February 25, 2007
HAS ANY MAJOR LEAGUER EVER HAD A SLIDER/SCREWBALL COMBO?:
Dice-K shows what's up: Matsuzaka dazzles in first live hitters stint (Jeff Horrigan, February 25, 2007, Boston Herald)
It seemed to matter little to Daisuke Matsuzaka that catcher Jason Varitek was telling hitters which pitch was about to be thrown yesterday when the Red Sox' newest star threw to batters for the first time since coming from the Seibu Lions.
As is the case in all live batting practice sessions, the catcher tipped off Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Cash, Bobby Scales and Luis Jimenez on whether Matsuzaka was to throw a fastball, curveball, slider or changeup.
For the most part, the youngsters still couldn't get a bat on the ball. [...]
Matsuzaka threw 44 pitches, including 20 out of the stretch and two pitchouts, and only had two hit well. Cash lined a fastball off the left-center field wall on a hop, while Ellsbury lashed an opposite-field hit down the left field line on a changeup.
"The thing I noticed most was his slider," Ellsbury said. "I knew it was coming and I still missed by six inches."
We remain dubious that he is really going to maintain above-average velocity into the late innings, but if you've seen film of him pitching it's the ability to throw that filthy slider and the screwball or change or whatever the pitch is that he makes break in the opposite direction that makes it seem likely he can succeed at this level. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 25, 2007 7:35 AM