When I saw Yu Darvish make his debut in spring training last month I watched a guy who pounded the zone and showed a good 4-5 pitches with insane movement. In his first couple of regular season starts, however, he seemed tentative and nibbling and an altogether different guy.
That changed in a major way against the Yankees last night.
Showing off his full array of stuff and, more importantly, throwing strike after strike, Darvish baffled the Yankees, throwing eight and a third scoreless innings and striking out ten. At least one future Hall of Famer was impressed. Here’s Jeter on Darvish:
“He has a lot of different pitches. We really didn’t know what to expect,” Jeter said. “He had the fastball, two-seamer, cutter, four-seamer, curveball, slider, change-up — he’s got pretty much everything.”
Some believe he had something else working in there too. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus — who has been watching Darvish since before he even faced a batter in spring training — is convinced that he threw a “shutto” pitch, or a reverse slider last night, which the announcers mistook for his four-seam fastball.
Whatever he’s throwing, it’s filthy. And what he did to the Yankees last night was practically obscene.
In between one inning during every home game at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillie Phanatic will drive around the edge of the playing field shooting hot dogs into the stands from a pneumatic gun — a hot dog cannon, if you will — mounted on an ATV. Until Monday night, a fan had never been injured during this event.
Sarah Bloomquist of 6 ABC reports that, unfortunately, a Phillies fan was injured on Monday night when the Phillies opened a three-game home series with the Cardinals. Kathy McVay of Plymouth Meeting, PA was hit in the face. McVay said, “I have a small hematoma in my eye. And mostly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s going to go down the side of my face.” She also suffered cuts and bruises and had to be taken to the hospital to be tested for a concussion.
McVay doesn’t plan to take legal action against the Phillies and seems to be taking the injury with a good sense of humor. She said, “It gives people a good laugh, and if that makes somebody chuckle, then that’s fine.” McVay also advised fellow fans, “Just to be aware, because you never know. I understand a baseball, but not a hot dog.”
The Phillies reached out to apologize to McVay on Tuesday and offered her tickets to another game once she heals, assuming she would like to return to Citizens Bank Park.
One wonders if Monday’s incident might motivate the Phillies to do away with the hot dog cannon stunt. There’s really nothing gained by doing it, and there are plenty of other ways for the Phanatic to have fun with the fans around the ballpark.