Blog Entry

Yu the man in Rangers debut

Posted on: March 7, 2012 7:06 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 7:17 pm
 
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Quick glimpse, small sample. Two innings, first impression:

Yu Darvish's Japanese legacy and World Baseball Classic dominance looked for one day Wednesday like they will translate beautifully into the major leagues.

Or, if you prefer, you could take it beyond one spring outing.

"They're going back to the postseason," Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson said of a Rangers team with Darvish in their rotation. "That's a no-brainer."

Darvish surrendered two hits -- doubles to Hudson and Will Venable -- no runs and whiffed three Padres in Texas' 6-3 Cactus League win on a cold, windy Arizona afternoon.

He rose to the occasion when needed, handcuffing the Padres to 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. He backed off when the situation suggested, getting Carlos Quentin to swing out of his spikes with a 79 m.p.h. curve to end the first.

He threw first-pitch strikes to seven of eight batters faced, including each of the first six major league hitters he saw. He got nine swing-and-misses, and threw 26 strikes and just 10 balls.

He does not dawdle like Daisuke Matsuzaka, and he does not nibble like C.J. Wilson. He comes right at hitters, and he's got the stuff to do it.

"He's got some deception and he's got some velocity," Texas' Michael Young said. "If he commands the heater, he's going to get outs."

Scouts said he threw six different pitches: Two variations of his fastball, two types of curveballs, a slider and a change-up. Texas catcher Yorvit Torrealba says he throws seven pitches. In a game in which everything plays off of the fastball and changing speeds, though, who really can count?

"At one point, I was thinking about taking my glove off and using two hands" to flash signals while calling pitches, Torrealba joked.

With a fastball that hit 95 and an even slower curve than the one Quentin saw, clocked at 67 m.p.h. to Will Venable, Darvish possesses an exceptional ability to keep hitters off-balance. His fastball ranged from 92 to 95 m.p.h.

Though Hudson yanked a double between Young and second baseman Ian Kinsler in the first, it was Venable's booming double in the second that was the attention-getter. Venable blasted a 2 and 2 fastball some 420 feet off of the batter's eye in dead center.

Not only was it the hardest-hit ball against Darvish, the moment also later provided some pretty good insight into just how stubborn, determined and proud Darvish is.

"The dry air in Arizona and the wind blowing out carried the ball pretty far," Darvish said through an interpreter. "To me, it didn't seem that it was hit very squarely."

To which, a couple of Padres called bull. Mark Kotsay chortled that during his 16 years in the majors, he hasn't seen a ball blasted 400-and-some feet high off of a "50-foot wall" that wasn't exactly, um, smoked.

"Maybe his perception of reality isn't as right on as ... I don't know," Venable said. "No comment."

Translation: Yes, Venable thought, he not only squared that fastball up, he CRUSHED it.

So file that one away. If Darvish is as dismissive of other hitters who take a bite out of him as he was of Venable, well, some awfully entertaining rivalries are about to be born. Or, a bit of a humbling process is about to begin.

Mostly, Darvish said, he was happy to get his first Cactus League start out of the way. He said his teammates teased him a little about being nervous before the game, and "I told them, no, I'm not." He was very happy with the way his secondary pitches were working, though he acknowledged that throwing into the teeth of a strong wind aids the movement of his pitches.

He opened some eyes with two impressive defensive plays, showing some quickness while covering first base on one play and leaping high to grab a high chopper up the middle. He threw home, and Torrealba tagged the runner coming in from third.

Defense-loving Texas manager Ron Washington said those plays were the most impressive things he saw the 6-5 Darvish do.

"That's a big Asian dude," Hudson said. "What's that guy who played basketball for the Rockets? Yao Ming? I looked at him and thought, that dude is big. ...

"Watching him on TV I thought, he's big. Then when I saw him, I thought he's not as big as I thought. Then I got to the plate and I thought, damn."

Hudson had no qualms about admitting his excitement to face Darvish. He said he even had trouble sleeping Tuesday night.

Interestingly, the Rangers picked up on Hudson's eagerness.

"I thought Hudson grinded out his at-bat," pitching coach Mike Maddux said of Hudson's first-inning double. "It looked like one of those emotional at-bats where it's like, 'I'm going to show this guy.'"

Bingo.

One other impression: Darvish worked both innings entirely from the stretch, not the wind-up. Even with nobody on base. He works both ways randomly, he said.

Maddux said he was given two DVDs, one from a game last July in which Darvish worked from the stretch, another from a game last October in which he worked entirely from the windup.

"The biggest pitches you make come from the stretch," Maddux said. "If you want to hone that craft, by all means, I'm all for it."

Hone it Darvish did, as his homeland studied through a microscope. Four different networks beamed Darvish's two innings back to Japan live, according to Rangers' PR guru John Blake. ESPN News showed the first four hitters live. Some 150 media members packed the press box in what had to be some sort of Cactus League record.

Yeah, you could see why Darvish and the Rangers were just as happy to get this one behind them.

As the Padres' Hudson said, that's a whole lot on the back of a 25-year-old who is moving to a new country to change jobs, no matter how talented he is. First time you surrender a home run, everyone wants to know what happened. First time you get knocked out of the box after three innings, everyone demands explanations.

Of course, that all comes with $111.7 million -- the $60 mil the Rangers are paying Darvish, and the $51.7 mil posting fee.

"Ichiro kind of set the bar high getting 900 hits a year," Hudson said. "[Darvish] has got to go win a Cy Young."



Comments

Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:30 pm
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

Nope...2 innings of spring training doesn't mean a thing.  Nope doing it against the PAdres doesn't mean a thing either..LMAO!!!! 

As a Rangers fan I know this was planned by Wash anyway...let his first outing be against the "high powered" Padres.  I can't wait to see how things go against Pujols and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County 3rd street. 



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:41 pm
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

Yu Darvish + 2 innings of scoreless of spring traingin baseball = the real deal and so amazing and awesome.
Roy Halladay + 2 innings of spring training baseball, yeilding 1 run = peice of garbage, not worthy of recognition.
I see the connection. Makes me feel like i am a minority, having common sense.



Since: Sep 23, 2011
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

I think he is a HUGE step up over CJ Wilson. As a Mariners fan, I was hoping to ad done more japanese import to the mix, but pitching isn't our weakness.



Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:40 am
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

Two innings in a spring training game.  Tell Cooperstown to start working on the bust.



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:25 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jun 16, 2007
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:51 am
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

All of these spring training articles are pointless. Two innings in one meaningless game don't matter.



Since: Dec 17, 2011
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:08 am
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

I must admit, I did not bother reading this article. All I saw was the headline saying the real deal. Hello, first preseason start 2 innings in duration and you saying the guy is the real deal? Lay off the weed writer.



Since: Mar 1, 2012
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:46 pm
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

Pitching 2 innings in a Spring Training game doesn't prove someone that they are the "real deal".



Since: Dec 11, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2012 8:47 pm
 

Yu the man in Rangers debut

Yu looked like he was just having fun out there and turned it up when he needed/ wanted to. The first double was just a hustle play but that second one was just smashed!!! Its not like he is going to pitch a no hitter or not give up any runs!!! He is still human after all!!! But I am a huge Rangers fan and I am behind these guys and Yu!!!! Go Rangers!!!! Lets make it 3 years straight to the series but this time with the win baby!!!!!



Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 8:35 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator



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