Daisuke Matsuzaka got creamed last night, giving up seven runs on eight hits, including two homers, in two innings. This morning Rob Bradford of WEEI has a story up with the headline “One hundred starts later the Daisuke Matsuzaka mystery remains unsolved.”
Bradford tries to figure out where it all went wrong for Dice-K, but I gotta tell ya: it ain’t no mystery: if you throw 90 mile per hour fastballs to the fat part of the plate and have nothing else to show the hitters to make them do anything but wait for those meatballs, you’re gonna get creamed. And it isn’t just me saying it. Terry Francona said as much after last night’s game:
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A lot of people wonder when Dice-K will return to form. Fact is, though, that Matsuzaka had one really sweet year: 2008, and he was pretty lucky that year, posting a sub-3.00 ERA despite leading the league in walks and in hits allowed per nine innings. The truth, it seems, is that Dice-K is the pitching version of Jeff Francoeur. A guy whose bad performances, at some point, have to be considered the norm and his good ones the aberration. Not the other way around.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.