Thursday, April 24, 2008

Darvish Watch 08: Episode 6

In his sixth start, Yu Darvish took the mound against the Orix Buffaloes for the first time in the 2008 season . The Darvish Watch campaign for a sub-1.00 season ERA is still on track with a string of lights out performances to begin the year. That story seemed to be slightly overshadowed by the news that super-rookie Sho Nakata has been mashing the ball for the Nippon Ham farm club and blasted a monster home run off Aussie Adrian Burnside. His attitude has been the major factor keeping him on the farm as he's had problems with lateness and oversleeping. His defense has also been heavily criticized by his minor league manager, although he now admits that if Nakata keeps hitting like he has (currently a 7 game hit streak and 7 of his last 14) it will be hard to keep him from the Fighters lineup for long.

On to the game....

Scrutiny of Darvish's 1st inning results is the first order of business here, as it is every week. Let's get right to it:

Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF) Pop out to 3B
Arihito Muramatsu (LF) Fly out to LF
Tuffy Rhodes (DH) Pop out to LF

Well, whaddaya know? A clean, 1-2-3 first inning for Darvish. That generally is a great sign of things to come for the 21-year old righty. A strong first, more often than not, snowballs into a dominant performance for the young ace. How many in a row was he able to put away following his clean opening frame? None. Alex Cabrera, newly acquired this season by Orix, mashed a 3-2 fastball, belt high on the outside part of the plate, over the straightaway centerfield fence. Touche. 1-0 Orix.

Knowing Darvish as we do, it's no surprise that he settled down right away and proceeded to retire 10 of the next 11 batters, and 15 of the next 19 batters. One of those baserunners came on an error by catcher Shinji Takahashi, playing out of position at first base. The 8th inning proved to be the undoing for Darvish on this night, however. Alas. Kensuke Tanaka, playing second base for Nippon Ham, led off the 7th with a solo home run to take Darvish off the hook and knot the game at one apiece, but a barrage of hits greeted our hero in the 8th that led to a second run and a deficit for the Fighters. The inning in question started with an easy out and then went single, RBI double, walk, single, 3-6-1 double play. To his credit, Darvish worked out of further trouble by turning a much needed twin killing to end the threat.

The Fighters got the game back to a tie with a stunning 9th inning rally, and won it in the 10th with a walk off homer by Tomoyuki Oda, who entered the game in the 8th to pinch hit and play first. Darvish exited the game after the 9th, allowing reliever Hisashi Takeda to notch the victory. Still, he pitched 9 full innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 9 in the process. Not his sharpest outing, but his ERA still sits below 1.00 at 0.69. If your shaky outings look like this, you know you're good.


erik hogstrom said...

Love Yu Darvish and I love this blog. Keep up the good work!

mars2001 said...

Mike -

There's a feature on about Darvish (it's called DiceK 2.0)....

Any additional info about if Darvish will be posted at the end of the year?

mars2001 said...

Until Mike is able to post game summaries... here are the box scores for Darvish's last 4 outings:

April 30th 7IP 10H 3R 3ER 2BB 3K - Win (105 pitches, 2HR allowed)

May 7th 8.7IP 8H 4R 4ER 2BB 6K - Loss (136 pitches, Lost on a Walk-off Grand Slam)

May 14th 8IP 5H 1R 1ER 4BB 8K - No Decision (130 pitches)

May 21st 7IP 8H 2R 2ER 1 BB 3K - No Decision (88 pitches)

It's been a rough couple of starts for Darvish, but the short outing on the 21st should mean he's fresh next time out. His season stats now stand at 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 4.18 K:BB ratio. (those numbers had been 4-0 0.69 ERA, 0.673 WHIP and 6.38 K:BB). He'll need to reel off several scoreless outing to get his ERA back under 1.00, a goal that he mentioned having in a recent interview. [To be precise, Darvish said his goal was to finish a season with an ERA of 0.00. It's good to have goals].

Finally, I should note that Japanese box scores do not differentiate 'BB' between Walks and Hit by Pitches, so his WHIP may be slightly lower than I have calculated.

westbaystars said...

Once you know the date he pitches, you can get more detailed box scores here.