Dice-K was brutal again last night, needing 102 pitches to go five innings while giving up three runs on nine hits, walking three and throwing four wild pitches. I didn't see the game, but those who did couldn't stand the sight of it. The best part? Matsuzaka blames his catcher, however obliquely, for the snail's pace:
"I was told yesterday that Kottaras would be catching me today, so I was prepared. Before the game we talked a little bit about pitch selection and went over what we were going do in the game. But I think sometimes you need a lot of experience to see how you're going to pitch in certain situations to certain hitters. There were cases out there today that our signs didn't match up all the time, or our timing didn't match up, and all that comes from experience. I think I needed to take more of a leadership role out there, with respect to working with Kottaras today."
Anyone familiar with the passive-aggressiveness of the business world can see through the superficial self-effacement there and realize that Dice-K is essentially saying that his rookie catcher doesn't have his crap together.
Which is hilarious, because it's not as if these turgidly-paced, inefficient starts are anything new for the guy. Twenty-three of his last 33 games he has started -- which takes him to the beginning of 2008 -- have exceeded three hours, many by quite a lot. Never in that time has a Dice-K game lasted two and a half hours or less. I'll grant him that some of the wild pitches were a function of having an unfamiliar catcher back there, but to suggest that the deliberate pace of last night's start had something to do with George Kottaras is rich indeed. Dude's slow. That's all there is to it.