‘Dice-K’ played for the Saitama Seibu Lions, but only faced one hitter during the season.
During his last game, last week, Ichiro Suzuki surprised him on the field with flowers in a classy move, honoring the former World Series (2007) and World Baseball Classic champion (2006 and 2009) in his last day on the mound.
Ichiro surprised Daisuke Matsuzaka at his retirement ceremony last night. Incredible moment. pic.twitter.com/tV2SsMzQR8
— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) December 4, 2021
The 41-year-old Matsuzaka retired with a 4.45 MLB ERA, in 132 starts and 158 total games.
Here are his best three seasons at the MLB level.
During the 2014 campaign, Matsuzaka fulfilled a variety of roles: he started nine games and relieved in 25 for the New York Mets.
Overall, he covered 83.1 innings and had a solid 3.89 ERA.
He handed out too many walks, up to 5.40 per nine frames, which was the reason his WHIP finished at a somewhat inflated 1.34.
Matsuzaka, as usual, was tough to hit, though, so he was able to limit the damage for the most part.
That 2014 season would be the last one he spent in MLB.
He left a good impression, however, striking out 8.42 hitters per nine innings and limiting home runs (0.65 per nine innings).
The 2007 season was the first one Matsuzaka spent in the United States, with the Boston Red Sox.
It was an impressive debut campaign for the accomplished Japanese import even though his 4.40 ERA wasn’t the lowest.
He achieved a 15-12 record and covered 204.2 innings, striking out 201 hitters (8.84 per nine frames, back when the league average was much lower than that).
That year, he was able to keep the walks in check at 3.52 per nine innings.
In 2007, Matsuzaka achieved the highest Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, of his career, with 2.9.
He also made a career-high 32 starts and was a workhorse for the Red Sox, as they won their second World Series title in a span of four years.
In many aspects, the 2008 season was much better for Matsuzaka, at least compared to his good 2007.
In 2008, he earned a win-loss record of 18-3 in 29 starts, with a career-best 2.90 ERA.
It was an impressive display of bat-missing ability once again, as he struck out 154 batters in 167.2 frames.
That year, Matsuzaka suffered with walks, as he handed out 5.05 per nine innings.
As previously stated, he kept striking batters out, though, at 8.27 per nine frames, and he also limited home runs to 0.64 per nine.
In terms of WAR, Matsuzaka’s 2008 mark was only a hair lower than his 2007 total at 2.8 but he did it by throwing significantly fewer innings.
By both ERA and Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP, a pitching metric that doesn’t considers balls in play and prioritizes things the hurler can control, like walks, strikeouts, and home runs), 2008 was the best year of Dice-K’s career.
He had a 4.03 FIP that year.
— Firesyn (@Firesyn1) August 11, 2021
Overall, Matsuzaka’s career was much better in Japan than in the United States, but he had some fine seasons in MLB.