New York Yankees: Yu Darvish

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Yankees 0

April, 24, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: That the Yankees can still get out of dodge with a series win over the team with the best record in the AL if they can beat Scott Feldman -- a pitcher they have never faced -- on Wednesday night. But there was no way they were beating Yu Darvish, another pitcher they had never faced, on Tuesday.

Yu for real? It sure looked like it tonight, as Darvish held the Yankees to seven hits, struck out 10 and walked only two in 8 1/3 shutout innings. He escaped from a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the third with a strikeout and a double play, and stranded Robby Cano after a leadoff double by striking out Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher and getting Raul Ibanez to tap out.

The Yankees never could work the count against Darvish who, after struggling with control early, threw all his pitches -- and he has seven of them -- for strikes and had the Yankees swinging as if they were trying to kill bees with a sledgehammer. Hit 96 on the gun with his second-to-last pitch of the night. Most impressive.

Hiroki better than OK: After suffering through a miserable but mercifully brief outing last time out, Hiroki Kuroda deserved better than he got in this one, generally stifling the powerful Rangers lineup all night but having the misfortune to run into the Whirling Darvish on an exceptional night. Kuroda allowed a mammoth (439 feet) homer to Ian Kinsler in the first inning, and an RBI single to Josh Hamilton in the third, and that was about it. Five hits in total, two walks and five K's in 6 2/3 innings. Still, on a night the Yankees couldn't do anything with Darvish, two runs was two too many.

Somebody hose down Jeter: Because The Captain is still on fire. This is how hot Derek Jeter was tonight: Even when he tries to make an out, he gets a hit. With runners on first and second and no out in the third, Jeter tried to lay down a sacrifice, but the perfect bunt became a base hit when Darvish failed to field the ball. Jeter followed with a double down the third-base line in the fifth, one of only two hard-hot balls off Darvish all night, to raise his average to .421. But Darvish made him look bad his fourth time up, getting him to flail at a splitter on the outside corner that was unhittable even for Jeter, who finished the night at a mere .416.

What's coming: I will explore the question in every Yankees fan's mind tonight -- why isn't Darvish in pinstripes? Also, Hiroki's hard-luck night, and whatever else of note comes out of the post-game clubhouse.

What's next: The series concludes Wednesday night with Phil Hughes (1-2, 6.75) facing RHP Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00), first pitch at 8:05 p.m.

Darvish to Yanks: Yu get nothing!

April, 24, 2012
One inning after escaping a bases-loaded, none out jam in the third, Yu Darvish has done it again, coming out unscathed after allowing a leadoff double to Robinson Cano in the fourth. Darvish came back to strike out, in rapid succession, Mark Teixeira on a cutter and Nick Swisher on a curveball before getting Raul Ibanez to ground out. Swisher's strike three hack was particularly ugly as Darvish' curve dove to his ankles. Meanwhile, the Rangers added a run when Hiroki Kuroda walked Elvis Andrus with two out, wild pitched him to second, and the surrendered an RBI single to Josh Hamilton. Yanks trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

Yanks let Darvish off the ropes

April, 24, 2012
The Yankees had Yu Darvish in trouble in the third inning, loading the bases with none out on a single by Eric Chavez, a walk to Russell Martin and a bunt by Derek Jeter, who was trying to sacrifice but beat it out when Darvish failed to field the ball. But the 25-year-old Japanese phenom wriggled free by striking out Curtis Granderson looking at a curveball and getting Alex Rodriguez to tap into a 5-3 double play. Darvish's deep bag of pitching tricks, including a nearly 20-MPH differential between his fastball and curve, is resulting in a lot of ugly swings by the Yankees, but his early-season bugaboo -- a tendency to struggle with his control and throw too many pitches -- is biting him again. He has thrown 46 pitches through three innings.

Darvish wins Rd. 1

April, 24, 2012
Yu Darvish won this first round of this battle of Japanese-born starters tonight, setting the Yankees down in order in the first inning, cooling off Derek Jeter on a first pitch groundout and striking out Alex Rodriguez on a beautiful 1-2 slider, while Hiroki Kuroda, his Yankee counterpart, surrendered a mammoth home run to Ian Kinsler , the first batter he faced, a shot that was measured at 439 feet. One down, eight more to go.
While the entire nation of Japan may be getting up early to watch Tuesday's matchup between Hiroki Kuroda and Rangers phenom Yu Darvish, a game that will air live at 8 a.m. in the Land of the Rising Sun, one of the pitchers involved said he wouldn't get out of bed early to watch.

