Yanks have no answer for Darvish, get shutout by Rangers

Yanks will remain on rotation, Garcia starts Saturday
The importance of tonight's start for Phil Hughes

The seventh matchup of Japanese-born starting pitchers in MLB history certainly made the fans overseas happy, but not the Yankees. The Rangers took Tuesday night’s game 2-0.

(REUTERS/Mike Stone)

As Advertised

So apparently all it took for Yu Darvish to break out in the States was a matchup against the best offense in baseball in his bandbox home ballpark. Go figure. The latest and greatest Japanese import befuddled the Yankees for 8.1 innings, striking out ten batters while walking just two after posting an ugly 14/13 K/BB ratio in his first three starts. Darvish retired 16 of 19 before Nick Swisher ended his night with an opposite field single in the ninth, one of seven hits they mustered off the right-hander.

Most Japanese-born pitchers cover over with the promise of six-pitch repertoires and command so fine that it makes wolverines purr, but Darvish actually lived up the billing. He threw his 91-97 mph fastball to both sides of the plate and up and down in the zone, mixing in a wide array of offspeed pitches that included a sharp power slider, some kind of splitter/changeup, and big slow get-me-over curveball. Twenty-two of the 25 outs he recorded came on the infield. After about the fourth inning, the Yankees no had chance. Nothing you can do other than tip your cap, Darvish was on point.

(REUTERS/Mike Stone)

Escape From Los Angeles

You’ll have to forgive Hiroki Kuroda if he had flashbacks to the last four years of his career and thought he was pitching for the Dodgers again. He pitched well against the best non-Yankees lineup in baseball but didn’t get a lick of run support and walked off the mound in the seventh inning in line for the loss. Two runs on five hits and two walks across 6.2 innings? I’ll take that every five days thank you very much, and so will the Yankees.

Kuroda’s biggest mistake of the night wasn’t the leadoff homer he allowed to Ian Kinsler, but the walk to Elvis Andrus in the third inning. There were two outs in the inning and he was ahead in the count 0-2, but he followed with four straight balls. Andrus then stole second and scored on Josh Hamilton’s single. Andrus came into the game with a .074 ISO (!) in his career, you gotta put that guy away with two strikes. Can’t be walkin’ guys like that.

Like Darvish, Kuroda broke out everything plus the kitchen sink while on the mound, throwing sinkers and four-seamers, curveballs and slider, splitters and probably another pitch or two still in need of a name. Hiroki actually generated more swings and miss (17) than his counterpart counterpart (16), and 18 of his 20 outs came on the infield. It sucks he had to get a loss, but Kuroda pitched exceptionally well and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

Their Best Shot

Word, Curtis. Word. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

As great as Darvish was, the Yankees definitely had a chance to bust things open early. Eric Chavez (single to right), Russell Martin (walk), and Derek Jeter (push bunt single) all reached base to open the third inning, but Curtis Granderson got caught looking at an outside curveball that may or may not have been in the zone for strike three before Alex Rodriguez grounded into an inning-ending double play. That was, by far, their best chance to not only score runs, but knock Darvish off his game early. Alas.

Leftovers

Jeter’s bunt single extended his hit streak to 14 games, though he also doubled down the left field line later in the game. His batting line now sits at .416/.439/.649 on the young season. Robinson Cano also had two hits — a single and a double into the left-center field gap — for his second two-hit game of the series. Martin was the only other Yankees to reach base twice thanks to his single and walk.

We say this pretty much every day, but big ups to the bullpen for  more scoreless relief. This time it was Clay Rapada (one out), Cory Wade (two outs), and Boone Logan (one out) who did the job without allowing a baserunner. Kuroda and the bullpen retired 13 of the final 15 Rangers to come to the plate.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some more stats, and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

Phil Hughes gets the ball in the rubber game of this three-game set on Wednesday night and will be opposed by Scott Feldman. That one has reverse lock written all over it; you’re expecting a 13-11 score but will get 2-1 instead. You watch.

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Yanks will remain on rotation, Garcia starts Saturday
The importance of tonight's start for Phil Hughes
  • Yankee Clipper

    My only question is why we didnt buy Darvish, and we bring kuroda for 10 and Freddy Garcia for 10.4? The posting bid did not count for the luxury tax, so can anyone explain this to me?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      For the exact same reasons we posted in December.

