Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dice-K Doesn't Like Men On Base

From Buster Olney's blog this morning, a good follow-up to part of my mailbag from this morning:

Opposing hitters have a .280 on-base percentage against Daisuke Matsuzaka with nobody on base, and a .375 on-base percentage with runners on base; nine of the 15 walks he has issued have come with runners on base. Spoke with Boston general manager Theo Epstein, and he said the difference is Matsuzaka has tended to rush in his delivery when he works from the stretch. When he works from the windup, there are mechanisms in place that slow down his delivery, built-in pauses that allow him to gather his body before he launches himself toward the hitter. On Friday's "Baseball Tonight", we timed his windup and delivery, from the point that he begins to move his hands to when he releases the ball, at 4.0 seconds.

When he works from the stretch, there are not -- and cannot be -- the same kind of mechanisms. From the point his hands begin to move to when he releases the ball when working from the stretch, the time is 0.7 seconds. It's an issue of mechanics, of Matsuzaka gathering himself before he delivers the ball, rather than rushing, and Epstein indicated the Red Sox are confident they will work this out.

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