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Dice-K’s Nightmare – Did you get any sleep last night?

After sleeping and reflecting on last night’s game I think it was a nigthmare scenario for Dice-K, the Red Sox and Boston fans. This is the first home start of Dice-K’s career, we have been hearing about it for weeks, we have been blasted with clips of Dice-K striking out Ichiro three times 8 years ago, ESPN was hyping the game for days and the national press descended on Fenway. And what happened…..Dice-K was completely overshadowed by King Felix and he took the loss. Not only was he overshadowed, it left people speechless. The King strutted into Fenway and threw down a one hitter throwing 99-100 mph sinking fastballs, 93 mph sliders that had multiple feet of break on them and a change that was hitting 87 and then even slower as the game wore on. Felix was plain filthy and unhittable. He hit corners, he made batters flinch at his breaking pitches and he made guys swing and miss. He did not throw down 12 Ks but it did not matter…he simply dominated. So now the Red Sox and Boston media are left thinking what did we get for $100 million. Dice-K can beat the Royals easily but can he face established MLB hitters every start and succeed? I for one do not know and will look forward to finding out. What I did learn is the King Felix is an incredible talent and for a kid who just turned 21, I can not wait to watch him more. Dice-K has a lot left to prove…

1) Can he live up to expectiations?
2) Can he face the Boston media pressure?
3) Can he face the Japanese media pressure?
4) Can he learn to control his adrenaline? Dice-K’s pitches dropped in velocity and he became more wild as the game wore on.

And for King Felix? I can not wait to watch you pitch again and I think you need a new nickname…maybe King Nasty will fit for awhile.

Red Sox fans…I would be very nervous if I were you because Dice-K was a bust last night and has a lot to prove to the rest of us.

So what are people saying around the country:

ESPN – http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview?gameId=270412102

MLB – http://mlb.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20070411&content_id=1893414&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Boston Globe – http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2007/04/12/on_this_night_not_good_enough/

These articles are great. No more hype, no more excuses, no more promotion. Dice-K was outpitched and was the lesser of the two starters. The King reigned supreme and will continue to do so. Now we can move away from the who does Dice-K compare to…a Pedro in his prime, Clemens, etc…and we can wait to see who Dice-K really is in a Red Sox uniform pitching in front of large crowds and a media circus. So lets stop rpoclaiming this guy the next coming and lets enjoy the season and see if Dice-K can pitch successfully start in and start out and see if he can beat lineups that are not the Royals. I look at facts and so far the facts showed a mediocre pitcher.

Flash Flash

April 12, 2007 Posted by | Dice-K, ESPN, gyroball, Ichiro, Japan, Mariners, Matsuzaka, MLB, Red Sox, Royals, Sports | 3 Comments

Dice-K live blog – What will he show, maybe a Gyroball?

Since I have been hearing about tonight’s start for weeks now, I am going to live blog about the larger than life Dice-K vs. Felix the Cat start tonight. I know Japan and Red Sox Nation are in a fever and I am probably one of thousands of live bloggers that is going to monitor this game. The reason I am doing so is because I am sick of hearing about Dice-K and I am questioning how good he really is as an MLB pitcher and I also despise both the Red Sox and the Mariners. I am curious on some of the following things:

How bias is the media? Who gets more blatant praises?
Dice-K = 5
Felix= 6

Who strikes out more batters?
Dice-K= 4
Felix= 6

How many time are the Yankees mentioned?
Mentions = 1

How many times do we hear the word Gyroball?
Mentions= 7

6:32 PM – Buster Olney says he would rather have Felix on his team than Dice-K based on age. I agree. Chalk one praise up for Felix.

6:46 PM – ESPN host just called Dice-K a sensation. 1-1

6:53 PM – 4 mentions of the gyroball, now 5 mentions by Hershiser and the ESPN host. Don’t know why I can not remember his name. Orel says Felix is an exceptional pitcher…another praise. Orel is taking Felix over Dice-K cause he is cheaper. Kind of a cop out.

6:57 PM – Switching to the deuce so I do not miss a second of action. Lets see what Nascar now has to say in 3 minutes.

7:00 PM – Dice-K called a star in the introduction. High school legend and dominant in the Pacific league. 3 more praises. No mention of King Felix. Only Dice and Ichiro.

7:01 PM – Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips are announcing this game. Where are Boomer and the bias one.. Joe Morgan? Orel just said he Dice-K exceptional. Who is Dan Shulman. Now Dan called Felix a phenom.

