One of the reasons Daisuke Matsuzaka has failed to pitch deep into games since joining the Red Sox is that he walks so many hitters. While he has pitched rather effectively in his first MLB season, Yu Darvish has had a similar issue. According to Bobby Valentine, that isn’t a coincidence.
Valentine recently said that Japanese pitchers strive to get to a 3-2 count, as any pitch when there is a full count is considered the “pitch of reckoning.” While he says this is the way the rule book literally lays the game out, I find it hard to believe that any pitcher who understands the rules of baseball would rather get himself into a full count than get ahead of a hitter 0-2. The concept of the “payoff pitch” is exciting in the MLB, but it’s far more difficult for a hitter to be behind in the count. Then again, Valentine did spend a lot of time in Japan. He would know better than I would.
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