    • 28 this year

      Well luxury tax isn’t the only thing. The posting bid is pretty ridiculous and probably something the Yankees didn’t feel was worth the risk. I mean 50+ million to talk to a guy who may or may not translated to the MLB is a lot to give up. And also, this one start doesn’t mean it was a bad move. Wait a few years before making a decision. You might get another Dice-K. It takes time for the league to adjust. Wait three or four years before really analyzing this.

      • jim p

        For one thing, he sure hasn’t been throwing 110-120 pitches every five days yet in his career. Nor in Texas summer. Not to say he isn’t going to turn out exceptional. But if I remember, DiceK started out pretty outstanding. Have to wait a year or three to know.

        btw, I didn’t really know the Texas staff back in 2009? 2010? when Ryan threw away the pitch count. Have we had long enough to know what effect that had on those pitchers?

    • CP

      $120M is still grater than $14M. By a lot.

      • Rookie

        At the price the Rangers paid, I estimate that Darvish would have cost us the equivalent of around $19 million per year — with a little over half of it not being subject to the luxury tax.

        I understand CC will cost us $24.4 million per year — with ALL of it subject to the luxury tax.

        Speaking very roughly, assuming a 40@ luxury tax in 2012 and 2013 and a 25% luxury tax in 2016 and 2017, I figure that means CC will cost us nearly $30 million per year including tax, whereas Darvish would have cost us about $21 million per year including tax (again at the price the Rangers paid).

        As a Yankee fan, I can only hope that CC will be at least 42% better over the remaining term of their respective contracts.

        • Needed Pitching

          It seems you are oversimplifying the situation quite a bit
          It’s not like the Yankees directly chose CC @24.4M/year over Darvish over his cost
          The Yankees would have been taking an enormous risk in trying to replace CC with Darvish – partially because they would be replacing a proven ace with a pitcher who has never thrown a MLB inning and would face significant adjustments going from Japan to US, but also because of the timeline.
          If they let CC opt out, it would be entirely possible CC would sign elsewhere in the time between when free agency started and when Darvish was posted, in which case the Yankees would have had to go into a blind posting process desperate to find an ace. Since they had no way of knowing what the winning bid would take, they may have felt forced to make an even larger bid to ensure winning the bid. They also then would have no leverage in negotiations with Darvish, and may have needed to pay more than Texas signed Darvish for to ensure they landed him.
          Directly comparing the two financial outlays isn’t really a fair comparison, since it doesn’t account for the risk the Yankees would be taking in winding up with neither pitcher, nor the possibility that Darvish’s cost to the Yankees would be higher than Texas’ if they landed him.

          It’s very possible (even likely) that CC won’t be 42% better (using your number) than Darvish over the next 6 years, but a large part of the price premium was to lessen risk. If the Yankees had the option of definitely knowing they could get Darvish at his cost to Texas, maybe they would have made a different choice (though I suspect not, as I think they wouldn’t want to entrust the top of their rotation’s future to a pitcher who had never thrown a MLB inning)

        • CC

          Carsten Charles Sabathia > Yu Darvish any way you spin it until proven otherwise. Jesus christ. The guy has made 3 starts.

          • jayd808

            Excellent point. The switch from once-a-week Japan pitching to once-every-four-days is huge. Throw in the Texas summer and I doubt any athlete can overcome those negatives. Granted Texas identified talent and paid for it, the Nolan Ryan management team impresses.

          • Rookie

            FOUR starts… I was responding to multiple posts implying that it made no sense to bid for Darvish because it took a lot of money to get him.

            As I’ve said repeatedly, I HOPE that CC>Darvish because we’re paying him like he’s more than 42% better — and like he’ll remain that way through his age 37 season.

      • mustang

        THIS!!!

      • blee

        to be fair.. Texas *only* spent about 58 million.. 51+ million for the posting fee.. and 5.5 million for darvish’ contract this year… which is… cheaper than kuroda.. and its peak at 10 million in the last 3 years of its contract..

        and the $58 million.. again would have been made back.. immediately.. as we saw w/ dice-k and matsui..

        Not to mention.. no other MLB team made more revenue than the Yankees did last year.. esp w/ the ridiculous amounts of money they make from YES

    • Plank

      The Mid Market Yankees can’t just go out and sign any player they want. The have a budget, not like the Marlins or Rangers.

      • Rookie

        Adjusting for the luxury tax, I figure we spent at least 42% more for CC than the Rangers paid for Darvish. We chose where to put our money. I hope it turns out that we chose wisely.

        The bad news is that it doesn’t look that way right now. The good news, I guess, is that we probably won’t really know for sure whether we chose wisely or not for several years yet.

        • jsbrendog

          seriously? you’re saying that the yankees chose cc over yu (so wrong in so many ways) and that it was the wrong decision as of right now?

          what the hell are you smoking?!

          • Mike HC

            hahah

            I guess the Yanks should have waited 3 years and passed up that championship we won so we could have had the chance to possibly outbid every other team in the league for Darvish.

            • Jeff Karstens, Male Model

              They’re talking about CC’s contract renewal, so the championship from 3 years ago really doesn’t factor…

              • Mike HC

                ah, no doubt. My bad. I guess I’m the one “smoking” something, ha.

                Sorry, Rook.

                I still would have went CC rather than hoping to outbid everyone for Darvish, but people can definitely disagree with that if they choose.

            • Rookie

              CC was a beast in 2009. There’s no way we would have won without him.

              Look at his record since — in the second half and postseason of 2010 and 2011. It doesn’t look like the same CC — at all. I’m hoping it’s just a function of small sample size and nothing more. But how many years does the pattern have to persist before it’s suggestive of something more?

              Hopefully, CC is a beast again in the second half of this year and dominates in the postseason and any such question(s) will be put to rest.

  • RetroRob

    Good game by Kuroda. He just needs to keep it going and stop alternating the good and bad starts.

  • Tom Q

    Obviously Kuroda’s results were the positive you take out of the game.

    Do we think Darvish just had his best-best stuff tonight, or was the Yankee approach off in some way? (Or related to the team’s “we sometimes can’t hit guys we’ve never seen before” issue) I have to say, hearing that he’s had trouble with control made me expect a very different sort of game — possibly with just as disheartening a result, but one that drove up his pitch count a lot sooner and offered a few more chances than we saw tonight.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      He threw 82 of 119 pitches for strikes. There was no count to be worked.

    • DT

      Darvish was on. I watched his other starts and he looked lost trying to find the plate and would just throw consecutive balls and rarely threw first pitch strikes. Today it looked more like he was bad in the japan days where he would pound the zone and use his breaking balls/off speed randomly to confuse hitters and keep them off balance.

      • DT

        *back in his japan days.

      • blee

        he just needs to find consistency here.. and seeing from his sub 2.00 ERA in Japan.. I’d say he might find it soon..

        • Strat

          He might. I wonder if this will re-set the thinking on Japanese pitchers. Let’s just say he’s not the prototypical Japanese pitcher and see if smarter minds are fooled into giving the next Igawa a big contract.

  • G

    I was really hoping the title of the recap would be “Yu Shook Me All Night Long.” Think of all the awful puns we aren’t making because he isn’t a Yankee. We’ve gotta take advantage of these days!

    Seriously, Darvish was fun to watch and I’ll take the loss. It certainly had something to do with the Yankees’ struggles against guys they haven’t seen, but he had good velocity and a pretty dazzling assortment of off-speed pitches. Hopefully they can solve him later on, but for today I’ll just be happy having watched him.

    Even if he somehow doesn’t throw a pitch this year, I am still glad we traded for Pineda instead of dumping 9 figures on him :D

    • blee

      lol.. really? I’m still a big supporter of the Pineda trade.. but if he doesnt throw a pitch for us this year (surgery).. then I’d be happier if we dumped 9 figures on him..

      and Darvish would have shut down the Yanks no matter how many times they would have seen him if he’s throwing his 93-96mph fastballs to both sides of the plate and locating his breaking pitches for strikes..

      • Rey22

        Even if Pineda doesn’t throw a pitch in 2012 we still have him for 4 more years. If he does well in a couple of them for his cheap salary it’s still better than 9 figures for Darvish.

        • blee

          I hope so too.. I was very high on Pineda.. but shoulders scare me.. a lot….

          I really really really hope he’s ok…

        • Hummingbird S.

          if he doesnt throw a pitch in 2012 because of shoulder surgery, chances are he will not provide much value at all in the next few years. Couple that with the (cheap) production lost from Jesus Montero and the production we could have gotten from Darvish and that trade (and decision to not go after Darvish) may really change the future of the franchise

        • Will

          Word. Not to mention that Kevin Maas (oops, I mean Montero) has an OPS lower than Derek Jeter’s current slugging pct.

          It was a good trade, now let’s hope Pineda’s injury is minor.

      • Rookie

        That’s the way it looks to me, blee. Unless they figure out a way to recognize what pitch he’s throwing because he somehow tips his pitches, I have to think it’s very hard to square up a pitch not knowing if it’s going to move a lot to the left, right, down, or stay straight — not to mention not knowing if it’s one of his two or three off-speed pitches.

