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Daily (Yu) Darvish: Impressive stuff

3/31/2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The biggest mistake Yu Darvish made Friday was throwing a fastball over the heart of the plate to 41-year-old Jason Giambi, who crushed it to right field.

Darvish said he was "honored" a hitter like Giambi hit one off him and admitted that he deserved to have it hit that far because the pitch wasn't where it was supposed to be. But other than Giambi and Todd Helton, Darvish dominated the Colorado Rockies. A few thoughts:

* It was his best outing overall this spring. He threw 98 pitches and, outside of a rough patch in the second and sixth, was in total control. The reaction of hitters said it all as they couldn't seem to do anything against his breaking stuff.

* Darvish's only walk came against the first batter he faced, Marco Scutaro. And he came right back with three straight strikeouts to the Nos. 2-3-4 hitters.

* The curveball to Scutaro in the fifth was probably Darvish's most memorable pitch. The second baseman ducked as if getting out of the way, only to hear a called third strike as the ball caught the inside corner. "He was running to the dugout like he'd just seen a curve from Bert Blyleven," Washington said.

"My slow curve is usually to get it over early," Darvish said through translator Joe Furukawa. "The harder curve is an out pitch. One time tonight, I did the opposite. But generally, that's how I do it."

* After the second, when Darvish fell behind 2-0 to both Helton and Giambi and paid the price, he found a rhythm. He ended up with 11 strikeouts, including three each to Carlos Gonzalez -- the 2010 NL batting champ -- and Troy Tulowitzki -- an All-Star starter in 2011. Not bad.

"It didn't seem like I had that many strikeouts," said Darvish, who credited catcher Mike Napoli's game-calling.

* Darvish was pleased with the outing, but not completely satisfied.

"It's slowly coming together," Darvish said. "I'm making better pitches, more of them. Slowly, it's coming together."

* Darvish's fastball was 94-to-95 mph and did touch 96. His slider was in the 85-to-87 range and the cutter at 92. Throw in that curve at 80 mph or so and you've got a variety of pitches at all kinds of different speeds. Good luck if he's throwing them where he wants.

* All six hits Darvish gave up were to left-handed batters. Not sure that really means anything, figuring that he got his share of lefties out as well. But a few of them were able to go the other way on pitches. It's something Darvish and Napoli can take a look at and make some mental notes for next time.

* He did hit a batter, Michael Cuddyer, in the sixth with a two-seamer. Darvish said it just got away from him.