Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci checks in today with the latest on the gyroball, the mythical pitch that Daisuke Matsuzaka has either mastered, toyed with, or has never thrown at all, depending on who you ask and when.
So does he throw it or not? We’ll let Verducci answer that in this excerpt …
Here’s the truth: Matsuzaka’s changeup is so wicked, so unlike most every changeup anyone has seen, that people don’t know what to make of it. Matsuzaka has told me he does not throw the gyroball. Every Red Sox staff member and official I’ve talked with said he does not throw it.
“What the Marlins thought was the gyro was the changeup,” one of the Boston sources said. “That’s what people think is the gyro. It’s his best pitch.”
Said another Red Sox insider, “Japan is famous for copious scouting reports. If you throw a pitch once in your life the scout will include it in the report. Dice-K enjoys letting people think he throws it. There’s no harm in it. Why not just give them one more thing to think about?”
Matsuzaka throws his changeup with a screwball action to it, including a bigger break than most such offspeed pitches. He also throws a harder two-seamer pitch with some sinking action and a slight left-to-right break — the shuuto, which essentially is Japan’s improved version of that two-seam fastball Greg Maddux starts at the hip of left-handed hitters and runs back over the inside corner.