Monday, June 22, 2009
In a not so shocking move, the Sox have placed Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list. With John Smoltz starting Thursday night in Washington, and Matsuzaka's horrendous starts mounting, the move makes sense. But now we find out that an MRI revealed shoulder weakness. The same kind of shoulder weakness that put Matsuzaka on the DL in April.
As Francona put it: "This is not going to be a two-week DL." And it seems as though the Sox will wait until they can gauge improvement in that shoulder, before even considering activating him.
Francona and the Sox have also been blaming the World Baseball Classic, which is likely to blame for at least part of Matsuzaka's shoulder woes. At the very least, the Sox weren't able to implement their own spring routines.
And frankly, do you think Tatsunori Hara (managed Japan in WBC) gave a rat's ass about how Daisuke's arm would be doing in June and July?
It's also possible that the sudden change in Daisuke's pitching routines from Japan to the US has caused some problems. A return to Japanese habits in the WBC could only exacerbate such an issue.
I, for one, think that the WBC added fuel to a small fire, turning it into an inferno. There's always been a lot of talk about Daisuke's routines in Japan, and how he'd adjust to pitching in The States. Most seemed to think that throwing as much as he did in Japan would cost him years off his career.
I'm in the opposite camp. i think reducing his throwing is part of what's causing these recent shoulder troubles. It's not the common-sense viewpoint, and it certainly isn't what baseball people think about throwing. Muscles become accustomed to workloads. If those workloads are QUICKLY reduced or increased, the muscle will suffer. A professional weight-lifter will lose muscle mass if he cuts down on his workouts. He will also injure himself if he tries doubling his bench press.
Daisuke's in an adjustment period. The WBC was a relapse into some strange pitching routines. And I doubt any Red Sox pitcher will participate in the next one.
Nick Green deserves an honorable mention in the category of Red Sox Contributions for the 2009 Season. The reason the Sox are in first is pitching, along with Jason Bay's hitting, and things like that. But Nick Green has quietly hit .293 with a .345 OBP. And Sunday afternoon, he was on center stage, hitting a walk-off shot to right, and giving the Sox their 4th consecutive series win.
An extremely encouraging sight was David Ortiz's bomb to left center in the 1st. He's hitting .292 in June. But more importantly, he's slugging .604 with an OBP of .393. Those are the kinds of numbers we're used to seeing from David Ortiz.
Is this just a fluke sort of thing with Ortiz? Is his slump merely slumping, waiting to eventually return back to normal? Is this a bear market rally? I don't think it is. But I do doubt that he'll continue with the .600 SLG and .390 OBP numbers.
The Sox have Monday off, then play the lowly Nationals in DC. How bad are the Nats? They're 7 games behind Cleveland for 29th place in Major League Baseball. They're 21 games behind the Red Sox. They're the only team in baseball with a winning percentage below .300. They could win 1 game in this 3 game series, and their winning percentage would go up.
Brad Penny faces John Lannan Tuesday night.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer