Yu Darvish had an interesting beginning to his regular season on Monday night.
In front of an electric crowd in Arlington (that stayed that way all night) Texas’ Yu Darvish started off about as rough as any pitcher could. His rough first set the social media world, not really knowing what to think of him at this point, abuzz. Is this the great Yu Darvish? Is it first start jitters? Is this really what they paid for? Those were just some of the questions surrounding his first inning of regular season baseball.
And if the first inning pitch count (42 pitches) wasn’t bad enough, he had the scoreboard to remind him just how ugly his first official inning went:
1 IP, 4 hits, 3 BB, 1 wild pitch, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 K’s
Messy indeed. But he turned it around enough to get the win. Backed by an offense that Seattle couldn’t contain Darvish settled in nicely.
Some things I took away from his first start might surprise some. I loved the fact that Ron Washington (who is quickly climbing the list as one of my favorite managers in the game) let Yu battle it out in the first. Comments after the game confirmed my praise when he stated he had no intention of taking him out after one inning. His faith was confirmed as Darvish settled in to pitch respectable baseball the rest of the way.
Another thing I could get behind was the crowd in Texas supporting their guy even when it was tough. No boo’s or condescending applause. I’m sure that helped him settle down a bit with a crowd that understands things aren’t going to be lights out day one.
A bright spot on Darvish would be his velocity and the movement he got on his fastball and breaking pitches as the game went on. Even while struggling so badly to start the game, it was fun to see him figure it out and push through it and pitch good ball. Here were his numbers after the first inning:
4.2 IP, 4 hits, I R, 1 ER, 3 K’s 1 BB
I’d say he settled in nicely. Am I penciling him in for the Cy Young or even Rookie of The Year? Heavens no. But I can say he will be fine as the season goes along. I wouldn’t be surprised if he even got himself in the conversation with Mike Maddux as pitching coach and this learning experience behind him.
Texas may be alright after all.