Although Yu Darvish became the fastest pitcher in MLB history to 1,000 career strikeouts, his start against the Colorado Rockies did not end on a positive note. Coming off the shortest outing of his career (three innings), Darvish failed to get through the fifth on Friday night.
Up to that point, he’d allowed just one run — on a Carlos Gonzalez homer in the first inning. Darvish struck out five and retired nine of the first 10 batters faced. “Through four innings, I thought he threw the ball very well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“There was one pitch to Gonzalez that he tried to go in on him and it just ran over the plate. Through the four innings, really good. I thought the stuff was really good. The slider, curveball, he was striking, fastball had life in the zone. I thought he repeated his delivery and competed.”
Roberts noted the ball Curtis Granderson misplayed and Raimel Tapia’s flare that Joc Pederson nearly made a diving catch on as reason for Darvish not to be discouraged.
“If you look at the body of work and quality of contact, I still thought Yu threw the baseball very well,” Robers said. “You look at that inning, I thought the walk to Lucroy was a bad walk but outside of that, the Blackmon ball was the only one hit hard. It’s just one of those things.”
Darvish is 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA, 4.69 FIP and 1.55 WHIP in six starts for the Dodgers. His performance has largely been underwhelming since an impressive debut after the non-waiver trade deadline.
There also was a stint on the 10-day disabled list due to back tightness, though it was more out of precaution than indicative of the severity of the injury. During the time he was sidelined, the 31-year-old worked with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to refine mechanics and arm slot.
“The last couple of outings when I was pitching I was constantly thinking about my mechanics,” Darvish said through his interpreter. “Today I wasn’t thinking about it. I was just going out there and pitching. The fifth inning was more me getting behind in the count.”
After his last start, Darvish detailed the disconnect between his thoughts and intentions to the end result. He likened it believing you’re walking straight, but not, and the frustration that would set in with trying to correct it.
The right-hander joined a Dodgers team that was blistering through their schedule and were on pace to tie the MLB record of 116 wins in a single season. A recent skid mathematically eliminated that from potentially becoming a reality.
“The first couple weeks when I joined the team they were playing really good baseball,” Darvish said. “I was actually surprised that everything we did was working. Right now it’s on the opposite side.
“The team is not playing well, but the guys are working hard. It amazes me how hard they are working to win. That’s just showing me that we’re a good team.”