Dice-K's turn for a round number
Beckett got his 20th last night. Will Dice-K at last win No. 15 in this one? It’s funny we come back to 15. It seems that in Spring Training, everyone who was asked predicted that Matsuzaka would win somewhere around 15 games. His path to it has been unpredictable. I think Dice-K’s last two starts in the regular season are more crucial than any of the other starters.
By this point, we know Beckett is a horse who can lift this team on his back as long as they play this October. We know that Schilling has started to make a solid adjustment from power pitcher to a guy who can paint corners and give the team six good innings. And Wakefield is Wakefield.
But what about Dice-K? In my mind, the single biggest question regarding the postseason rotation is whether there is a dependable No. 2 guy behind Beckett. That was Dice-K in June and parts of July, and even into early August, when Schilling initially was on the DL.
That has not been Dice-K lately as his performance has fluctuated wildly amid rumblings he’s wearing down. He did pitch with a whole lot of heart in his last start against the Yankees, but 120 pitches in 5 2/3 innings isn’t very efficient. He’s rested in this one, taking the ball for the first time in eight days.
Personally, I think the way Dice-K throws tonight will go a long way toward telling us what kind of pitcher he can be in October. If the rest has indeed refreshed him, this is a very good sign. If his command is off again, there could be red flags.