Yu Darvish's Deb-Yu: Five Observations of Last Night's Game from a Mariners Blogger

Categories: Sports

darvish_1.jpg
Photo by Mike Mezeul
Darvish walked off to a standing ovation. But did he deserve one?
We asked Seattle-based sports blogger and A.L. West obsessive Brian Elsner to review Yu Darvish's Major League debut from a division foe's perspective. These are his thoughts.

1. Darvish Needs to Rely on All Those Other Pitches
Everyone raves about the number of pitches Darvish can throw; I've heard that about 8 or 9 different variations of pitches are within Darvish's capabilities and powers, and in my close studies (on YouTube) it appeared that his stuff is lively and moves quite a bit. Yet Darvish decided that his flat, four-seam fastball would be enough. He struggled with his control early and then proceeded to just groove fastballs right down the middle and belt-high over the first couple innings.

After striking out Dustin Ackley on a curve, Darvish gave up a bloop single to Ichiro. (Side note: I assume all non-Seattle fans must think we all love Ichiro. We don't. He annoys us more than you can imagine). Darvish then grooved a fastball to Smoak for a single and, with a 1-2 count on Kyle Seager, he threw another fastball right down the middle. He didn't bury a slider or throw a nice change. He threw a fastball.

Maybe this is Mike Napoli's fault -- Lord knows he isn't a good catcher -- but it seemed odd. Once Darvish stopped throwing fastballs all the time, he looked better. Also, he kept striking out Michael Saunders, which tends to raise confidence levels, although though it shouldn't because Michael Saunders is at best an AAAA player.

2. Rangers Fans Cheer Really Randomly
Clearly the fans were excited to watch their $100 million pitcher walk people all over the place, but the cheering was still very random. I realize the fans at the game can't really see the nuances of the strike zone, but there were loud jeers when pitches considerably off the plate were called balls, as if Darvish deserved some sort of Hey, I'm Japanese and Really Expensive exemption from the strike zone.

Same goes when Hector Noesi was pitching for the Mariners, but this time in opposite-land. Anytime the ump called a strike, the fans lost their minds. I thought maybe it was some weird reaction to ball girls or something, but then Josh Hamilton hit a foul ball to left field - nowhere near the field - and the fans started cheering like it was a home run. Can anyone explain why the Rangers fans are so excited yet seemingly all hammered?

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, the fans gave Darvish a standing ovation for an obviously substandard pitching performance. Does a 5 2/3 inning, 8 hit, 5 run, 4 BB, 5 K performance deserve an ovation at all? You've been to the World Series two years in a row. Expect better.

3. Twitter Makes People So Stupid
One of the downfalls of Twitter is that people tend to oversimplify, exaggerate, hyperbolize or exclaim because they're reduced to 140 characters and want more retweets. Enter Jason Parks of texasfarmreview.com and Baseball Prospectus, who last night actually Tweeted: "This inning [the first inning for Darvish] could be the best thing for Darvish's development. Failure and response to failure is the backbone of baseball".

Really? The best thing? It sort of feels like the best thing that could have happened to Darvish would have been dominating the Mariners for eight innings. Could his slow start have some positive byproducts? Maybe. But the best thing? Now you're just being weird.

4. Who Eats Pizza in Texas?
In the third inning, the Seattle broadcast showed a kid wearing a Darvish shirt and eating some pizza. His mom looked proud of this. She should be ashamed. Who eats pizza at a baseball game in Texas? It's Texas. Go get some BBQ or a taco. Stupid kid.

5. Yu Darvish is Better than Hector Noesi
You may be asking yourself: Who is Hector Noesi? Don't feel bad. Seattle fans will wish they could ask the same thing very soon.

The Mariners feature three starting pitchers in the minor leagues who are in the top 100 prospects by every publication in the country. Yet Hector Noesi took the mound in Arlington, where he was obliterated by Nelson Cruz and others. He's one of those pitchers who looks like he is trying so hard when he pitches that it almost cute. Then you remember it isn't Little League and you want to punch yourself in the face.

So be happy you don't have that guy on your team. Be happy you have Yu Darvish. He will probably be just fine. Meanwhile, I will have to live through Hector Noesi, Blake Beaven and Kevin Millwood for half a season until the team is 35 games out of first and they call up their prospects, assuming I don't kill myself first.

Go Mariners.


My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Daniel
Daniel

You couldn't really make barbecue up to Texas standards at a ballpark. Seattle standards, sure.

DaTruth
DaTruth

Good call, Mariners blogger. I often wonder if Rangers fans have ever watched baseball in their lives before the moment they set foot in the ball park. It's like a hodge podge of people who got lost and thought they were going to Lone Star Park to be every race on number 2.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Really dude? Yeah we eat pizza in Texas. Here's something else that may shock you we all don't walk around with stupid cowboy hats on. Not all of us own cattle ranchs and very very few of us ride fucking horses to work. You say why don't we buy the $26 hotdog? BECAUSE IT'S $26!!! $26 can buy like two beers at the ballpark dude come on man. Hey but on a side note since the M's like trading away great pitchers for piles of shit. The Rangers have a mid teer out fielder in single A why don't you guy send King Felix and a big bag of cash down here for him???

