He’d just made his second big league start, holding the Twins to one earned run in 5.2 innings in a 6-2 Rangers win in Minnesota, but the big league scout whom Fox Sports columnist Ken Rosenthal chased down for comments wasn’t even mildly impressed.
“He’s going to give up a ton of hits,” said the scout. “A lot of his fastballs are very straight. The guy is supposed to throw hard. But he basically pitched at 89 to 92, touching 93-94. That’s pretty good in Japan. It’s not very good here.
“He has a good cutter, a good curveball. But when he gets in trouble, he turns into a breaking-ball guy – nibble, nibble, he won’t let it go. He reminded me of Dice-K.”
After that start, Darvish rattled off five quality starts out of six (falling two outs short in the other start), and it wasn’t close to the best run he had in 2012.
And nothing he did in 2012 was close to what he’s doing right now.
Not sure how good a year that scout has had.
I have a pretty good idea about Daisuke Matsuzaka’s year, on the other hand. After six seasons that ended badly – he made more starts his first two years with Boston than his final four years combined – the Sox let him wander into free agency, after which Cleveland signed him in mid-February, released him in late March, re-signed him to a minor league deal, and inserted him in the AAA Columbus Clippers rotation.
Matsuzaka took the ball eight days ago against the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, a club he’d pitched for on rehab in 2008 and in 2009 and in 2010 and in 2012. Coming in with an 0-2, 4.58 record, the 32-year-old number three starter for the Clippers cruised through three perfect innings before exiting the game with an abdominal strain, which is unrelated to the shoulder strains or neck strains or forearm strains or elbow surgery that have dogged his stateside career. He hasn’t pitched since.
As Matsuzaka’s career got underway, most probably would have expected him to have been in Arlington this weekend. He wasn’t, which is sort of a shame, because maybe that same scout could have been dispatched here to file an update, while nibble-nibbling on a Beltre Buster, as to whether Darvish and Matsuzaka still seemed to him like the same pitcher.
But Matsuzaka wasn’t here.
And neither was I.
I didn’t see Derek Holland deal and Adrian Beltre explode in Friday night’s pizza and donuts game. I didn’t see Saturday’s methodical win, in which Alexi Ogando and the club’s top three relievers were all sharp and every starter had a hit other than Nelson Cruz. I didn’t see Cruz make up for it on Sunday on Jon Lester’s 100th pitch, in support of what was pretty clearly another crazy-awesome day on the mound for Darvish, against the club that hammered him in August into a well-chronicled meeting with Ron Washington that to date serves, symbolically if not more so, as a turning point in the righthander’s young big league career.
And I didn’t see Beltre finish off his former club yesterday with a walkoff RBI single, which is more than Mike Napoli (1 for 10, four strikeouts) can say for his weekend, but I still do love Nap and wish he were still here.
Though if he were, Mitch Moreland (6 for 11 with a homer) probably wouldn’t have played all three games.
I saw none of it, partly because I was in San Antonio for the P.A.S.T. Time Super Series 8U tournament, in which Elite Black and Elite Royal both played their way into the championship game, with Elite Black prevailing.
And partly because, when you dutifully see to it that your socks don’t match and, on top of that, you miss the game, and a big league streak happens to turn on its head, you don’t make an effort to find the next game on TV, or to roll out a wardrobe adjustment. You stick with it.
Until your club loses a game.
Respect the streak.
Enjoy Tepesch-Feldman. I can’t watch the game myself.
Well, I mean, I can.
But I can’t.