In fact, Kuroda said, he never got up early to watch any of the five other MLB matchups of Japanese starting pitchers that didn't involve him; in the sixth, in 2010, Kuroda faced the Mets and Hisanori Takashi as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Interviewed at his locker before Monday night's game, Kuroda acknowledged the likely level of interest in the game back home -- Joe Girardi said, "They should make it a holiday" -- but downplayed his own excitement at being a part of it.

"I try not to think about it," Kuroda said through his interpreter. "I don't want to make it any bigger than it is. This is not a one-on-one game, it's the Rangers against the Yankees, and I'm going to do as much as possible so that our team is going to win."

Kuroda said he had never met Darvish, had only seen him pitch live once, and did not plan to speak to him until tomorrow's game is over. "We have to face each other tomorrow," he said, "so we have nothing to talk about."

Kuroda, did, however, refer to Darvish as "one of the greatest pitchers that Japan has produced."

Asked if he would include himself in that assessment, Kuroda laughed. "No, no, no," he said. "I'm not going to put myself on that list."

In his three starts as a Yankee, Kuroda is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA. He was impressive in the Yankees' home opener, pitching eight innings of shutout ball, but lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his last outing, allowing all six runs in the Yankees' 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins last Wednesday.

Source: Yanks bid low for Darvish

December, 20, 2011
The Yankees bid less than $20 million for Yu Darvish, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the process.

The Yankees were expected to put forth a modest proposal for the Japanese pitcher, and it turns out the Texas Rangers more than doubled the Yankees' bid and may even have tripled it. The Rangers bid nearly $52M for the rights to negotiate with Darvish.

The Yankees liked Darvish, but could not be sold that his stuff and his makeup would translate in the majors. From Kei Igawa to Hideki Irabu, the Yankees have seen firsthand that Japanese pitchers often aren't successful in the majors. So they weren't prepared to go all-out for a pitcher who hasn't thrown even once in the majors.

Rangers win rights to pay Yu Darvish

December, 19, 2011
The Yankees lost out in their bid for Yu Darvish. The Rangers bid nearly $52 million, according to Yahoo Sports!, which presumably was much more than what the Yankees put forth. We don't know yet what the Yankees' number was, but, as we and others have reported, it was expected to be modest.

Now, we probably will move to Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Despite reports the Yankees are high on Cespedes, the same insiders that said the Yanks weren't going to be big players for Darvish are parroting the same words on Cespedes. We'll see.

For now, though, the news is Darvish is eventually going to be a Ranger.

Rumors Flying: Who are Yu?

December, 19, 2011
With the Yu Darvish announcement expected to come down tonight, rumors are rampant through the game. The Post reported last week that the Blue Jays were the "favorites" to win. Now, there are people speculating it is the Rangers.

All along, those have been the two teams that have rumored to be most interested in the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander.

One team that no one thinks is getting Darvish is in big white letters at the top of this blog. No one thinks the New York Yankees are getting him.

The Darvish Sweepstakes is coming to a close tonight and it could have a big impact on the Yankees since Darvish could be an impact guy in the AL East or just the AL or maybe there is an NL team (the *Mets?) laying in the weeds.

* We were joking about the Mets, but I'm sure most of you figured that out. The Wilpons are broke.

Yu already expected this, but ...

December, 18, 2011
Here, there and everywhere, the Yankees said they weren't getting Yu Darvish. It continues to look like they were telling the truth.

As we have said on the site countless times, the Yankees think the risk/reward of Darvish is too great. They don't want to spend $100 million for a starter when they have no idea if said pitcher could pitch in the major leagues.

If they were going to spend the type of dough that Darvish will command between his posting and his contract, they would have just tried to sign C.J. Wilson, according to one Yankee official

Anyway, the Star-Ledger's Marc Carig quoted a source saying the Yankees aren't getting Darvish. The Post says Toronto is the favorite.

So the Yankees still do not have a certified No. 2 starter. Of course, no one knows what Darvish is in the majors. Personally, I agree with their approach on Darvish.

The official news as to where Darvish is headed will be revealed by Tuesday.

Q: What do Yu think of the Jays chances?

December, 16, 2011
The Jays may be getting Yu Darvish. They are in on Carlos Beltran. They were 81-81 last season. Do you believe in Toronto?

The Jays could be a team that may make some noise in 2012. The best division in baseball is about to get better. If there is an added wild card this season, it is not inconceivable that the AL East could have three playoff teams. The biggest challenge will come from the West with the Angels and Rangers.