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

 His problem wasn't "belt high fastballs down the middle" it was trying to pitch to quadrants, he was way outside against lefties. He would have been better served throwing it down the middle since his fastball has a wicked little tail at the last second.

1st pitch strikes are the key for him just like any other pitcher. His response to adversity showed more maturity than CJ could ever muster.

By the way don't drink the Scioscia  kool-aid that the national media repeats ad nauseam about Napoli.

Mickister
Mickister

 I agree about Napoli.  The turning point for Yu's performance last night was after Napoli walked out and talked to him.  Once Napoli talked to him, Yu quickly got through the rest of the first inning and then was much better the rest of the game. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Didn't Nap Nap Weiner lead the league in pitchers' ERA while catching last season?

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Nappy didn't qualify, but if he had, he would have been tops in the AL with a  3.18 cERA and second in MLB to Carlos Ruiz (3.06), who certainly had an advantage catching Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Worley.

But even without that shiny stat, anyone who watched him play last year knows he had a terrific defensive year behind the dish.

Also, as someone who was at last night's game, I was fine with the majority of the cheering, because, like Merkin said, "I'd rather our fans cheer randomly than not at all." My only real issue was the standing ovation at the end of the first inning. Very puzzling. But the constant cheers of "Yuuuuuuuuuuuuu" (which hopefully wasn't mistaken for boos) each time Darvish headed to the mound and recorded a strikeout was pretty cool.

And speaking of food, if you find yourself in the Lexus Club level, order the bacon-wrapped bratwurst. It's actually worth nine bucks, unlike most of the items out there.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It carried on TV as Yu and not boo. Way better than the Buechele treatment.

"Are you saying boo or Boo-urns?""Boooooooo!"

"I was saying Boo-urns."

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I dont give a shit what some wanker from Seattle thinks about us.  They dont get out much due to the rain, and we sent them shit for Lee and they sent us money.  Whats more Americana than pizza and beer at a ballpark?  I mean, is all they eat at the Kingdome fish sammiches?  Id rather our fans cheer randomly, than not cheer at all.  I promise, we are trying to teach the cocain and boob job crowd about baseball, it took a few years with hockey so we will ge them turned around soon

therrick
therrick

RE.Number 2. Have you never watched baseball on TV before?  That happens all of the time. When the crowd boos pitches at the wrong time. Although I will agree with the other point, I told my friends after the second inning they are cheering too much for a guy who has given up 5 runs in

Number 4.  Who cares food at a game is not that great and overpriced. LEt the kid eat some pizza. How good can bbq at a ball game be?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Rangers fans, while well-intentioned, are completely random. And not as baseball-smart as St. Louis or Boston peeps. Watch us bitch about the wave going around in an important late-inning situation later as the season goes on--it'll happen.

Who doesn't eat pizza? I'd eat a smoked salmon pizza in Seattle if I could.

Yu was as wheels-off in the first as Bobby Witt could ever be. 

And someone tell the Rangers front office and FSSW, whatever combination is responsible for the presentation, to up their game. The two-time AL champs deserve something better than the AAA-esque product they're throwing out so far. Between missing Yu's first pitch, not getting all the ads in HD in 2012, and Jim Knox bits that make The Fan's garbage look good, I feel like I'm watching a Royals or Mariners September give-up broadcast.

 

Mervis
Mervis

Those headset mics on the postgame show are awful. Sounds like they are broadcasting from inside a tin can.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

 Missing pitches and action is nothing new for FSSW and as long as they keep bringing the short bus bus with Knox, Rhadigan and the chick it will continue to look like a minor league production

just sayin'
just sayin'

Did you see Know during the postgame? He was doing that lame thing that they do when he tries talking to people in the loud drunken crowd after a victory. He points out some guy from England that was taking in his first live baseball game. He talks to the guy and he actually does have a British accent. So how does Knox end the conversation? By saying "Good day, mate" in his best Crocodile Dundee voice.  That was even better than TAG referring to a few seeing eye bloops as "chinkers".

just sayin'
just sayin'

typo, I clearly meant Knox and not Know

Brian Elsner
Brian Elsner

Thanks for all the positive feedback!

Love to take them one by one.