7:07 PM – Watching video of Dice-K warming up. I am sorry but he looks like a little kid and does not seem intimidating at all to me. I can not wait to see him face hitters to see what he is all about. He looks about 12 years old and like kids I faced in the Babe Ruth league when I was a pre-teen.

7:10 PM – Of course Seattle only has 3 leftt batters to face Dice-K

7:11 PM – Ichiro steps in and Dice throws an 80 mph hook. Pitch 2 looks like a cut fastball and Ichiro fouls it off. 86 mph hook for a low ball. 97 mph gas too inside. Damn how did he hit 97? 89 mph hook inside off the plate for a full count. 97 mph gas again and Ichiro hits it hard up the middle to Dice-K. 1 out. Very impressed with his speed. It looks like it comes out of nowhere.

7:14 PM – Beltre grounds out to SS. Dice-K started him with a slow hook and then threw the gas at 96 to get the groundout.

7:15 PM – Vidro up. First pitch 96 mph gas for a ball, then the slow low hook and then gas away that Vidro slaps past SS for a single.

7:16 PM – Ibanez up. Starts out with a ball again. low hook for a ball. 2-0 count. Low hook that he swings through. 2-1 count. 82 mph hook fouled back. 2-2. Slapper to 3rd for an out.

7:17 PM – One inning in the books. I am only seeing three pitches. A fastball that hits 96-97, a cut fastball around 91 and a curve that he locates up, in or down at around 80-84. Very impressed that he throws that hard. I think he had some jitters cause he threw a lot of pitches. 17 pitches in the books. He threw more pitches than I bet he wanted to.

7:22 PM – Mrs. Flash Flash just got home so I missed some action. First player grounded out, Felix hit 99 mph to the second batter who then popped out to 2B. Felix just threw a nasty change or at least that is what Orel called it. Ortiz pulls it hard to 2B who was playing in the switch pull position. 3 up 3 down and no Ks yet.

7:26 PM – Big Sexy takes a first pitch 95 mph strike. Gets jammed on a 95 mph inside pitch and grounds out. Looks like Dice-K has great command on hitting the corners. He is picking the batters apart on the inside whether they arelefties or righties.

7:28PM – Guillen up and taking two quick balls. As soon as I praise Dice-K’s command he goes down 3-0. Guillen swings at the 3-0 and rips a long single of the monster. This ball was crushed and probably would be a homer at most other stadiums.

7:29 PM – Johjima takes a low 95 mph strike. Pulls a hook down the left field line for a double. Man on 2nd and 3rd no outs.

7:30 PM – Dice-K looks visibly unhappy. He is fidgeting with his hat. Bettancourt takes a low hook for a ball and Dice- K follows up with the same pitch. 2-0 count. 79 mph hook and he hits it to left to Manny. Guillen tags and scores but it looks really close. WOW. Varitek lost the ball from Guillen’s slide. He should have been easily out. Dice-K can ont like his catcher giving up runs.

7:33 pm – Lopez goes down 0-2. Barely touches an 83 mph curve to stay alive. Still 0-2. Handcuffs him and Lopez grounds out to third. Inning over and still no strikeouts.

7:37 PM – Manny tries to help out his teamate and grounds the ball into King Felix. The King immediately tells his teamates he is fine and to leave him alone. 1 out.

7:38PM – Felix loves the low fastball and is crankin 99 mph on it. 01- to JD Drew. Holy moly.. a 93 mph slider that Drew has no chance of hitting. 0-2. Felix just hit 100 mph and then rope a dope….87 mph hook for the first K of the night and it was looking.

7:39PM – Lowell swings and misses and then grounds out to SS. 3 up 3 down again.

7:42 PM – How original for the Fenway faithful.. a sign of Dice and a K. How cute.

7:43 PM – Uneventful Ichiro AB. Pop up to SS on 2nd pitch. Gammons is not saying that Pedro had more buzz when he came to Boston.

7:43 PM – Beltre does not look comfortable at the plate. 1-1 count. Takes 96 mph gas inside for a ball. All Dice-K is doing is painting the inside corners. There he goes with an 82 MPH outside curve and another infield pop up. He must be listening to me. 2 quick outs.

7:45 PM – First pitch 84 mph curve strike. Vidro fouls pitch two back. 97 mph heater just missed outside. Now he is trying to paint both corners with all his pitches. Strike 3 on a check swing. Vidro bit on the low curve. First K in Fenway. 3 innings…42 pitches and 26 for strikes. How long will they let him pitch?