        One ray of hope… According to Baseball-reference.com, Darvish has been mediocre to date against left handed hitters. Hopefully that continues and the Yankees hit him better the more they see him.

        • blee

          I hope so too.. I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot of Darvish in the playoffs… :-D Go Yanks!

    • LK

      I think the Pineda trade was a good move at the time, and it could still certainly turn out that way.

      At the same time, let’s not kid ourselves here – if he both misses the season and has a significant shoulder injury (which are much harder to fix than elbows), it’s likely going to be pretty poor move unless Campos can maintain beast mode all the way to the bigs.

      Darvish for 100M might end up being a pretty poor move, too, of course.

      Regardless, the news regarding Pineda tomorrow is pretty huge. Here’s hoping we hear there’s no structural damage.

    • Strat

      It was very interesting to watch… And in the AC/DC vein, may I offer “Lin-ject the Venom”?

      Too old a reference? Is it over?

  • hogsmog

    I would take a 2-1 loss tomorrow if it meant that Phil had a good game for once.

    • blee

      I thought Hughes’ last outing wasnt all that bad.. I’d take a 7-4 win.. if Hughes pitches well, but gives up 4 runs.. ;)

    • Tom

      I would too….

      And I felt the same way about today’s game. Yes a win is a win but I feel better about a 2-0 loss with Kuroda pitching well than I would have with a 10-8 win with Kuroda getting lit up.

      I think tonight shows his stuff plays just fine against a top notch AL lineup and if he’s commanding his pitches he’ll be fine. While he looked great against the Angels, I think the jury was still out as that is not exactly a top flight offense (or at least one that was doing well when he faced it).

      Hopefully Phil posts a good game as well (and ideally the Yankees get a W at the same time)

  • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    The Yankees are amazing and Yu is a HUGE mistake for the Rangers.
    Am I doing ok, guys?

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Perfect! Thanks for seeing things the “right” way! :-)

      In seriousness, we all have different opinions on this. We’d love the Yankees to buy all the best players and charge $5 for bleacher seats with the best seats in YSIII going for $25. Not gonna happen. They have a business to run, and we’ll also never fully understand the decisions they make on players. It is fun to speculate, however.

      Personally, I think it’s way to early to decide if Texas got a good deal with Darvish and made a poort rade for Pineda. I’m just hoping the decisions work out well for the Yankees over the next 4-5 years. Whatever happens with Darvish, happens. He pitched a great game last night. Lets see how he does over the next few seasons.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        and the Yankees made

        Fixed.

  • Rookie

    The jury’s still out on whether the Rangers’ bid/contract with Darvish will be smart or dumb and whether or not the Yankees should have been more aggressive — and I suppose it will be out for at least two or three more years, I think.

    But as of right now, on the available information, I hate how dumb we look and how smart the Rangers look so far on that score.

    • Plank

      I was a huge proponent of landing Darvish this offseason. I see no reason to not still high on him. I think it will be seen as a mistake for his entire career.

    • sfly6844

      Still alot of varibles for Darvish to overcome. I will like to see how he does around the all-star break after the league sees him a couple times and compiles a book on him, also how he handles the increase in innings pitched, Texas heat and deep lineups week after week. Doubt many teams questioned his physical ability per se, just his ability to maintain it and be consistent over the course of years his contract would command. Dice-k made the Red Sox look like geniuses too in the beginning.

    • DT

      Well before this game he was Dice-Kesque. He walked as much as he struck out. had some amazing luck to keep his ERA low and wasn’t impressive at all. He looked as if he had no clue where the strike zone was or where he pitches were going to go. He put it together this start and was amazing, but prior i wouldn’t say the rangers were looking smart to shell out so much money for a guy who has a 7.13 K/9 6.62 BB/9 fly ball tendencies and a 5+ xFIP. You can’t really judge based on this one game.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I went back and forth on Darvish all offseason and ended up at a very “screw it….go for it” place, but not really being sad when the Yanks didn’t sign him. I thought it was a lot of risk for the money.

      If it works out for Texas, great on them. He looked like a rock star when he was on last night. We’ll see if he keeps it up. I don’t know what else to say. If someone wants to carve “I MISS YU” in their arm, they can go do that.

  • jim p

    The people in Japan must be proud of the showing. The two best lineups in baseball held to a total of two runs.

  • Kevin

    Dice-K looked amazing at the start too and looked how that turned out.

