Via Tony Massarotti –
As it turns out, they have divas in Japan, too.
They have multimillion-dollar athletes who take all of the credit and none of the blame, and they have overpaid excuse-makers just as proficient at passing the buck. Apparently, at least in Daisuke Matsuzaka’s house, they just don’t have mirrors.
“I think we all share, in a word, that it’s disappointing,” Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said a short time ago in the Boston clubhouse — veins all but bulging from his neck — in response to critical comments made by Daisuke Matsuzaka. Added Farrell when asked if he was frustrated, “The disappointment comes in airing his dirty laundry.”
Disappointed? No, no, no. The Red Sox are not disappointed. They are downright angry. At instants during an impromptu gathering in the middle of the clubhouse prior to tonight’s game with the Oakland Athletics, Farrell looked as if his head were about to explode. The truth is that the Red Sox were tired of Matsuzaka’s high-maintenance act a long time ago, but they kept their mouths shut and put up with it because Matsuzaka won games.
Now that Matsuzaka is the possessor of a 1-5 record and 8.23 ERA, the gloves are coming off, though it should be stressed that Matsuzaka threw the first punch here. As the saying goes, you truly find out about a person’s character during the bad times more than you do the good times. Matsuzaka returned from Florida on Friday to check in with Sox doctors and officials, a meeting after which Francona sat before assembled media and expressed optimism that the lines of communication were more open than ever with his struggling pitcher.
Within days, based on an interpretation that first appeared on WEEI.com, Matsuzaka told the Japanese media the following: “If I’m forced to continue to train in this environment, I may no longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan. The only reason why I managed to win games during the first and second years [in the United States] was because I used the savings of the shoulder I built up in Japan. Since I came to the Major Leagues, I couldn’t train in my own way, so now I’ve lost all those savings.”
Is he kidding with this? Really? Last season, while going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA, Matsuzaka became the first major league starter in history to win 18 or more games with as few as 167-2/3 innings pitched. He ranked fifth in the majors in run support. Matsuzaka threw the shocking average of precisely 17.3 pitches per inning in 29 starts and, on average, pitched roughly 5 2/3 innings per outing, which means he got support from than just the Red Sox offense. He got support from the Boston bullpen, too.
But ask him and Matsuzaka will tell you the only reason why I managed to win games during the first and second years [in the United States] was because I used the savings of the shoulder I built up in Japan.
What Matsuzaka did not say, of course, was that he showed up in camp this year looking like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. (What’s the Japanese word for doughboy, anyway?) Asked about Matsuzaka’s strength when the pitcher returned from the World Baseball Classic, Farrell said at the time that Matsuzaka graded out well when the club tested the pitcher’s shoulder. In retrospect, what Farrell did not say was that Matsuzaka looked like he spent the winter eating cheeseburgers, which the Red Sox believe contributed to the pitcher’s problems.
“It’s not just the shoulder,” Farrell said tonight when asked about the importance of proper conditioning. “When the overall body is not in the condition necessary to support that, there has to be some responsibility taken [on the part of the pitcher.]”
Like we said, Matsuzaka apparently doesn’t have many mirrors in his home.
Hey, is Farrell calling Matsuzaka a fat pussy toad? Gotta love it…