Yu Darvish news and notes from April 16, 2012:
Saeko appeared at a press event for her cosmetic line, BONAVOCE, on Monday and admitted to reporters that she watched her former husband pitch on TV with her two sons. She also said she would like to go to the US to watch Darvish pitch once things settle down a little more.
Darvish went out to eat at a restaurant near the team hotel with about ten other players after his last start on Saturday.
Sponichi mentions the following three things Darvish worked on during his last start:
- From wind-up to no wind-up. Less movement means more stability. Paced himself a little more by glancing downward when beginning his motion (when he brings his left foot back).
- Moving from the first base side of the rubber to the third base side of the rubber. Allows him to throw to the outside corners against right-handed hitters and inside to left-handed hitters.
- More four-seam fastballs. From 16% in his first start to 21% in his second start.
The report also mentions:
- Darvish was replaced mid-inning his first two starts of the season. The last time he was replaced mid-inning while pitching in Japan was on May 7, 2008. And he was replaced mid-inning two or more games in a row just two times during his NPB career: August-September 2005 and April 2006 (both times three games in a row).
- He started just one regular season NPB game on four-days of rest: September 11, 2011 vs Rakuten, seven shutout innings.
The first off day of the season today gives the Rangers a chance to move right-hander Yu Darvish up from the No. 4 spot and slide lefty Matt Harrison down one without anyone having to pitch on short rest.
"It's something that we're thinking about," Washington said Sunday. "We haven't come to any conclusion about it."
Sponichi, Nikkan Sports, and Sanspo have posted portions of his post-game press conference on Saturday.
This is a question regarding the play you made at home plate. What was going through your mind when you made that play?
The minute I threw the ball, I thought it was going to be a wild pitch. When I threw the ball, it did not feel like it was going to bounce in front, so I started runner the moment the ball left my hand.
You allowed nine hits.
For many of those nine hits I got the batters to chase (or, "the balls were not hit very hard") so I feel I did better than my last start.
It seemed you were holding back a little on velocity. Is this because you are placing more emphasis on your control?
The readings are different at each stadium so it really was not about that.
Have you learned anything from your two starts?
I do not know my opponents enough. I do not know how they will react to my pitches. I need to find out. I think that will be the key to my success.
Second, Nikkan Sports:
You changed a number of things, including no wind-up pitching.
The intention... Well, changing things each game is something I also did in Japan. And it just happened to be that way today. I do think there were moments when there were runners on and I had a hard time with my control when trying to throw the ball harder.
What about pitching without a wind-up?
There is no difference between pitching with the wind-up and without the wind-up. Things do change when I pitch from the stretch.
You allowed nine hits. Compared to your last start, is there anything you learned?
With regards to those nine hits, I got many of the batters to hit the pitches (or, "the balls were not hit very hard"). They were hits that could not be helped so it was ok.
You now have two starts under your belt. What did you take away from them?
I do not know my opponents enough. I feel I need to see how batters react to my pitches. In that sense, this start against the Twins and my first start against the Mariners, I remember [the results]. I think that will become very important. And I think that will the biggest thing to help me succeed.
And last, Sanspo:
On your start...
I had trouble with my control when I had runners on base.
After your wild pitch in the fourth inning, you managed to get an out at home plate...
I thought it was going to be a wild pitch the minute I threw it. I did not think the ball was going to bounce in front of the catcher, so I started running the moment my foot hit. Going in from the third base side and into the base-runner meant a smaller chance of him getting to home plate. I thought I would be ok doing it. I felt I could get the out if I got the ball.
You allowed nine hits.
I got many of the batters to hit the ball (or, "the balls were not hit very hard"). Some that was better in comparison to my first start.
You topped out at 94mph. Did you hold back?
The readings are different depending on the stadium. It is not about accuracy and I do not think it was lack of stuff.
What did you address in between starts?
Nothing really, in terms of the technical and mental aspects.
You were from wind-up to no wind-up.
Changes things each time is something I did in Japan. Not much changes between pitching with the wind and pitching without the wind. Things do change when pitching from the set position.
Why change it?
Simply put, you know how you have multi-colored pens? It is about as simple as changing the color of your pen. If the red does not come out, you go to the black. That is all it is.
On your first road game...
I pitched exhibition games on the road so... I do enjoy all the stadium environments.