    • Rookie

      Injury risk is always the caveat with pitchers. And of course, it’s more of a caveat with Japanese pitchers because of the less frequent appearances in Japan, the great sustained effort over here to handle the better hitters, etc.

      That said, I would think the fact that Darvish is so much bigger and stronger than Dice-K would make him significantly LESS of an injury risk.

      On the other hand, as I recall, it was Dice-K preparing for and pitching in the World Baseball Classic or whatever it’s called and thus having to prepare earlier/pitch before he was prepared that ultimately led to him becoming ineffective. And if Darvish intends to do the same thing, I would worry about the same thing happening notwithstanding the size/weight difference with Matsuzaka.

      But no decision is made in a vacuum. The Yankees chose to invest $24.4 million per year in CC for what I think amounts to six years — all of it subject to luxury tax. And I, for one, don’t think the injury risk associated with CC is less than the injury risk associated with Darvish.

      Bottom line: I don’t understand paying over 40% more (factoring in the luxury tax) for CC than Darvish. But the Yankees have access to more/better information than I ever will. So I’m sure that they know lots of stuff that I don’t know. But based on all of the available information, I was puzzled when they didn’t go after Darvish much more aggressively than they did and resigned/extended CC for much more money after tax. And I’m only becoming more puzzled as time goes by.

      Maybe the reason why the Yankees effectively chose to take a pass on Darvish will be revealed one day. I, for one, will be fascinated to learn their rationale – because based on all of the information that was publicly available to me, doing otherwise seemed like an absolute no-brainer.

      • David K.

        Yanks have made a lot stupid pitching moves of late, so I’m not surprised they didn’t make a significant bid for Darvish. It was also a no-brainer not to trade for Pineda. He of the one major league season and coming off a bad second half. We got damaged goods. Seattle was pretty clever to make the deal. As it stands right now, Montero will play all year for them, while Pineda will sit all year for us. And who knows about next year.

        • Kevin

          Luxury tax aside,I’m sure them getting burned by Igawa had a lot to do with it. And I’m sorry..he’s pitched what,three games so far?

          • Rookie

            Absolutely, Kevin. It’s only been four games — which I have tried to emphasize in my posts (and failed to do sufficiently in this one).

            I hope the decision wasn’t as simplistic as, “We’ve had bad experiences with Japanese pitchers and so has Boston.”

            None of those other pitchers had anything approaching the success of Darvish, and I don’t think any were remotely as big and strong.

            That said, the Yankee fan in me wants to believe that we made a very sophisticated decision with vastly superior information, experience, and judgement which will ultimately turn out to be correct.

            It’s just that, based on the information available to me, it shocked me at the time. And with each game I see him pitch (this is the third full game I’ve seen him pitch including one in spring training) the decision only shocks me more.

            What he did to the Yankees is exactly what my eyeballs told me he did to the Tigers in his start against Detroit — as I posted here. I can only assume that the Yankees would have seen him do the same thing many times in Japan.

            Combined with his otherworldly stats there, I can only assume we only passed because we thought (1) he was too much of an injury risk and/or (2) their young prospects would make him unnecessary.

            If it’s #1, I don’t understand the CC resigning/extension. If it’s #2, having seen his stuff with my own eyes, I can only hope we’re right — because he looks like he has a dazzling array of very high quality offerings that I don’t see us easily replacing from our farm system or replacing at anywhere near as cheaply (after the luxury tax) with a free agent.

            Speaking of which, if he’s the real deal, as my eyeballs and his stats suggest, and if he’s not too much of an injury risk (and that’s the $100+ million question) the fact that effectively less than half of his contract is luxury taxable has huge competitive implications to any team (like the Yankees) which expects to be bumping up against the luxury tax ceiling on a regular basis.

            But of COURSE the jury is still out. I just don’t like what the evidence to date — including his unprecedented success in Japan — suggests about our decision. And I hate to imagine looking at a smug Nolan Ryan for the next five years or longer.

            • TomH

              This all sounds about right to me, and I do expect to be having to endure the sight of Ryan’s smug mug for the next few years. Who really knows what went into the Yankees’ decision re Darvish? Speculation is all that’s avaiable to us, but I don’t believe that they relied on a formula-laden spread sheet that spat out a result signifying “Don’t buy Darvish.” This is probably not a risk-taking ownership. Why it’s not, is what remains unclear. It may have to endure some time in the wilderness, watching the successes of others (Texas & Detroit now, Toronto soon) before it is willing to run risks again.

