I was watching an interview on TV featuring Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish on TV Asahi and managed to jot down a few interesting tidbits.
- Darvish doesn't actually have very long arms. He's 196cm talls, and yet his arm span is actually shorter than Hideaki Wakui and Daisuke Matsuzaka, both shorter than Darvish by at least 10cms.
Darvish also has fairly small hands, at least in comparison to his height. However, this maybe the reason why he has fairly good control despite being tall.
- It was against Australia that Darvish finally began to realize that he needs to keep his emotions under control and pitch within his limits. He said that he has a tendency to overthrow because he wants to show everyone that he's a good pitcher. Except when he overthrows, he tends to lose control and movement of his pitches.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka is working on his slider. It's a pitch that he really started working on last season. During the interview, they showed a replay of a slider he threw against A-Rod that resulted in a swinging strike out.
Against Australia, Matsuzaka couldn't get the pitch over like he wanted, so he spent time in the bullpen after his appearance to work on the slider. he focused primarily on his grip.
- Comparison tests done on the WBC-regulation balls vs NPB balls show that there's more movement on WBC-regulation balls. This is actually good news for both Matsuzaka and Darvish because their shuto (two-seam) pitches are that much more pronounced. Not only can it be an effective pitch against righties, with the added movement, it can also be an effective pitch against lefties.
- Matsuzaka said he felt that the current team feels more together than the team that was selected for the first WBC.
- Darvish said he'd love to see Matsuzaka get a complete game at some point during the WBC. Matsuzaka said that it was possible and that he'd love to try and do it.
- Matsuzaka said that he'd like to see Darvish take the spot Uehara held when he pitched for Japan during the first WBC. Since Darvish starts the first game of the WBC for Japan, he has the ability set the tone.
After the interview, the following lineup was suggested as a possibility:
The explanation as to why Ichiro was in the lead-off spot: it's possible Hara may want to put Ichiro in his usual spot in the order to help him work out of his mini-slump.