-6 with a 5.76 ERA.

Many people trace Matsuzaka's pitching problems stem from his pitching during the 2009 WBC. Matsuzaka himself has admitted to a hip injury during the WBC and also to changing his pitching style to work through his injury.

Matsuzaka's era currently sits at 7.89, with a win/loss record of 2-1.

Despite a great performance in his previous start against the Blue Jays, where he pitched seven innings and gave up three hits and a run, Matsuzaka has taken another dive with his pitiful performance at Yankee stadium.

Monday night, Matsuzaka was chased out in the fifth inning after giving up nine hits and seven runs.

Matsuzaka did not look impressive at all, despite striking out three batters, and was relatively easy pickings for the Yankee lineup. At times, Matsuzaka served up cutters right down the middle.

Matsuzaka has't fared extremely well against the Bombers, with career numbers at 3-3 with a 5.48 ERA.

The win over Toronto is Matsuzaka's only bright spot this season, as the other starts have been five and six run games, the latter against the last place Baltimore Orioles.

In his first two starts this season, against Los Angeles and Baltimore, Matsuzaka has had trouble in the fifth inning especially, letting up five runs in the fifth of both starts.

After getting off to great starts in both of these games, Matsuzaka has shown fatigue and his pitch count has ballooned.

The problem seems to be his inability to perform late in games, a problem that a starter in a majors must be able to overcome in order to have success.

Matsuzaka's inability to get out of the fifth inning is putting more pressure on a Boston bullpen that is already taxed by the poor performance of the other pitchers in the rotation.

With Matsuzaka already at the bottom of the rotation, he rounds out a Red Sox lineup that is not clearly getting the job done this season.

The Red Sox will likely keep working with Matsuzaka to get him back to top shape, but people are already wondering why he has not come through on his promise for a great 2010 season.

Granted, it is still early, but there hasn't been much production out of a pitcher who was once so heavily sought after and Matsuzaka won't be seeing games in August and September if he is unable to go deeper than four innings.

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