              However, if they looked at Darvish and saw Igawa, they are noodle-heads, and there is some reason to think that where pitching and the development of pitching are concerned they are indeed noodle heads.

              • Rookie

                This is what I fear, TomH. It appeared to me that they were TOTAL noodle heads until the 12 months between the end of the 2010 season and the end of the 2011 season. And it seemed that they all of a sudden became geniuses or developed a Midas touch. (Colon, Garcia, Wade, etc.)

                I’m hoping that they HAVEN’T reverted to noodle heads. For me, seeing what CC and Darvish do over the next few seasons will be a large part of the answer for me whether they have or not.

                But again, I do share your fear that they are indeed noodle heads at times when it comes to starting pitching.

        • Rookie

          I’m not prepared to call the Montero & Noesi for Pineda and Campos trade a disaster yet. But I thought and think of the decisions as largely independent.

        • jsbrendog

          he. did. not. have. a bad. second. half.

          for fuck sake can the false narrative. his peripherals all remained the same.

          • Mike HC

            He did have a dip in velocity though and guys started to get more hits off him. And now he has a hurt shoulder.

            The trade has obviously not gone well thus far. Will it turn around in our favor in the future, maybe? I hope so.

            • Bo Knows

              He had a dip in velocity in his last start which took place 2 weeks after the Mariners initially shut him down. Outside of that ONE START Pineda’s Velocity was the same, his walk rate THE SAME, and his STRIKE OUT RATE WAS BETTER

              I’ll repeat this

              Velocity=same
              Walk%=same
              K%=SAME

              • David K.

                I love you stats jackasses, you’re so adorable. Pitching equals velocity, strikeouts and walks, huh? You guys crack me up.

                • Rookie

                  Agreed, David. Because sophisticated stats that I don’t pretend to understand say otherwise, the fact that batters averaged more than 100 points of OPS better against Pineda in the second half last year and his ERA was over 2 full runs higher is irrelevant — even when he never manages to regain his normal velocity in his first Spring Training with the Yankees and even after he’s shut down with a shoulder issue.

                  Talk about blind faith… I think the statheads are trying to be too clever by half — at least they are in the case of Pineda.

                  I’m sure that Jack Z., reassured by his sabermetrics group, had no injury concerns about Pineda whatsoever.

        • Mike HC

          Campos may end up the best player in the deal. Prospect trades end up being weird like that a lot where the guy you thought was secondary, turns into the most valuable piece.

          • Rookie

            If Campos turned out to be the best player in the deal, I wouldn’t find it surprising at all.

    • Plank

      You think Dice K struggling in his third year in the league will mean that the same thing will happen to Darvish?

      What similarities do they share?

      • Rookie

        As I think you point out, they’re VERY different pitchers.

        But if I’m the Rangers, I have to confess that I absolutely HATE the idea of Darvish (or ANY pitcher, for that matter) participating in the World Baseball Classic and fear that it could lead to him getting injured. I’ll be curious to see if Darvish does participate and whether the Rangers had any part in the decision if he doesn’t.

  • Josh

    Darvish threw from the stretch the whole night. Maybe Hughes should try this trick out…

    • Monterowasdinero

      Did they talk about why he did/does this? Better command? Less overthrowing? Is this something that more starters should try? Most closers pitch from the stretch with no one on.

      • jjyank

        I know relievers do it mostly because they come in with runners on so often that it makes sense to not bother even getting used to using a windup.

        It’s a bit unusual for starters, but I could see how it might help eliminate come control/command problems with less moving parts for the pitcher. I’m sure the stretch is more easily repeatable than a windup.

        • DF

          With the caveat that I’m nothing but a little league pitching coach wannabe, yes, the stretch is much better for control than the windup, for most pitchers, because the windup tends to hurt their balance. The first thing I had my kids do was scrap all their Lincecum-style flailing and just go with a simple leg-lift right into their delivery.

      • Josh

        The YES crew said he started pitching from the stretch about halfway through the last start. I would assume to calm the mechanics and focus on command.

        Yu hit 97 from the stretch, so it was still effective for him.

  • jjyank

    I was listening to the game on the radio on my way back from a class, and I blame the third inning non-rally on John Sterling.

    Bases loaded. No outs. Granderson at the plate. And what does Sterling say? “This is your rally moment of the game, brought to you by…”

    /facepalm

    Right then and there I screamed at my radio “How the hell can you call this the ‘rally of the game’ before a single run is scored?! Thanks a lot Sterling, you just jinxed it.”

    And what happened? They didn’t score a run, and Sterling jinxed it.

