Yu Darvish’s highly-anticipated debut at Dodger Stadium with the Los Angeles Dodgers proved to be a letdown for the right-hander, and nearly immediately, as his first pitch of the game was hit for a home run.
Darvish’s start ultimately came to an end because of back tightness. It was an issue that cropped up in last week’s outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but isn’t considered serious. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the removal was simply out of precaution.
Darvish revealed he initially was not keen on coming out of the game. A conversation with Clayton Kershaw, recovering from a lower back strain, was enough to sway him.
“In between innings I talked to Kershaw a little bit and he asked me how my body felt,” Darvish said through a translator. ”
“I told him I feel something in my back and he said, ‘We need you really bad in six weeks. That’s when we need you the most.’ That’s what kind of made my change my mind.”
Darvish wound up allowing three solo homers over six innings. He entered having recorded at least three strikeouts in each of his 124 career Major League starts, yet only managed two. What’s more, they didn’t come until the sixth inning.
Roberts dismissed any concern over the subpar outing and added Darvish is scheduled to make his next start. That of course could change, as the Dodgers are sure to err on the side of caution.
While the 31-year-old has factored into the team pushing along without Kershaw, fact of the matter is Darvish was acquired with the postseason in mind. He gives Los Angeles a one-two punch at the top of the rotation not seen since Zack Greinke signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers may get their first glimpse at a tandem of Kershaw and Darvish by the end of this month, as the three-time Cy Young Award is scheduled to throw a second simulated game on Monday.