7:48 PM – The cat deals 98 mph strike at Varitek’s knees. Same pitch ball on 2nd pitch. Man this 92 MPH slider or curve is nasty. 1-2. Ball inside. 2-2. He throws a 93 mph slider down that Varitek almost swings through but stops himself. Man he is nasty. Swings through a 93 mph slider. K #2

7:40 pm – Coco B Ware tries to bunt on a 99 mph fastball. No chance my friend. Fouls pitch number 2. 0-2 count. Showing replays on that and Beltre should have caught that. No clue what he was doing. He pretended to fall down and then did not try and catch the ball. 99 mph heater inside for a ball. 86 mph change and it is all over for Coco. 8 outs and no ball hit out of the infield.

7:52 pm – Starts of Pedroia with a 91 mph pitch we have not seen yet. 0-1. 2nd pitch ball at his head. 1-1. Third pitch ball. Second pitch at his head again but it drops in for a strike. Pedroia is paranoid up there. I think he just soiled himself. Foul ball on heat. 2-2. 93 mph slider outside for a ball. 3-2. 98 mph gas high for a walk.

7:54 pm – Lugo steps in and takes a 96 mph strike. Easy groundout to 3rd. Inning over.

7:58 pm – 1-2 count but Dice-K threw some 84 mph pitch to Ibanez that they are calling the gyroball. 2 quick mentions. 96 mph gas and another K.

8:00 PM – 0-2 quick to Big Sexy. He just whiffed on pitch two on an 86 mph meatball. 97 mph gas just missed outside. Ump wasl eaning but did not give it to him. 96 mph foul ball. 1-2 count. Swing and a miss on 83 MPH cheeseout of the strike zone. Another K.

8:02 PM – Wow, second pitch and he hits Guillen with a 96 MPH K. We need to see how this plays out cause Guillen and Donnelly almost got in a fight last night. Looks like there is bad blood brewing between these two teams.

8:03 PM – Johjima just crushed a ball foul. Easy groundout to 3rd. Going to the bottom of the 4th.

8:04 PM – Reflection time here. Would Dice-K really fight with Guillen. He has to know Guillen is crazy and will charge any time. I might gave to go to the books for this fight.

Guillen – 30 years old from the DR and is 6’0″ and 190 pounds.
Dice-K – 26 years old from Japan and is 6’0″ and 187 pounds.

Looks like a fair fight. I would love to see it.

8:07 PM – Wow Youkilis looks terrible. He needs to shave that facial hair and The King just threw him 4 straight balls. Not really anything close.

8:08 PM – MIssed with the first pitch to Papi. Big cut at a 99mph heater. 1-1. The shift works again on Papi as he grounds into a double play.

8:09 PM – Manny comes up. 85 mph hook/change in for a called strike. First Yanks mention just saying that the Yanks and Red Sox get all the hype. Two straight balls. 2-1. 98 mph strike. His fastball has great dipping action and appears to drop and not rise. Easy bouncer to SS for the third out.

8:13PM – Bettancourt goes down 0-2 then hits an easy liner to SS.

8:15 PM – Loex has looked silly swinging and missing on the first two pitches. 96 MPH heater just misses outside. It seems like Dice-k is now not comfortable throwing inside and is pushing it outside all the time. Now Lopez pokes an outside pitch to RF for a single.

8:16 PM – Ichiro is back up and is 0-2 on the night. ESPN cuts to Japanese coverage for the AB so I have absolutely no idea what they are saying. First pitch is down and in for a ball. 91 mph something pitch for a strike. Still hearing Japanese. I think I am turning Japanese, I think I am turning Japanese, I think I am turning Japanese, yes I think so. What the hell is going on. This could be the worst coverage ever. 2-2 count now. Dice-K likes this new 91mph pitch. Finally some English… whoops spoke to soon. Ichiro looks terrible and strikes out swinging on a low ball. They are saying thr 91 mph pitch is the cut fastball now. So if this is the case and his fastballs are now at 95. He has lost 2 mph off of his pitches.

8:19 PM – Beltre crushes first pitch off of the monster. Looks like the cutter again. Varitek can not handle the throw and it is 2-0 Mariners. He makes it to third on the play.

8:20 PM – Vidro is first pitch swinging and lines a single for a 3-0 lead.