    I am kidding (mostly) but I just knew they wouldn’t score as soon as he said that.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Damn you, John Sterling.

    • Adam Parker

      If you blame him for last night’s (non) rally, you must give him credit for the first game’s actual rallies, right jiyank?

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Kuroda looked really good. Darvish looked really, really good, except when the Yankees had the bases loaded and no outs against him, which did actually happen. I don’t care if Jesus (the guy in the robe) was out there pitching – you get the baserunners home.

    The positive I take out of this is that Kuroda recovered very nicely again from a bad start. Hopefully, this is the end of alternating great and awful starts from him. I did expect less of an adjustment curve right off the bat, but it is what it is.

    Of course, this was all yesterday and, today, I will open up my stored-away bottle of enthusiasm and root like it’s 2007 for Phil Hughes against Scotty Feldman, which I believe was Colt Cabana’s name when he was in the WWE.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. Losing isn’t fun, but seeing Kuroda pitch well against the best offense he will have to face is really encouraging. I don’t think anyone here expected a sweep, and the Rangers don’t exactly have an ace on the mount tonight, so we still have a very good shot at 2 of 3.

      I really think Hughes’ stuff has looked better than the results he’s gotten so far. I guess its a command issue, and hopefully he can put it all together. Seeing him sit 93 with the fastball makes me optimistic. Maybe the Texas heat gets him going!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Billboard’s #1 song of 2007 was Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.” Maybe if we play it enough, we can turn back the clock for Hughes.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        BTW, more and more, I think that you and Havok have become the absolute class of this forum.

        *tips hat*

        • jjyank

          I appreciate that. Someone’s gotta play the role of rational Yankee fan!

          And I’m not exactly a Beyonce fan, but I think I could stomach that if it means a gem from Hughes tonight.

        • jjyank

          Also, the feeling’s mutual. Stay classy.

      • jsbrendog

        the problem with hughes is he can’t seem to put anyone away. i feel like it’s still strike 1, strike 2, foul, ball, ball, foul, ball, foul, walk.

        or, ball, strike 1, hr/double

        • Mike HC

          Hughes just isn’t that tricky. His off speed stuff rarely fools anyone. If it is over the plate, it gets crushed and if it is off the plate, guys easily lay off it. He needs to figure out how to be more deceptive. His fastball has more life this year, with is a plus, but he still needs to improve, obviously.

          You gotta like that he is striking a lot of guys out at least with his solid fastball, so there is hope.

          • jsbrendog

            while i agree there is hope i am still worried that he can;t go more than 5 ip at this point throwing 100 pitches

  • Brian in NH

    Pitcher NY has never seen before? We could have called this one before we ever say Yu pitch!

  • Mike HC

    I gotta say I found myself rooting for Yu Darvish last night. Obviously not to beat that Yanks, but from what the announcers were saying about him turning down contract incentives his other team members didn’t have, his demeanor on the mound, and of course, his 10 pitches that he threw at 72 mph, 82 mph, 88mph and 92-94 mph, I truly am an immediate fan.

    I wish him success, and I honestly assumed that I would end up not liking him like Dice-K, but that wasn’t the case.

    • Rookie

      I have to confess that despite the fact that I thought he would be very successful here, I didn’t think I would like him either — and I found myself rooting for him, too.

      With his dazzling array of offerings, he is indeed one very entertaining pitcher to watch.

      • Rookie

        It was interesting to hear the Yankees interviewed after the game (Girardi and Jeter and Martin, as I recall) basically just shake their heads and give credit to Darvish.

        Again, if he sustains his “stuff” and can control it and he doesn’t tip his pitches, I don’t know how batters will be able to square up his pitches to hit his offerings with authority. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he hasn’t given up single a home run to date.

        And as you say, he is VERY entertaining to watch.

  • Mike HC

    “and probably another pitch or two still in need of a name”

    haha … nice line. Both Kuroda and Darvish were throwing pitches “still in need of a name,” ha

    I enjoyed the pitching duel. Too bad Yanks didn’t come out on top though.

  • Bonnie Parker

    We lost to a good pitcher, that’s all. Hiroki and Yu were great against the two best offenses in the league. Yu don’t get many chances against a pitcher like Darvish so you have to capitalize on them when Yu get them and we didn’t. That was the difference in the ballgame. Hopefully the offense can take the series tonight.

    • rek4gehrig

      Yup

  • DJ4K

    Suggestions for Phil with 2 strikes on the batter: Come inside with the fb.

    Take a chance Phil!

