People have been getting rather excited over the possibility of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish coming to America for some time. Recently we learned that, nope, it won’t be in 2011. David Lennon of Newsday reports however that it will happen in 2012.
Interesting, I suppose, but one of the biggest knocks on Darvish is that he’s had a pretty heavy workload in Japan. This season alone he had multiple 150+ pitch outings and at least a half dozen of 135 or more (note: I got that from an NPB tracker post from June; he most likely had more such outings since then). He’s less valuable to Major League teams now than he would have been a couple of years ago because of that, and if he’s similarly abused in 2011 — and if he’s all but gone after the season, why wouldn’t his Japanese manager abuse him all the more? — he might be a shell of his former self by the time he’s posted for the U.S.
Consider me bearish in the extreme on this guy. His ERA has been sparkling, but he’s got more miles on that odometer than U.S. pitchers several years his senior. Buyer beware.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.