Here is my question for you: Do you believe the Jays will be able to contend in the AL East?

Report: Jays "favorite" to land Darvish

December, 16, 2011
Depending on how good Yu Darvish turns out to be, the Yankees' road to the playoffs may have just gotten a lot tougher. The New York Post reported that Toronto "is the favorite" to win the bidding. The Post didn't come out and flat out say that the Jays won the bidding, but it is the most substantial report out there.

If the Blue Jays do win -- and it may not be official until Tuesday -- it will hardly be a surprise because Toronto and Texas were two teams thought to have the most interest in Darvish.

Again, nothing is official so the Yankees aren't out of it yet. But if the Blue Jays did in fact go to $40 or $50-million, we would be shocked if the Yankees went that high, given one what team insiders have said.

Whomever wins the bid still has to sign Darvish. They will have 30 days to do so.

Q: Will you be disappointed if no Yu?

December, 15, 2011
My feeling is still that the Yankees won't get Yu Darvish, but they put in a bid so we won't know until we know. Here is the question:

Will you be disappointed if he is not a Yankee?

Don't expect Yu or Yoennis

December, 12, 2011
Yankee insiders are tamping down expectations about their bid for Yu Darvish and/or Yoennis Cespedes. That is, if they even make a play at all. The bids for Darvish are due on Wednesday.

As I wrote a little more than a week ago, these are not George's Yankees anymore. They are not going to spend just because there is a shiny, international toy on the market. They are going to try and be more precise.

The Yankees like Yu Darvish, but they don't know what Yu Darvish will be in the major leagues. Darvish is 25 and has electric stuff. But you have to pay probably somewhere from $80M to $100M to get him to throw a pitch.

That is a lot to pay for a Monty Hall game. What is exactly behind Door No. 3? A CC Sabathia or a Kei Igawa?

Let's look at this way. If Phil Hughes were a free agent right now, would you pay $80M to $100M to have him on the Yankees. You would surely think about it, considering he was an All-Star in 2010, but given his 2011 you would hesitate.

Hughes' future is probably more predictable than Darvish. Hughes is likely somewhere between 2010 and 2011. A solid No. 3 starter with room to move a slot up or slot down.

Darvish? He is fun to think about, but it is hard for Yankees GM Brian Cashman to go to Hal Steinbrenner and tell him to pay that type of money when he doesn't know what he is getting.

If the Yankees were going to spend that type of dough this offseason, they probably would have tried to sign C.J. Wilson up for five years. But, unless the insiders in the Yankees organization, are steering us wrong, they aren't spending big money this offseason.

On Cespedes, again, the Yankees like him, but they don't have a need for him. If the bidding goes to $30M, $40M, $50M, the Yankees will not be in on Cespedes. Too much money for too little guarantee.

In other words, what he said. The guy over there on the right of your screen with the pretty picture.
From people I'm talking to within and without the Yankees organization, it doesn't appear either of the two mystery men in this year's free-agent crop, Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish and Cuban emigre outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, are likely to be Yankees in 2012. Incredible as it may seem, the Yankees payroll appears "capped'' at about $200 million, leaving GM Brian Cashman hamstrung this winter, if such a word can be used in the case of a team that is spending nearly a quarter-billion greenbucks on ballplayers already.

The problem seems to be the Yankees revenue-sharing bill, which is heftier than a CC Sabathia dinner tab.

"Where do you think the Marlins got all that money to spend?,'' a disgusted team source told

Uh, from ticket sales from the final season at Pro Player Stadium?

""From revenue sharing,'' the person said.

Meaning, "from us.''

As a result, the Yankees appear disinclined to gamble a lot of money on a posting fee for Darvish or to get into a bidding war for Cespedes, both of whom are tantalizing prospects who are extremely difficult to accurately assess off the available information.

Conspiracy: One reason to think Yu or Cespedes

December, 2, 2011
The Yankees are moving slowly, acting like they may be quiet all winter. That could be the case.

But as we pointed many times on our Twitter account and in some stories, the new CBA is going to make it harder for the Yankees to out spend teams on the international market in future years so maybe the Yankees will try harder this final year if Yu Darvish posts or for Cuban outfield prospect, Yoenis Cespedes.

When I put this exact scenario to Brian Cashman, he wouldn't shoot it down -- nor up, for that matter.

"I wouldn't say," Cashman said.

The non-answer is just a scrap to think that Cashman will go big into the international game. We'll see.



Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146