Yu Darvish validated his midseason trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers by producing stellar performances in the National League Division Series and Championship Series. Starting in Games 3 each time, Darvish threw a combined 11.1 innings and allowed just two runs.
His start in the NLDS helped the Dodgers complete a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the outing at Wrigley Field gave the team a commanding 3-0 series lead over the defending World Series champions.
After closing out the Chicago Cubs in five games, the Dodgers were bound for their first Fall Classic in 29 years. A matchup with a vaunted Houston Astros awaited, but there was reason to remain confident in Darvish and the Los Angeles pitching staff.
The right-hander failed to do his part, however, as Darvish only recorded five outs in each of his two starts against the Astros, suffering the loss both times. Immediately following Game 7, there were whispers Darvish tipped pitches.
This week, an Astros player provided details on what the team picked up when Darvish went to deliver a pitch. During Tuesday’s media availability at the Winter Meetings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged the club was aware of the issue.
However, he placed the bigger emphasis on Darvish’s inability to execute his pitches, via the Dodgers’ Facebook page:
“I wasn’t surprised. We had conversations about that with Yu, and trying to kind of pin it down. Obviously, we weren’t successful. I think there’s something to that, but there’s also a lot more, for me, to execution. Where I think you could ask Yu, there just wasn’t a lot of execution going on. I know there was talks about it, tipping pitches and things like that, but it still boils down to executing pitches.”
Despite ending his season on a sour note, Darvish is viewed as one of the top starting pitchers available in free agency. He, along with Jake Arrieta, are expected to sign two of the more lucrative contracts this winter.