  • gc

    I didn’t get a chance to see the game, but when I heard the outcome, I wasn’t all that upset. Of course I would have preferred a win (and to not be shutout), but Darvish has some great stuff. Nobody ever denied that, even if people didn’t think the Yanks should toss out an enormous posting fee for him. I was actually very pleased with Kuroda’s effort. He really needed a game like that against a top notch lineup in a dangerous ballpark. And of course, the bullpen was magnificent as usual (so far). All in all, there were lots of positives to take away from it.

  • aluis

    Why is no one complaining about the Andrus walk? That really ticked me off. 0-2 and then walks him with Josh on deck. Inexcuseable in my book.

    Also if Hughes ptiching poorly tonight does that mean Phelps get a shot at starting? I hope so.

  • Rookie

    What’s not to like about Kuroda? Kudos to Kuroda. Thank goodness we have him.

    It’s just that years after he’s retired, I fear Darvish will still be mowing down batters for the Rangers.

    But give credit where credit is due. Kuroda was absolutely excellent.

    By the way, as I recall, he’s historically pitched much better against teams with better records with a 3.32 Career ERA against teams with a 500+ record vs. a 3.62 Career ERA against teams with less than a .500 record (per Baseball-Reference.com) — although, of course, that wasn’t in the AL East.

    For whatever it might be worth, CC’s Career ERA against teams with a .500+ record is 3.98.

    • CW

      I think we get that you aren’t high on C.C. and you’re sold on Darvish. The horse is dead, beating it more accomplishes little.

    • CW

      We get it: you think Darvish will be a better value than Sabathia. At a certain point it gets to be beating a dead horse.

    • CW

      We get it: you think Darvish’s a much better value than C.C.. You’re beating a dead horse and taking a premature victory lap.

      • CW

        Sorry for the triple post. IPhones and this site are not a good mix.

      • Rookie

        I am most certainly NOT taking a victory lap. I’ve said repeatedly that the jury will be out for two or three years yet.

        I’m only saying that his results are beginning to confirm what my eyeballls were telling me, which was confirming what his stats were saying — which is that it was a no brainer for the Yankees to go after him more aggressively.

        I’ve said repeatedly that I respect Cashman, I know they have more information than I do, and I know they’re more likely to be right than I am.

        I just couldn’t figure out what they were thinking when they didn’t bid aggressively and spent more money elsewhere and I understand it less and less each day.

        Victory lap? If I’m right, I’ll be sad because, as a Yankee fan, I would prefer to be wrong — just like I’ve been wrong about Jeter since July 9th of last year. Hopefully, Jeter will continue to prove me wrong and I’ll prove to be just as off base here.

        • Rookie

          And I think the fact that our ace has an Career ERA up near 4 against teams with a winning record is interesting and relevant information.

          • CW

            I can understand them bidding less because we haven’t seen a pitcher from Japan do as well as C.C.. I understand he’s different than the other pitchers, but it’s hard to dispute that the level of play in Japan isn’t at the level of MLB and as a result, it was a gamble.I understand C.C. is also a gamble for other reasons and we disagree as to how good C.C. has been, but he still has proven at least something on the MLB level.
            Also,as mentioned before, since it was a blind bidding, they risked not signing Darvish. If they let C.C. go,they might have ended up with neither.

            • CW

              P.S.I was on other message boards during the 1st few years after the Clemens/Wells deal. There were a lot of Yankee fans reveling in Clemens’ failure during the 1st year and a half or so because they hated the deal. I’m not saying this is applicable to you, but it’s not unprecedented. As that deal showed, it takes years to decide on fair verdicts on personnel moves.

              • Lithium Lou

                The Yankees may have made a mistake on Darvish, but I don’t think it was an obvious decision to bid over $51 million for the reasons mentioned.

              • Rookie

                As I said, CW, I totally agree with you that it takes years.

  • rogue

    Alex had his head up his ass at the plate all night. He even prevented a sure SB by Granderson by fouling off a pitch.

    Now Hughes will pitch the rubber game. Great.

  • rek4gehrig

    Great game. Pity we lost. We’ll get him next time.

  • John

    One thing to remember about Yu. In Japan they generally have a big strike zone and last night, the strike zone was pretty big. They called Swisher out on a pitch that was about 3 inches outside.
    When the Yankees and the Rangers play to a 2-0 score, you have to thing the strike zone was big.
    Will Yu be great with a tighter zone? We will see. Remember, Kuroda looked like an all star too last night.

  • The Good Times Are Killing Me