When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, it was widely viewed as the best team in baseball somehow becoming even more of a juggernaut.
Six weeks later, the aura of invincibility and excitement over Darvish’s arrival have worn off. The Dodgers are mired in an 11-game losing streak, a 1-16 stretch and Darvish has been inconsistent in his six starts with the team.
Darvish spent time on the 10-day disabled list due to back tightness, which was a period that was used to work on refining his mechanics and arm slot. He’s failed to pitch more than five innings in any of the three starts since coming off the DL.
Although Darvish has not met expectations, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman explained he’s not concerned about the right-hander, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“Obviously, the first [start] was really good. The second one was pretty good. And then he got into some delivery stuff that took a little bit to iron out. The most important thing for me is that the ball out of his hand, the stuff, is good. I felt like the other night was the first time in this little stretch that he pitched way better than his line.”
Darvish went seven shutout innings and struck out 10 in his debut with the Dodgers, and produced a second consecutive start with 10 punchouts but labored through five innings. The 31-year-old has allowed at least one home run in his past four starts, including a season-high tying three homers to the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 16.
Darvish’s streak of 124 starts to begin his career with at least three strikeouts was snapped in that same rough outing against the White Sox, and his three innings pitched on Sept. 2 at Petco Park marked the shortest start of Darvish’s career.
Despite only going 4.1 innings and allowing five runs for a second time in a row, Darvish was encouraged by not being as bogged down by thoughts of his mechanics. Darvish previously touched on the frustration that was coming with the adjustment, likening it to believing to be walking in a straight line, but not, and working to correct it.
Despite some of the bumps in the road, Darvish became the fastest pitcher in MLB history to record 1,000 career strikeouts. He reached the milestone in 134 games and 853 innings pitched.
Darvish is scheduled to start Wednesday in the series finale against the San Francisco Giants.