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 Post subject: Daisuke-Felix matchup tonight
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:44 am 
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That's a matchup worth watching. Buck Martinez on XM this morning says he thinks Hernandez will win.

Regardless, apparently legions will be gathered around TVs in Japan to see Daisuke Matsuzaka face Ichiro Suzuki.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:27 am 
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This could be interesting. Or both pitchers could get knocked out by the fourth inning of an 11-8 game. Seems like the more a matchup is hyped, the less it winds up living up to the hype.

I think the conditions favor Daisuke Matsuzaka, as I guess I don't fully trust Felix's stellar debut as an established new level of performance, and hitters are still getting used to Matsuzaka — there can't be much of a "book" on him yet.

I wonder how many Japanese media members Fenway's press box can accommodate? I remember there were upward of 400 such folks who received credentials for Ichiro's 2001 debut — but that was in a brand-new stadium with, at the time, probably the biggest press box anywhere.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:20 am 
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Call me insane, and ask that I be removed as moderator of this forum, but I will just about snap in two if I see another reference to that stupid nickname for Matsuzaka. I know that no lack of respect was intended in the above posts, but I edited it out of both.

I won't tolerate the trivialization of people's names, especially those of foreign players.

Yeah, I'm a lunatic. Complain to my boss.

We have really smart talk all over this board, and it's always a relief to see smart discussion and analysis of sports in the forum, because you rarely see that in other places. But either indulge me on this or petition for my removal.

Proceed.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:30 am 
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Not that I'm arguing with you, JJ, but I'd be interested to know what distinguishes a stupid nickname from a clever or historically cherished one. I'm not being sarcastic here, just curious.

Was "Sultan of Swat" a stupid nickname for Babe Ruth? Is "Big Hurt" a dumb moniker for Frank Thomas? Is "Pronk" a flaccid diminuitive for Travis Hafner? How about "Joltin' Joe" or "The Commerce Comet"? Lloyd and Paul Waner, "Big Poison" and "Little Poison"? Or "Dummy" Hoy (deaf ballplayer) or Bob "Fats" Fothergill or Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown?

By all accounts, Matsuzaka has embraced the nickname as a sign of affection from Boston fans. It also happens to be how his first name is pronounced.

Can you shed a little light on how you draw the line?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:26 pm 
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I feared that dead horse was already out of the burning barn. Or something like that.

Guess I can't use my new nickname here: iWayne.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:40 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
Not that I'm arguing with you, JJ, but I'd be interested to know what distinguishes a stupid nickname from a clever or historically cherished one. I'm not being sarcastic here, just curious.

Was "Sultan of Swat" a stupid nickname for Babe Ruth? Is "Big Hurt" a dumb moniker for Frank Thomas? Is "Pronk" a flaccid diminuitive for Travis Hafner? How about "Joltin' Joe" or "The Commerce Comet"? Lloyd and Paul Waner, "Big Poison" and "Little Poison"? Or "Dummy" Hoy (deaf ballplayer) or Bob "Fats" Fothergill or Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown?

By all accounts, Matsuzaka has embraced the nickname as a sign of affection from Boston fans. It also happens to be how his first name is pronounced.

Can you shed a little light on how you draw the line?


They're all stupid. Let's not use any of them. How's that?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:44 pm 
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Okay.

George Herman Ruth it is.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:49 pm 
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Um...does this mean A-Rod is out?

JJ, I think you might need to rethink this stance. In a baseball forum, nicknames are inevitably discussed. It's part of the charm of the game.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:42 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
This could be interesting. Or both pitchers could get knocked out by the fourth inning of an 11-8 game. Seems like the more a matchup is hyped, the less it winds up living up to the hype.

I think the conditions favor Daisuke Matsuzaka, as I guess I don't fully trust Felix's stellar debut as an established new level of performance, and hitters are still getting used to Matsuzaka — there can't be much of a "book" on him yet.

I wonder how many Japanese media members Fenway's press box can accommodate? I remember there were upward of 400 such folks who received credentials for Ichiro's 2001 debut — but that was in a brand-new stadium with, at the time, probably the biggest press box anywhere.


Interesting, Wabber. I thought you would be more confident in Felix.

Also think your prediction of an 11-8 game is intriguing.

I'm looking more for a duel the likes of the one last night in Oakland, in which the Sox' Jon Garland and Mike MacDougal and Chad Gaudin and a succession of Oakland relievers hooked up in a 1-0 duel into the bottom of the ninth. Just like that, Bobby Jenks coughed up the lead for a 2-1 Oakland win. Bada-bing, bada-boom, ballgame. That's what makes baseball so darned compelling.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:55 pm 
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pjaymac wrote:
Um...does this mean A-Rod is out?

JJ, I think you might need to rethink this stance. In a baseball forum, nicknames are inevitably discussed. It's part of the charm of the game.


Catfish? Gator? Scooter? The Hawk? Yaz? Big Papi? Stan the Man? The Gambler? Donnie Baseball? Mex? Straw? Mick the Quick? Reggie? Sparky? All banned?

Come, now, JJ.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:04 pm 
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I think it'll be a good game, Wordy ... I'm just not expecting perfection. I have faith in Felix's potential, but I'm not convinced he's fully arrived. Part of it is inhibited by Seattle's stubborn insistence that he establish his straight-arrow fastball each game before they let him use his plus change-up and other off-speed junk. Once they allow him to mix it up, he's hard to touch ... but the team doesn't usually do that until the fastball-first approach gets lit up for a home run or a couple of back-to-back doubles.

