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Yu Darvish and Unrealistic Expectations

October 27th, 2017 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

The Dodgers can’t have expected Yu Darvish to throttle the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the World Series.

Well, maybe they did, given his solid performances in his first two outings of the postseason. But Yu has been fairly consistently inconsistent for the past two seasons — or since returning from more than a year off following Tommy John elbow surgery in March of 2015.

And, bang, there he went, up in flames, gone in the second inning of a 5-3 Dodgers defeat tonight that puts them in a 2-1 hole in the 2017 World Series.

There were signs of a possible conflagration with Yu on the mound.

Just before he was traded to the Dodgers, Darvish was tagged for 10 earned runs in 2.2 innings in his final start with the Texas Rangers.

In nine regular-season starts with the Dodgers, he gave up at least three runs in six innings or fewer … four times. Twice he was knocked around for five earned.

It seems pretty clear he is not the same guy who often overpowered opponents before elbow surgery. In 2013, he struck out 277 in 209.2 innings, with an ERA of 2.83, and was the runner-up to Max Scherzer for the American League Cy Young Award. In 2014, he struck out 182 in 144.1 IP in a season shortened by injury.

He missed 2015 entirely and did not return until two months of the 2016 season had elapsed, then missed another batch of games with “neck and shoulder pain”. He made only 17 starts.

The Dodgers seemed to shrug off tonight’s defeat as “bad night at the office” for their starting pitcher, but Yu was badly knocked around, giving up six hits, including a home run and three doubles as he got only five outs and did not strike out a batter. He registered only one swinging strike in 49 pitches.

He pretty much had nothing. So much nothing, in fact, that it makes a person wonder if his arm is hurting again.

It is fair to suggest the Dodgers would have been better off with Kenta Maeda starting. His 2017 was not particularly dissimilar to Darvish’s, but he is the guy who left the rotation to move to the bullpen for the postseason, where he has thrown nine scoreless innings, giving up only two hits.

The Astros led baseball in runs, so taking the ball, in Houston, was never going to be an easy task.

Just not sure Darvish was up to it, and how many of us can say we were actually surprised at the way things unraveled?

Now, the Dodgers have a bullpen that just threw 7.1 innings, with Maeda unavailable, going into Game 4, where they need Alex Wood to throw six strong innings — which may be too much to expect, too.



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