“The Steal.”


     You have to give it up to Hideki Okajima, as he just continues to get the job done.  I thought that he would come back to earth this season, and he very well might.  His ERA will not be 0.71 at the end of the season, I know that for sure.  But he may be one of the top relievers in the game once again, something I wasn’t so sure could happen, AGAIN.  I felt that he would be effective, definitely in the top half as far as relievers go.  But I didn’t know that he would be THIS good once again, and he hasn’t shown that he will be reverting back to his “Japan form” anytime soon.  One thing on that though: if I have my facts straight, Okajima began using his forkball/changeup/whatever you want to call it once he arrived in the US, so naturally adding such a great pitch to one’s repertoire would result in much greater results.

     So far in this young season, Okajima has actually posted a slightly better K/9 then he did last season.  Now while Okajima was at his best, before the fatigue set in, he was better than he was now, in my opinion.  The league was adjusting to him, rather than him adjusting to the league (See Dice-K for the opposite).  My only worry is that I have seen a few instances of concern, some being in the second half of last season, and one being against the Angels this season, where they just seem to hit the ball really hard off of him.  I don’t know if they were just guessing right, or if his location was off.  But that does lead me to believe that he won’t end up being quite as good as he was during his very good 2007, even though his numbers are looking quite nice right now. 



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