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Yu Darvish has an Achilles heel

Mar 20, 2012, 8:20 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v San Diego Padres Getty Images

You Darvish had a pretty good outing yesterday. Four innings, four strikeouts. He walked four too, but he worked around them well enough. And he was throwing gas, hitting 96 on the gun.

And Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf noticed something in Darvish’s game that had a lot to do with the gun:

“The one thing I did notice,” Wolf said, smiling, “is that he may have been the quickest radar-checker I have ever seen in my life. I thought a couple of times he was going to drop the ball [from the catcher] because he was looking back to see how hard he threw. “

Hear that Anaheim? When Darvish comes to town, ratchet your gun readings down. It’ll frustrate him if he thinks he’s only throwing 91 or something, and take him off his game.

  1. planck16 - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Randy Wolf would do the same thing if he could touch 96. Ol’ Wolfie is probably the second slowest to turn around to see the radar gun behind Jaime Moyer. I wouldn’t be turning around in excitment to be seeing 84, 83, 86, 78.

    • cktai - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      You wouldn’t? I know I would.

  2. justinreds - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Its ok now. If he starts doing that in the regular season I might be worried.

    • Cris E - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      If he does keep it up some park should start randomly tossing in +5 and -5 mph tweaks. That’d really get in his head. (Is there a rule about this sort of thing once the season starts?)

  3. Jonny 5 - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    I picked him for my fantasy team, I hope he does well.

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Tough crowd Jonny.

      • Jonny 5 - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        I wasn’t aware, is it a faux pas to talk about my fantasy draft on a baseball blog? Or is it wishing he does well because he’s on my team? Huh?

      • cur68 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:00 PM

        That was me under multiple aliases logging in and thumbing you down. I wanted Darvish. And Bautista. FC’s just lucky I can only summon enough strength for one set of thumbs otherwise I’d have just CANED him, too.

    • Ben - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Yeah, it’s a faux pas. It’s the NGASAYFT (no one gives a shit about your fantasy team) rule. It’s pretty prevalent across the internet, but seems particularly enforced here and at fangraphs.

      • Jonny 5 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        Ahhh, I see. That SPFSIYAMBW (sounds pretty f&^%$ing stupid if you ask me but whatever).

      • Ben - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

        Yeah, it’s unfortunate you, you don’t seem like the type that necessitated the creation of the rule.

      • Jonny 5 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Yeah, I think that was my first time actually. These unwritten rules… You’d think I stepped on a pitchers mound or something. 😉

  4. Detroit Michael - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Joel Zumaya, when he was a rookie, used to check is (then) recordsetting radar gun readings all the time. It does give the casual fan the sense that the pitcher isn’t concentrating on the task at hand.

    • paperlions - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      Because he’s not, the pitcher should always be worried about what is in front of him, executing pitches, and getting outs. This type of thing is especially odd for a starter to worry about.

    • professor59 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      When Billy Wagner came to the Phillies, the fans would cheer when he hit 100 and “awww” when he didn’t. Almost as if it was more important than getting the out. I am not proud of them for that. But since Citizens Bank Park opened, we have a lot more “casual” fans than we used to.

  5. bsbiz - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Sing, Goddess, of the radar-checking of Farsad’s son Yu,
    The accursed curiosity that brought great suffering to the Arlingtonians,
    Hurled in their multitudes to the house of Ryan strong souls
    Of fans…

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Most folks just quote Homer Simpson :)

      • Max Power - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        Who does that?

      • stex52 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:58 PM


  6. frankvzappa - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Maybe the media is making susceptible pitchers self-conscious after jumping all over anyone who is down a few miles per hour during spring training.

  7. randomdigits - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    I brought up the issue of pitch counts after his first start and was roundly beat down by other posters.

    I see he walked 4 yesterday. Is it getting late enough into spring training yet that the topic can be brought up?

  8. randygnyc - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Considering his velocity has been alarmingly down in his previous starts, and sports writers everywhere have noticed and written about it, I’ll give him a pass for looking. Can’t blame him.

    Btw, the smaller the ball, the easier it is to control and throw harder. The larger ball might be responsible.

  9. contraryguy - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Too bad the Rangers don’t play the Reds in interleague this year; then Yu could watch Aroldis Chapman pitch and see plenty of 100s.

  10. firstandonlywarning - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Player gathers information during the game, and some see this as a flaw?

    Nice assumptions of what is going on in his head

  11. gloccamorra - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I find it shocking, shocking that anyone would think the radar readings in any ballpark are anything but 100% accurate, that a team would mess with them for an edge over opponents.

    Besides, wouldn’t it be better to pump up the numbers so the pitcher doesn’t try as hard?

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