Darvish responded well after the Rangers gave him eight days of rest. Maybe Texas should move to a seven-man rotation to closer simulate the kind of rest Darvish got in Japan. Fatigue and being able to handle the heavy demands of the major league calendar was a major concern surrounding Darvish’s signing. This experiment certainly proves a well-rested Darvish is a better rested Darvish. The question remains, can Darvish adjust his body and workload to fit into the major league requirements?
Darvish’s dominance of the Astros wasn’t entirely about getting enough rest. The way he worked the batters and approached the game was consistent with the previous successful games he’s had. The secret to a dominant Darvish performance is throwing first pitch strikes. When he allows himself to get the ball over early, he stays ahead and puts himself in a position to close batters out. When he nibbles and gets too fine with his fastball, he loses his command and confidence, which leads to walks and eventually high run totals.
Against the Astros, Darvish was able to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate, often going outside and then inside to the same batter. This kept the Astro hitters off balance and looking very uncomfortable trying to hit against Darvish. His curveball was also on, as it usually is, but was even more effective since his fastball was accurate. In the past we have seen Darvish trying too hard to outthink his opponents and throwing a lot of first pitch off speed stuff. Against Houston, he didn’t try to be tricky, he just established his dominance early and often.
In Darvish’s disastrous start against Oakland, you could almost see the gears in his head turning, reducing the game of baseball to an over complicated game of chess. It looked as though Darvish thought every batter would hit a massive home run against him. You can’t pitch like that. Out of that mindset, Darvish was reluctant to throw the ball confidently over the plate, and the walks and runs piled up fast.
There was no fear in Darvish’s game against the Astros. As a result, it was only the Houston batters who looked nervous and overmatched. Darvish’s talent coupled with his confidence are his greatest weapons. If he keeps those with him, he can win the Cy Young award. If he forgets them, I’m sure there are triple A pitchers that can outperform him. Texas gave him the pile of gold to be the rockstar he was in Japan.
And against Houston last weekend, his game looked worthy of a laser light show and a ten-minute guitar solo.
- theartofcompetition posted this