Yu Can’t See Me
Image: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
By Todd Kaufmann
The New York Yankees got their chance to see the Texas Rangers’ Japanese phenom, Yu Darvish, for the very first time on Tuesday night and to say they were a little impressed would be a huge understatement.
Every player from short stop Derek Jeter to catcher Russell Martin to outfielder Nick Swisher all had a hard time doing anything against the 25-year old right-hander.
“He threw me in my third at-bat a very, very good running fastball,” Raul Ibanez told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News after the game. “Ran a lot. It started in the middle of the plate and wound up in the other batter’s box. That was a really nasty pitch.”
Ibanez wasn’t the only one who was impressed with Darvish.
“He was good,” former Texas Ranger Mark Teixeira said. ”You hear a lot of guys get hyped; he was everything that you’d heard. I can’t say enough. He pitched really well tonight.”
What Darvish did on Tuesday night was something many people never expected. Through his first three starts, the right-hander had shown signs of improvement but he had never faced the kind of lineup the New York Yankees would put in front of him. He hadn’t faced hitters like Derek Jeter or the power of Alex Rodriguez.
Darvish did so almost with ease.
But, even after dominating one of the better lineups in baseball, the skeptics are still going to be out and about. They will still tell you that it’s only one start and dispite the fact that Darvish has continued to improve through each of his starts, and nevermind that he dominated a strong Yankee lineup, they will tell you to wait and see what he does the next time out.
There will also be those who will tell you that Major League Baseball hitters will “figure him out.” It’s something that has been said by one of the local sports stations here in Dallas/Ft Worth.
If this was any other pitcher, most might agree. But leave it to Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi to say it perfectly.
“When you have a number of pitches you can go to, it’s tough,” Girardi told Feinsand. “That’s the key to pitching, when you have one pitch or two pitches you can nail a guy down. He had different ways of getting our guys out the second and third times through.”
Yu Darvish doesn’t have just one out pitch. That could be the one single thing that makes him one of the more dominant pitcher in the big leagues this season.
While I’m going to stop short of handing anything resembling the American League Cy Young Award, Darvish has given the Ranger fans something to look forward to. The progress he’s made culminated in a tremendous outing against one of the American League’s best.
It’s anyone’s guess if he will be able to keep up this kind of performance. But at least this was one everyone will be talking about for a very long time.