My guess is that Boston wins, 3-1.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:08 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
I think it'll be a good game, Wordy ... I'm just not expecting perfection. I have faith in Felix's potential, but I'm not convinced he's fully arrived. Part of it is inhibited by Seattle's stubborn insistence that he establish his straight-arrow fastball each game before they let him use his plus change-up and other off-speed junk. Once they allow him to mix it up, he's hard to touch ... but the team doesn't usually do that until the fastball-first approach gets lit up for a home run or a couple of back-to-back doubles.

My guess is that Boston wins, 3-1.


So the pitching coach is really restricting Felix to that extent? Is it still Bryan Price, or did he leave when Lou did?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:23 pm 
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wordygurdy wrote:
pjaymac wrote:
Um...does this mean A-Rod is out?

JJ, I think you might need to rethink this stance. In a baseball forum, nicknames are inevitably discussed. It's part of the charm of the game.


Catfish? Gator? Scooter? The Hawk? Yaz? Big Papi? Stan the Man? The Gambler? Donnie Baseball? Mex? Straw? Mick the Quick? Reggie? Sparky? All banned?

Come, now, JJ.


You all, of course, are being deliberately provocative. I never suggested we ban all nicknames. There's a time and place for everything. But I do believe we can have fun and healthy baseball conversations without slumming at the level of those who must treat other adults like children or mascots. You all know where the line is. Please observe it.

I see the conversation about tonight's game and the latest pitching phenomenon continued unimpeded after my notice. We have a reputation in this forum and elsewhere on TCE for showing respect and paying close attention to the language. Let's keep that going.

Play ball.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:50 pm 
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Bryan Price left with Bob Melvin after the 2004 season. The pitching coach now is Rafael Chaves, but he's just following orders — the organization as a whole has developed a policy regarding Felix's development, and Chaves is just a foot soldier carrying out the message. They're trying to pattern Felix's development pattern on those of Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden, two pitchers who were successful dominating at first with fastballs (or, in Gooden's case, fastball/curve) and then fine-tuned their craft with change-ups at a variety of speeds. That's fine for them, but may not necessarily be the best way to develop every young flameballer. I think the organization made a lot of mistakes in handling Felix last year, and wallpapered it over by blaming Felix for being youthful, inattentive and a bit overweight.

Felix, to his credit, is bearing down and letting what I think is misplaced criticism slide off his back.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:47 pm 
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By the way, should you tune in, this is a good opportunity to observe Jose Vidro's awfulness. Batting him No. 3 reminds me of the early 1980s San Diego Padres, who plugged the middle of the lineup with human out machine Garry Templeton for several seasons. It still boggles me that the 1984 Pads got to the World Series with the equally worthless Templeton and Steve Garvey batting 4-5.

And, of course, last year, the Mariners batted the awful Carl Everett in the 5-hole in more than 100 games before finally releasing him.

Can anybody else think of examples of a horrible hitter occupying prime lineup real estate for an extended stretch?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:14 pm 
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Ichiro leads off with a 3-2 groundout to Matsuzaka. The earth continues to rotate on its axis undisturbed.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:13 pm 
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Interesting that the Red Sox took him out after 7. Must be the dreaded American "pitch count syndrome," as Matsuzaka's inclination would be to pitch through the middle of next week if necessary.

Oooh, and the King had a no-no, eh? You of all people, Wabber, know how impressive that is against that lineup in that ballpark. Hoo-ha. Hail to the chief, indeed.

And your prediction of a 3-1 score might yet come true, except in favor of the Ms.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:17 pm 
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Yeah. I wonder if he'll actually be ruined by being forced to adapt to injury-inducing American conditioning techniques for pitchers.

But tonight, let's face it: It's all about Felix. This is his national coming-out party.

One hit, five Ks and 90 percent groundball outs. That's Johan Santana territory alone.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:27 pm 
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Agreed; it's all about Felix.

How funny that yer man Vidro made the last out of the top of the 9th. At least he went 2-for-5.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:29 pm 
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And hit into his MLB-leading fourth double play of the season.

I hope Jim Rice is emotionally prepared to yield his record.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:31 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
And hit into his MLB-leading fourth double play of the season.

I hope Jim Rice is emotionally prepared to yield his record.


That was extremely funny.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:35 pm 
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I kind of hope it'll be like when Brian Kingman finally yielded his title as "The Last Guy to Lose 20 Games" to Mike Maroth a couple of years ago. He had a great sense of humor about it ... much more, as I recall, than Maroth did.

I'd love to see Rice show up to the park as Vidro draws close and give glib interviews along the way.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:36 pm 
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Wabber, on behalf of Yankee fans everywhere, I extend my hearty thanks to Mr. Hernandez for twirling his gem against the Olde Towne Nine at the Fens.

I'll be out at Safeco in mid-May to see the Yanks. Maybe I'll see a similar gem spun against them. (Gulp.)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:40 pm 
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Give me a shout when you do; maybe we'll connect.

No question Felix has taken it up another level now. His fastball has great movement now, much more than it did last year. And instead of just rearing back and throwing 97 mph smoke down the heart of the plate, he's locating the fastball in and out and up and down the strike zone. He's pitching.

But for a ground ball that just scooted under Jose Lopez's glove, Felix would have had a no-no. Wow.

The East Coast-dominant media can't ignore him any longer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:39 am 
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Just in case you're wondering what Felix has in his toolbox, here's a summary from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Quote:
His regular (four-seam) fastball comes to the plate at 97 mph with movement. His cut (two-seam) fastball sinks to the bottom of the strike zone at about 93 mph. He throws a slider at 85 mph and a curve at about 82, not to mention a nasty changeup that ties hitters in knots because he releases it with the same motion he uses to throw his other pitches.


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