According to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the New York Mets outrighted relief pitcher John Lannan to Triple-A and in a corresponding move, purchased the contract of Daisuke Matsuzaka. The right-handed pitcher made two starts with Triple-A Las Vegas and in 12 innings of work, compiled a 2.25 ERA and 2.70 FIP.
Matsuzaka, age 33, spent the 2013 season with the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A squad and New York Mets. He made seven starts with the Mets at the end of the year and pitched exceptionally well. In 38 and 2/3 innings, he pitched to the tune of a 4.42 ERA and 4.32 FIP.
For the first time in his major-league tenure, he played with a club not named the Boston Red Sox. He spent six years with the club and had his share of ups and downs. His first two seasons were undeniably his best and gradually declined from there. Taking a glance at Pitch F/X, it appears the usage of his slider made a huge impact on how well he performed.
Below are statistics comparing the amount of sliders thrown to how he pitched:
2007: 328 sliders thrown (.583 opponent OPS) | 4.40 ERA and 4.23 FIP
2008: 638 sliders thrown (.535 opponent OPS) | 2.90 ERA and 4.03 FIP
2009: 246 sliders thrown (.728 opponent OPS) | 5.76 ERA and 5.09 FIP
2010: 247 sliders thrown (.701 opponent OPS) | 4.69 ERA and 4.05 FIP
2011: 23 sliders thrown (.750 opponent OPS) | 5.30 ERA and 4.95 FIP
2012: 28 sliders thrown (1.881 opponent OPS) | 8.28 ERA and 5.94 FIP
2013: 30 sliders thrown (.643 opponent OPS) | 4.42 ERA and 4.32 FIP
The correlation is evident, and when he threw the put-away breaking ball, he was much more effective. The slider may be crucial to his potency out of the bullpen with the Mets.