First, the good: Yu Darvish on Saturday gave up just two runs against the Twins. Now, the rest: he was unable to make it out of the sixth, and in 5.2 innings of work he allowed 14 baserunners.
So while Darvish's second major-league start certainly wasn't a disaster, his command was clearly lacking. On the upside, he increased his strike percentage from 53.6% in his debut against the Mariners to 58.8% against the Twins on Saturday. (Both figures, however, are worse than the AL-wide strike percentage of 63% thus far in 2012.) But that's about it for positive takeaways.
Once again, Darvish on Saturday leaned heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider (image courtesy of Brooks Baseball):
Good velocity and good movement for the most part, but it's worth noting that that Darvish induced just six swinging strikes on the day, which makes for a swinging-strike percentage of just 5.9 versus an AL 2012 average of 16%.
Darvish did whiff four on the day, but the lack of swinging strikes raises concerns that hitters will be able to adjust upon subsequent looks at Darvish and his repertoire. That is, when opposing hitters are swinging, they're not getting fooled too often. All that late movement means Darvish will always get his share of called strikes, but what will bode better for the future is if hitters start pulling the trigger and missing more often.
As with all early-season or single-game data, sample-size caveats apply, and Darvish remains a very promising hurler. So far, though, he's yet to live up to the press clippings.
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