Daily (Yu) Darvish: Gets better of NL MVP
March, 19, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It was the third start of the spring for Yu Darvish and he went four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. Darvish threw 70 pitches, 39 of them strikes. His line: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP. Some thoughts on Darvish's outing:
* Right away, Darvish came out in the windup, something he didn't do in his two previous starts. He's been working on his delivery in bullpen sessions and appeared comfortable. In fact, he didn't have to come out of the windup in the first inning with a strikeout (looking) of Rickie Weeks (84 mph slider) and then got Nyjer Morgan to ground out to first and Ryan Braun to popup to second. He went to the stretch after a runner got on in the second inning.
* Darvish retired Braun, the NL MVP, twice. Besides the popup, he got him to fly out to left.
"He's a tremendous hitter, has a tremendous swing," Darvish said through his translator. "I'm still new here and I don't think it's proper for me to evaluate him yet, but he's a very good hitter."
* Darvish was asked what else Braun was known for and smartly said the results were out and Braun is playing and he really didn't have anything else to say on it. There's no reason for Darvish to comment on that stuff and he didn't.
* The focus of Darvish's outing was his fastball command. He threw a fair share of two-seam and four-seam fastballs and threw them for strikes. More on that coming up on ESPNDallas.com.
* Darvish did have some deep counts that resulted in walks -- two of them to lead off innings with Travis Ishikawa at the plate. The count was full on both of those walks, one to start the second and the other the fourth. He also walked George Kottaras on four pitches before getting Jonathan Lucroy to ground into a double play started by third baseman Adrian Beltre. That was Darvish's 70th and final pitch.
* The athleticism that Darvish shows on the back fields during fielding practice has come into play during his starts. And Monday was no exception. He got off the mound quickly and with ease to cover the bag to receive flips from first baseman Mitch Moreland in the first and the third on ground balls hit by Morgan.
* Mike Napoli, who caught Darvish on Monday, said the pitcher threw all of his pitches except the split-fingered fastball. Napoli said Darvish didn't need the pitch during his outing, but did throw one in the bullpen before the game.
* Napoli said he was impressed with Darvish's cutter and added that he threw some good sliders and changeups. Napoli added that the curveball could use a little work. Darvish had one curve get away from him when he hit Lucroy in the back in the second on a 2-1 pitch.
* Pitching coach Mike Maddux was pleased and echoed the thoughts of Napoli and Darvish in terms of how pleased he was with Darvish's two-seamer.
"He progressed the way he wanted to today," Maddux said. "We worked two times and skipped a live BP to get more mound time. I was happy with his outing. He commanded the fastball and threw some good breaking balls."