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Yu Darvish lives up to the hype

Apr 25, 2012, 9:13 AM EDT

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers Getty Images

When I saw Yu Darvish make his debut in spring training last month I watched a guy who pounded the zone and showed a good 4-5 pitches with insane movement.  In his first couple of regular season starts, however, he seemed tentative and nibbling and an altogether different guy.

That changed in a major way against the Yankees last night.

Showing off his full array of stuff and, more importantly, throwing strike after strike, Darvish baffled the Yankees, throwing eight and a third scoreless innings and striking out ten. At least one future Hall of Famer was impressed. Here’s Jeter on Darvish:

“He has a lot of different pitches. We really didn’t know what to expect,” Jeter said. “He had the fastball, two-seamer, cutter, four-seamer, curveball, slider, change-up — he’s got pretty much everything.”

Some believe he had something else working in there too. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus — who has been watching Darvish since before he even faced a batter in spring training — is convinced that he threw a “shutto” pitch, or a reverse slider last night, which the announcers mistook for his four-seam fastball.

Whatever he’s throwing, it’s filthy. And what he did to the Yankees last night was practically obscene.

  1. billymc75 - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Sorry Red Sox fans

    • marshmallowsnake - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      Why? They did not go after him.

      • angrycorgi - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        Maybe he was apologizing for how terrible the Red Sox are…in general, kinda off-topic like…

  2. Kevin S. - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Big ass tip of the hat to Darvish for what he did to the Yanks’ lineup last night. Completely overshadowed Kuroda, who, given the venue and opponent, pitched pretty damn well in his own right.

    • fordman84 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      This. Kuroda pretty much shut down the Rangers mighty offense as well. But, it wasn’t as impressive as the Yu outing. That was a heck of a matchup and I loved watching every pitch.

  3. mybrunoblog - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Darkish was by good last night. This guy can really pitch. Very impressive. On the downside Japanese pitchers who come over to MLB have a history of breaking down (Nomo, Dice K, Irabu, Yoshi). He won’t make it through his contract.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      Darvish is half-Iranian. He also has a much bigger build than your typical Japanese pitcher. Physically, he should hold up better.

      • natstowngreg - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        True, though we don’t have much information on the performance of Iranian pitchers in MLB.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      MLB pitchers have a habit of breaking down.

  4. shaggylocks - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Why do we always think Japanese pitchers have some secret magical pitch up their sleeve?

    • cerowb - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      THANK YOU! Since he’s from Japan, it was a magic “shutto”. If he was from Texas, it’s just a four-seam fastball.

      • georgia - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:30 AM

        I agree, but if he keeps pitching like that, he can call his slider his curveball and his curveball a sushi roll for all I care. Also, that sounded a little racist, but I was born in Asia.

      • Gobias Industries - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        “I was born in Asia.” Oh, well then by all means..

      • georgia - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        Haha. Wait, I’ll add that I’m Korean too…not just some white or other person making a semi-racist comment.

      • georgia - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        I know that Darvish is Japanese, but it’s basically the same thing.

        You know, ignoring cultural, ethnic, and other differences.

    • unlost1 - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      because of Kung Fu mystique

  5. plummer2512 - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    “I’ve got another pitch. You get a piece of it, I’ll let you name it.” – Darvish to the Yankees last night…

  6. illadelphiasphinest - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Didnt know someon could “live up to the hype” after only three or four starts in april. Maybe you should hold off on that statement till September and October come around.

    • bblair917 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      I agree completely. The Yanks have never faced him before. They typically don’t do well against pitchers they have no ABs against. Let’s see what happens the next time around, and as we get further into the season.

      • pw38 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM

        While I agree that seeing the opponent multiple times gives you at least a better understanding of their stuff this is a weak excuse. Just admit he pitched a good game and they couldn’t hit him. It’s not like he’s doing something other good pitchers aren’t doing. Are you telling me they’ve never faced a pitcher that has movement on his fastball? Adjust, you’re major league players you’ve done this before. Yu just dominated them last night, plain and simple. No excuses.

      • bblair917 - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        It’s not an excuse at all. He pitched well. Having watched the Yankees face pitchers for the first time, and struggle consistently against each, I think there’s a representable trend there, that’s all. I also think the results will be different next time they face him.

  7. hushbrother - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    And the Rangers look like a potential 100-win team.

  8. yankeesfanlen - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Arguably the two top offensive teams in a 2-0 ballgame. Both pitchers were at top form, which left the game boring to me. Yanks stranding bases loaded didn’t help the mood.

  9. deerange - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    With his arsenal, he will dominate most teams when he has his good command, not just the Yankees, and not just the first time he faces a team. Teams will get to know him, but he will know THEM as well, and with command of his weapons, forget about it. Great pitching stops great hitting, and with an 8 pitch arsenal of plus pitches, he is going to be a huge force in the Ranger rotation, the true ACE they have been lacking. With Holland, Harrison, and Feliz, who all have ace-type stuff, this rotation can be every good as the Rays and Phillies, and probably better by next year IMO.

  10. angrycorgi - Apr 25, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Striking out the biggest moron in baseball (Nick Swisher) using three practically-identical curve balls, back-to-back-to-back was my favorite part of the game. I rewound that on my app 4 times, until I finally stopped laughing and my tears dried up. Swisher never even touched the baseball in that at-bat.

    He was tossing an absolutely filthy curveball last night.

  11. angrycorgi - Apr 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    CJ Wilson,

    This is why we couldn’t care less if you rolled out to Cali (that and you are a d-bag). You never made people look this ridiculous and you relied on your weak fastball too often…which would regularly get lifted out of the park.

    -Rangers Fans

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