Dodgers Rookie Yoshinobu Yamamoto Enjoyed ‘Great Vibe’ For Dodger Stadium Debut

Yoshinobu Yamamoto labored through just one inning for his MLB debut but was much improved on Saturday night, albeit in a no-decision as the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in extra innings.

Yamamoto began the second start of his career by striking out the side on just 15 pitches. His dazzling performance came as a light drizzle turned into a downpour that ultimately caused a 35-minute rain delay.

It dampened Yamamoto’s Dodger Stadium debut some but he still enjoyed the experience of pitching at home for the first time since signing the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.

“That was a great vibe,” Yamamoto said through interpreter Yoshihiro Sonoda. “Crowd, fans, I enjoyed it. That was great.”

The right-hander somewhat surprisingly remained in the game after the rain delay and finished his night with five strikeouts over five scoreless innings.

“Compared to the last one, I think I had my stuff back,” Yamamoto said. “I’ve got to keep doing it. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

When asked what adjustments were made compared to his MLB debut, Yamamoto noted he primarily didn’t have to fight as many nerves.

Dodgers teammates praise Yoshinobu Yamamoto

From manager Dave Roberts to teammates, the Dodgers collectively have not wavered in the confidence they have Yamamoto will realize his potential.

“He did an amazing job of bouncing back and not letting the first one affect him,” said Mookie Betts, who hit a home run in his fourth consecutive game. “Even the day of that first start, you couldn’t really tell. You couldn’t really tell what went on.

“It’s really neat to see someone with a lot of pressure handling it so well.”

Will Smith added: “I feel like he got to settle in a little better than his last outing. He was really executing his pitches, moving his fastball around, his curveball and splitter were on, so that was a lot of fun. It was pretty promising to see.”

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