Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Darvish Watch: Episode 15

An outstanding pitching matchup awaited on July 6th as the two best clubs in the Pacific faced off with Yu Darvish going for the Fighters and Shunsuke Watanabe on the hill for Lotte. Watanabe was the third wheel in the starting rotation for the WBC Japan team. He's a side-arming righty with decent control and a very difficult arm slot. A low scoring affair would seem to have been the safe bet prior to first pitch. Speaking of which, let's go over Darvish's first inning.

Tsuyoshi (TSUYOSHI) Nishioka (G4)
Daisuke Hayakawa (P5)
Kazuya Fukuura (G4)

Yes! Woo hoo!!! A 1-2-3 first inning at last. It's a miracle. That had to bode well for the tall righty to start this highly anticipated contest. Would trouble come in the second? A little trouble manifested as Darvish allowed a leadoff single to Zaburo followed by a plunking of Benny Agbayani. A little Whoudini work later and no harm done. In fact, after the second inning, Darvish didn't allow another baserunner. You heard me. Young Yu Darvish retired the final 23 batters he faced against Lotte and won thanks to a 6th inning 2-run bomb by the ever amazing Inaba. The final line for Nippon Ham's ace included a lone hit, a hit batsman, and 10 strikeouts. It was a dominating complete game shutout. Just what the doctor ordered to solidify the growing lead in the Pacific and put Darvish in the Sawamura hunt with Softbank Hawks starter Toshiya Sugiuchi and 22-year old Lotte sensation Yoshihisa Naruse. Youth prevails in the Pacific and the Fighters have the lead.

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