8:21 PM – Ibanez is first pitch swinging but lines it to CF. I think Dice-K is getting tired cause he is clearly losing velocity and his pitches have less bite.

8:24 PM – Nice play by Lopez at 2nd on a decent shot by JD Drew. Diving stop and a bad throw to 1st but the Big Sexy saved it.

8:24 PM – Quick 0-2 to Lowell and then he rips it up the middle and Lopez made an amazing play to his right ranging past 2nd base by about 10 feet and throwing back across his body. Great play and 2 quick outs.

8:25 PM – 1-1 to Varitek he took a pitch and then swung through a change. Slider in the dirt for a 2-1 count. Varietek is way out in front of a 88 mph change. 99 mph heater down and in missing for a 3-2 count. Weak chopper in front of the plate. 3 up 3 down again thanks to Lopez.

8:30 PM – Big Sexy swings through 95 mph heater and then takes one for strike 2. 0-2. Check defensive swing on an 83 mph junk pitch and pop up to 1B. 1 out

8:31 PM – Guilen check swings for a strike on an 84 mph junk pitch. foul back on a 96 mph heater. Looks like he found another mph. 0-2 count. 94 mph heat up high for a ball. 96 mph gas in the dirt. 2-2. 95 mph heater driven to RF for an out. 2 outs.

8:33 PM – Here comes Johjima for AB number 3. 95 mph heater inside for a ball. 1-0. Just ripped a 96 mph low and in heater for a foul. 1-1. 95 mph inside. 2-1. 96 mph heater ripped down the LF line for a double. Two doubles tonight and Johjima is all over him again. He looks comfortable and is pulling his fastballs. Johjima needs to share his secrets cause he is not having any problems.

8:35 PM – Betancourt up. 95 mph up high for a ball. 1-0. Chases a high heater for a strike. 1-1. 84 mph slop misses inside. 84 mph junk again and Betancourt pops out to Manny.

Dice K line – 6 innings, 7 hits, 3ER, 0 BB, 4 K and 89 pitches with 57 strikes. ERA is 2.77 on the season.

8:39 PM – Quick 1-2 count on Coco. Swinging K on a 93 slider down and in. That was too easy.

8:41 PM – 98 mph K righ in there to Pedroia. 97 mph low ball. Just missed outside. 1-1. 90 mph hook and he flinched again. This kid is afraid up there. 98 mph gas and a easy shot to SS. 1 out.

8:42 PM – Lugo up. 92 mph slider outside. 1-0. Easy shot to SS and a 1-2-3 inning once again.

Lets see what happens when the good hitters see King Felix for the third time. This is when the Mariners were able to get to Dice – K.

8:45 PM – Announcers just said Dice-K is on a 110 pitch count and is already up to 91 pitches. Lopez just poked a single to left field, his second hit of the night.

8:46 PM – Dice-K just threw chin music on Ichiro. 1-0. 94 mph heater fouled off. 1-1. Ichiro is 0-3 and does not look happy. 86 mph pitch in the dirt. Varitek actually blocked it. Nice to see he woke up finally. 2-1. Terrible weak shot up the middle that should have been a double play but Ichiro is too fast. Man Ichiro looks bad tonight. Surprised he did not get a detailed report from Johjima.

8:48PM – Throw over to 1st on Ichiro. 85 mph pitch in the dirt. 1-0. 94 mph heat low and away. 2-0. Dice – K just hit the 100 pitch mark. 84 mph junk low and away. 3-0. JC Romero is warming up in the pen. 95 mph high and inside. 4 straight balls. 1st and 2nd and 1 out.

8:50 PM – Pitching coach is heading to the mound. Meeting with Dice-K and Varitek. Dice-K stays out there.

8:51 PM – Vidro takes an outside curve for a strike. That looked very outside. 0-1. Man.. Youk just made a great play at first to start a double play. Props to Youk cause that was a difficult play and Dice-K even cpvered first on the play.

I am guessing that we just saw the end of Dice-K tonight. My initial reaction when watching both pitchers is that King Felixes stuff is plain filthy. He has the best stuff in the league right now. Incredible fastball that drops and breaking pitches in the mid to low 90s plus a changeup that clocks in in the upper 80s. Dice-K was good, not great. He mixed up speeds and location but it seemed predictable and one dimensional. He would start pitching in and in and in and keep hammering in then go outside again and again. I did not feel like he was painting both corners during each at bat.

