Well, Sunday was a bit of a bummer in Cleveland.
Not just did the mighty Cleveland Browns lose the opener, but the Cleveland Indians dropped a 2-1 loss to the New York Mets and not-so-mighty Daisuke Matsuzaka. Nevermind that Matsuzaka couldn’t crack a Cleveland rotation in spring training that was riddled with question marks. Nevermind he was never given a serious chance for the Indians rotation when Scott Kazmir, Zach McAllister or Corey Kluber was shelved due to injury.
Daisuke Matsuzaka has had a season of ups and downs pitching for the Columbus Clippers and Cleveland Indians. He started the year in spring training hoping to make the major league roster, but was put in the starting rotation for the Columbus Clippers instead. While he struggled at times and has been on the disabled list this season, Matsuzaka has seemed to find his groove and is pitching well.
Over his past two games, Matsuzaka has given up just five hits and two runs, while striking out 12 batters over 14 innings. Over the course of his last 10 games, Matsuzaka has pitched six games where he allowed only one earned run and never pitched less then five innings in any of those starts.
“Daisuke has really been pitching well lately,” Columbus manager Chris Tremie said. “He is throwing the ball well and has been a big part of us getting back into our winning ways.”
Many fans this spring saw the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka and were optimistic that he could come in and help this Indians rotation. Unfortunately, this has not been the case as he has failed to find success at even the minor league level, pitching 20.2 innings with an ERA near four with 18 walks and an 0-2 record with Triple-A Columbus.
Matsuzaka has had a relatively successful yet short career in the majors, helping the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2007. In 2008 he posted his best season ever, going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 154 strikeouts. After that 2008 season he began to struggle with injuries as his stats became worse with less innings pitched, leading up to having Tommy John surgery in 2011. He attempted to come back in 2012 but posted awful numbers for the Red Sox going 1-7 with an ERA of 8.28.
The excitement of the new season is not just contained up on the shore of Lake Erie, but is going strong in Columbus as the Clippers start their new season. This season marks their fifth year in their beautiful new ballpark, Huntington Park.
The Clippers ended last year by closely missing the playoffs, finishing with a record of 75-69. Last season was viewed as a disappointment, as their 2011 season was capped off by winning their second consecutive Governors Cup. This season however is viewed with the same sense of strong optimism that follows the Indians into the new season.
The Clippers this season are lead by a new manager Chris Tremie. Tremie played in the majors from 1995 through 2004, being a journeyman moving through six organizations. After his career was over, he started managing for the Tribe through the Gulf Coast Indians, working his way up to the Akron Aeros for the last two seasons and now the Clippers this year.
By Mike Brandyberry
Sunday declared the start of the competition for the fourth and fifth rotation spots on the Indians’ starting staff. While no spots can be won or lost quickly, the race is officially under way after all five serious contenders for the final two spots saw action yesterday.
With the starting rotation being the Indians’ most serious concern entering exhibition play, Manager Terry Francona and General Manager Chris Antonetti set out this winter to create a deep and competitive field for the final two spots. The field of competitors consists of an incumbent, along with injury reclamation projects, free agents and trade acquisitions.
“If you have a lot of questions going into the year, sometimes the answer is no,” Francona said prior to Sunday’s games. “That’s why Chris and I talked about trying to add depth this winter.”
On this week’s podcast Erik Pinkerman, Ronnie Tellalian and Mike Brandyberry discuss the Cleveland Indians starting rotation. The crew discusses the importance of bounce back seasons from Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez and what to expect from Brett Myers and …
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the Spring Invitees with a chance to make the Tribe’s Opening Day roster.
By Mike Brandyberry
Indians spring invitee Daisuke Matsuzaka may be the most watched pitcher in Goodyear this spring and not just because he’s followed by throngs of Japanese media everywhere he goes.
If Matsuzaka can find the command and health he previously had before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, he could be a surprise piece to stabilize the Tribe’s starting rotation. Currently, the Indians rotation is the team’s biggest weakness and reason some feel they still cannot compete for a playoff spot despite all their offseason roster improvements.
But a healthy Matsuzaka could catapult the Tribe into serious contention. It’s why his first bullpen session was monitored by not just Pitching Coach Mickey Callaway and Tribe Manger Terry Francona, but also Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti, Assistant General Manager Mike Chernoff and team trainers. Antonetti likes the possibility Matsuzaka’s newfound health could provide the Tribe.
“He obviously has a long and distinguished track record of success when he’s been healthy,” Antonetti said in a video during his Feb. 13 press conference to announce Matsuzaka’s signing. “Unfortunately over the last few years he has had a number of injuries. When he’s been healthy, he’s been a good pitcher, whether it’s here or in Japan.”