What’s up with Dice K?

A lot if you must ask.

Remember Daisuke Matsuzaka? Remember the gyro ball? OK. Well let’s forget about that.

Matsuzaka won NPB’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. He was remarkably good with remarkably little. In his first year with the Chunichi Dragons, Matsuzaka went 6-4 in 11 starts, the most he’s made since going 1-7 for the Red Sox the season after having Tommy John surgery.

He had a 3.74 ERA — never mind that he made nine of those starts at home in the Central League’s best pitchers’ park. On average, 2,064 more fans came to Nagoya Dome when Dice K was starting.

Matsuzaka threw his four-seamer 15 percent of the time, according to analytic site Delta Graphs, with an average velocity of 138.8 kph (86.2 mph). His main pitch was his cutter.

After earning 15 million yen ($132,000) this past season, Matsuzaka received a raise to 80 million ($704,000) for 2019.

He ranked 54th among 62 CL pitchers with 50-plus innings pitched in WHIP, but was dynamite with runners on second and third or with the bases loaded, allowing one six RBIs and one hit (a home run) over 21 plate appearances.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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