8:55 PM – Felix starts off 2-1 against Youk and just threw 97 with serious movement. Youk ripped it to LF and Ibanez was positioned perfectly and made a lazy diving catch for the ball.

8:56 PM – Nasty 86 mph hook greets Papi for a strike. Followed by 97 moh heater for a ball. 1-1. Ortiz took a whack at a high 85 mph pitch but fouled it. 1-2. 99 mph pop up to left.

8:58 PM – Here comes Manny for try #3. King Felix has only thrown 80 pitches. Last 3 pitches were 97, 99 and 99. Ball then strike to Manny. 1-1. MIsses outside with 86 mph junk. 2-1. 92 mph slider on the outside corner. 2-2. 99 mph gas on the outside corner for strike out and Manny simply watched it go by. PLAIN OLD NASTY!!!!

9:00 PM – JC Romero in for the Sox. 2 outs now and they make the call for Pineiro. I am done live blogging on the Sox side cause their side of this story is now over. Dice-K was good not great and leaves losing this game as predicted.

9:13 PM – JD Drew up and one pitch and one single. There goes the no hitter. Red Sox are giving a standing ovation. I am not sure who it is for. Felix or Drew.

9:14 PM – One pitch and a foul pop for Mike Lowell. 0-1. The King has thrown 87 pitches. 91 mph slider and a swing and a miss. 0-2. 98 mph gas that just missed. 1-2. Lowell chased an 87 mph junk pitch out of the strike zone just catching a piece of it. 92 mph slip very high. 2-2. 85 mph change and a pop out to CF.

9:17 PM – Varitek takes 97 mph gas inside for a strike. Follows it up with 89 mph change on the inside corner. 0-2 count. 99 mph gas just missed on the inside corner. 1-2. 97 same pitch. 2-2. Easy grounder to Big Sexy to start the double play and DOH!!! Sexy drops the return throw. Varitek safe and two down.

9:19 PM – Coco B. Ware check swings a first pitch one hopper to SS and the inning is over.

9:27 PM – Uneventful inning although Lugo made a nice error. Time for The King to wrap this baby up.

9:28 PM – King gets mad props for “mowing down the Red Sox”. Lets see if they jinx him claiming he has not given up a run yet in 16 IP.

9:29 PM – Pedroia steps in and is a quick 1-1. Swings wildly at a crazy moving pitch that was 96 mph. 1-2. 87 mph junk in the dirt. 2-2. Foul on 92 slider down. 2-2. Jammed him with 98 mph gas inside. Hit back to the king for an out.

9:31 PM – Lugo steps in and gets 96 mph under the chin. 96 mph gas for a strike. 1-1. Chopper to second for out 2.

More props for The King. I will get into detail in the wrap up.

9:32 PM – Youk greeted with a strike. Followed by 85 mph miss. 1-1. 91 mph nasty slider on the outside corner. 1-2. 87 mph hook swinging. See you later folks. That pitch was nasty.

THE WRAP-UP:

Dice-K – Came out blazing with 97 mph heat and jamming hitters inside. Also, threw hooks for strikes at 80 mph and cutters for 93. I do not think he really showed a full repertoirre of pitches. He pretty much mixed up three pitches consistently. I would have liked to see him throw more inside outside combos and he did not really get into this too much and I think that is when the Mariners were figuring him out. I felt like he threw a predictable game.

Felix – A one hitter and he was nasty. He is 5 years younger, throws harder, up to 99 and 100 mph on the gun and he can throw a sinking fastball this fast. Really amazing. I have not seen a fast ball like this since Clemens in his prime and Felix throw harder. the 93 mph curve/slider is a ridiculous pitch. Most starting pitcher sin the MLB would love to simply throw 93 mph and this guy throws 93 with some serious action. Felix also can change it up with an 87 mph change-up and later in the game he was throwing 84 mph junk balls trying to get guys to chase. The King is special and the real deal.

So with all of this said and charted… Dice-K is good, not great and I do not consider the Mariners to be a great hitting team so I still need to see him face more major league hitters and to let the scouts get more looks at him. I will tell Varitek right now that he needs to mix it up a lot more and that his pitch calling was very predictable. This was fun and I hope you enjoyed it.

Flash Flash.

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Dice-K, ESPN, gyroball, Ichiro, Japan, Live blog, Mariners, Matsuzaka, MLB, Red Sox, Sports | Leave a comment