Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a gem last night. Oh I know it's not what may normally be considered a gem but a gem it was. I am amazed how many national writers can't see the forest through the trees when it comes to Dice-K. All they see is the walks - take Lee Jenkins article on SI.com this morning as an example. Jenkins talks about the walks but he never mentions once the reason for the nibbling. Not once!
Well let me explain. Dice-K nibbles because he will not give up a home run. He'd rather nibble on a 3-2 count with men on first and second than groove a fastball just to get a strike and give up a 3-run home run instead. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HOME RUNS!
Last season Dice-K gave up 25 dingers at a rate of one per every 8.2 innings pitched. This year he only gave up 12 HR at a rate of one per every 14 innings pitched. That a reduction in HR of 41%! That why his ERA when from 4.40 last year to just 2.90 this season (a reduction of 34% year over year).
So yes the walks are up this year - 5 walks per 9 innings pitched vs. 3.5 walks per 9 innings pitched last season - but the home runs are down. And that has made all the difference.
Too bad the experts can't figure that out.