1. Awesome to see that Mike Maddux's online user name is "MushMouth1". Everyone knows that release point is a key indicator for belt high fastballs down the middle. 2. Josh's broken groin says "Eff this guy". Thank you for not spelling it out. That would be more hurtful.3. Ron Washington loves to say "That's the way baseball go". So yes I do know it and yes Ron Washington is pretty much a joke to the rest of the country.4. I commented on pizza because you have Boomsticks! $26 for a giant hot dog. Who wouldn't buy that? This mom is irresponsible. Also, I needed something to distract me from Nelson Cruz rounding the bases for the 17th time off the Mariners.5. I have like 70 followers on twitter so whatever I say is completely irrelevant. No one cares. And we prefer to be called the Astros of the A.L. Next year, you get us both to hit home runs off of.6. Yeah, I said "strangely" excited for Kevin Millwood. I acknowledged that it is strange. You realize I root for a team that is horrible right?

JS
JS

Wow, what thin skin. I actually liked your original post, but if you are such a pussy that you can't take any criticial comments, please stay in your parents' basement. (See what I did there? Blogger - basement, ah that doesn't get old after 20 years and 2 billion uses). Oh, and you should never end your sentences with a preposition (see, e.g., last sentence of #5).

Michael in LH
Michael in LH

Ending your sentences with a preposition is just fine. There are no grammar rules against it. Stop parroting what your momma told you. She doesn't know grammar either.

Michael in LH
Michael in LH

 Well, no. I was trying to say she's a whore.

Daniel
Daniel

So you're saying my mama didn't know that about which she was talking?

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

I keep it classy! Methinks that Millwood will be one of y'alls three best pitchermen..while pitching at home, with a strong wind blowing towards homeplate..if it's raining and your dome is opened up.  He was our open day starter til we got an ass ton of real pitchers. 

When Sea is the two time defending AL champs, we will all learn the name of your manager.

In closing, good luck with your bottom!

Steve
Steve

This from a guy with a blog entry titled "Strangely excited for Kevin Millwood."

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Meh, I'll withhold comment directly at the blogger, while addressing his points. My homerism will probably wear off in a couple of weeks and then I'll regret what I said.My takeaway from last night? 1. Yu will be alright. Hell, any pitcher with this type of run support will be alright. 2. I didn't really notice the overcheering. Maybe the audio of the Seattle broadcast was different than the Texas one. Except for the standing ovation and all the home runs, seemed like a typical crowd. In regards to the ovation, I won't knock our crowd for welcoming the guy to the team. We love winners, and we're hoping Yu will help get a championship. We'll also boo your ass if you give substandard effort(see Lamar Odom).3. Twitter is overrated. I could skim just about any baseball blowhard's twitter account for over-homerism or other overreaction. Jason Parks twitter seems more, idk, informational than yours? Pot calling kettle _______ .Here are some of my favs of yours from yesterday: @elsnopolis "Brendan Ryan is such a bad ass""You suck Brendan Ryan""Damn it Brendan Ryan""Ackley? Take a fricking pitch""Brendan Ryan is absolutely pissing me off""What the hell is Bill Krueger talking about?"4. We eat everything in Texas. Pizza is at every venue pal. As much as we love bbq, we don't eat it every meal.5. Yu Darvish will be alright. Remember that Cliff Lee guy? His debut was a complete game, 6-1 loss to the Orioles(I like to call them the Mariners of the East).Got a little wordy there. If you made it this far, you have too much time on your hands.

Mervis
Mervis

2. Rangers Fans Cheer Really Randomly - Admittidly there are bandwagon fans showing up at the ballpark. Remember all those hardcore Cowboy fans that used to sneer at the Rangers and baseball itself.

3. Twitter Makes People So Stupid - Enough said.

4. Who Eats Pizza in Texas? Who comments on the food at the game when you've been hired to write about Yu and all that jazz.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

WTF Tone, there's 1400 aspiring writers/bloggers in DFW proper and you're roping in Seattle hacks?  Not only do you hate Sports and the people of New Orleans, now you have Texas Rangers baseball team and fans in your sights.  Eff this guy..just don't run sport stuff (I know you love to hear this from me) if you can't get a local guy to write for the food coupons you pay them with.

I thought Yu rallied his arse off after being way overhyped for the first inning. Could it of been better? Sure..Was it a win? Sure..One game of 162...no need to kneejerk this quickly.

primi timpano
primi timpano

 Agree.  Where is Sam Merton?

Watched on TV and from my view the ump was calling a tight strike zone--especially inside/outside, but regardless the fast ball didn't move much and too often was in the wheelhouse.  Later innings the fastball looked better as did the off speed stuff. Still would have liked to have seen more first pitch strikes.  Nice to see the hitting wake up.

Mervis
Mervis

They can't hire anybody fulltime to write sports cause Witless could then maybe sue?????????

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

 Remind me why I hate New Orleans. I honestly can't remember.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

We asked Seattle-based sports blogger and A.L. West obsessive Brian Elsner to review Yu Darvish's Major League debut from a division foe's perspective

Let's not.Anyone with the slightest knowledge of pitching could tell you that Darvish's inconsistency was due to his release point.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...