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(Some of) Matsui's Road Splits

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Yikes. Looks like this Matsui thing is going to happen.

My immediate reaction when I heard about it (and I heard about it later than most) was disdain.

Grand slam in the playoffs notwithstanding, Kaz Matsui just doesn't seem like a dynamic high OPS player, even by the lowered standards at second. He hit four home runs in '07, and 24 doubles. Chris Burke hit 6 homers and 19 doubles in fewer at bats in '07. For that, and I've said it before, give the job to the eternally abused, yet undeniably cheap, Chris Burke.

But now that the deal is well-nigh down, I'm trying to find some silver lining here, and I'm finding it in the words of those who point to Matsui's .249 road average, and his .333 road slugging. This is sort of back to the Matt Holliday/David Wright MVP thing again: Coors Field remains a good hitter's park, but no better than, say, Fenway. If a hitter does well at Coors, there's no reason a priori to toss those numbers out the window.

And besides, as I found out while running through some of MLB.com's rather excellent double situational splits, Matsui had more than a few situations in 2007 where he actually kicked some ass away from Coors.

Matsui's Away Splits in 2007
2x Split G AVG OBP SLG OPS
Overall 55 .249 .304 .333 .637
Pre All-Star 25 .280 .321 .400 .721
  March/ April   7 .370 .393 .519 .926
  June 12 .288 .351 .404 .755
August 13 .346 .414 .442 .856
Leading Off 41 .357 .419 .446 .865
No Outs 47 .365 .385 .308 .693
Close/Late 16 .381 .381 .571 .952

The truth of the matter may be simply that our much-maligned Kazuo is, rather than a road-hog, just streaky, and prone to horrific slumps. He hit .219 overall in May, and the road component was .094. And while .219 over any significant stretch is gonna drag things down, .094 will do so stronger, faster, harder.

I don't know if this is going to make anybody feel any better, but at least with a slump, you can do what Colorado did: sit him. As we saw with Bidge last year, it's hard to implement a home and road platoon.

And while I'm sure that Matsui was every bit as bad with New York as their boorish fans suggest, I also have no problem with the idea that somebody might really turn their career around once they leave the Big Apple. Happens all the time, right?

So cheer up, everybody! It might not be that bad!