On the threshold of pitchers and catchers reporting to open spring training, one prominent pitcher has found a way through the actual or allegedly paralytic free agency market into a Cubs uniform. Yu Darvish, last seen being nuked by the Astros in Game Seven of the World Series, has signed for six years and $125 million. Some call it a bargain, considering Darvish projected to six and $154 million on expected performance. Others call it a big risk. There may be a little of both involved.
It’s bad enough that the goat business isn’t really going out of business in sports. Now the goat has to apologise on broadcast camera?
A TMZ reporter caught up with Yu Darvish this weekend. With camera. Asking Darvish how he was feeling, two or three days after the Astros made an inning-and-two-thirds pinata out of him for the second time in two World Series starts.
Give Yu Darvish credit. He owned this one and didn’t flinch. He went out to start Game Seven of the World Series, got torn apart in an inning and two thirds, and felt even worse for letting down the team he appreciated for giving him another postseason shot in the first place.
Especially because his previous Series start, in Game Three, went the same way, only with one less run against him.
For pulling Rich Hill in the fourth in Game Two when Hill clearly lost his stuff, Dave Roberts got roasted because of what happened five innings later. For leaving Yu Darvish in Game Three to get jumped for four in the second on a night Darvish had no stuff to begin with, it wouldn’t be out of line to deep fry him.
Psychologically speaking, when you get Sandy Koufax’s endorsement for a trip to the World Series it’s gilt-edged insurance. Speaking in baseball, alas, the Dodgers’ more than impressive sweep of the Diamondbacks out of their National League division series was just step one.
The Dodgers await the net results of the Nationals-Cubs division series. Which of them proves the Dodgers’ League Championship Series opponent didn’t exactly seem to faze Koufax as he stood outside the Chase Field visitors’ clubhouse while the Dodgers partied heartily enough after Monday’s 3-1 win.
Perhaps as an unintended omen, Sandy Koufax took a walk through the Dodgers’ clubhouse at Citi Field Friday night, before the Dodgers sent their new toy, Yu Darvish, out to face the Mets. But maybe the Dodgers didn’t need a Hall of Fame omen for Darvish to manhandle what’s left of this year’s Mets.
About the only thing anyone disagreed upon after Darvish shut the Mets out with seven scoreless en route a 6-0 win was whether or not Darvish finished his night’s work by wrapping Dodger manager Dave Roberts in a big bear hug.
What a difference two non-waiver trade deadline deals involving two pitching aces make. Yu Darvish to the Dodgers figures to solidify a team that looks like it has the National League West sewn up and in the bank; Sonny Gray to the Yankees, say most analysts so far, means the Yankee rebuild is over and Joe Girardi, in the words of ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, now manages for his job.
Police brutality—by or against—is a horrible thing. Unless you’re the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers in the first two American League division games. The set goes to Toronto with the Rangers very much in danger of losing not only their badges but their minds.
Name one Ranger who expected to get destroyed 15-3 over the course of the two games. Name one who expected Cole Hamels to get billyclubbed for seven runs (six earned) in three and a third in Game One, or possibly still-slightly-ailing Yu Darvish to get bludgeoned for as many home runs as he had strikeouts in Game Two.
Maybe the one thing absolutely guaranteed about 2012 was that Mike Trout would nail the American League’s Rookie of the Year honours, which was made official with Monday night’s announcement. It wasn’t even close.
Trout landed every last first place vote possible as the unanimous pick. Nobody else in the running—not Yoenis Cespedes, not Yu Darvish, not Wei-Yin Chen, not Jarrod Parker—got any higher than 45 percent of a share of the voting. Bryce Harper landed the National League’s Rookie of the Year honours in a slightly tighter competition, with five more votes than runner-up Wade Miley and 70 percent of a share to Miley’s 66. The remaining National League contenders—Todd Frazier, Wilin Rosario, Norichika Aoki, Yonder Alonso (now, that’d be a name, if he had more than a little long ball power), Matt Carpenter, Jordan Pacheco—fell well behind Harper and Miley.
Don’t be surprised if the word “defiance” turns up on Baltimore Orioles’ caps or uniform sleeves somewhere during this postseason. Their very season seems to define it, and the way they pushed the Texas Rangers out of it seems to redefine it.
My God, the Rangers even managed to load the pads on Oriole closer Jim Johnson with two out in the bottom of the ninth and David Murphy coming up, and all they could do was watch in mute horror when Murphy’s fly settled into Baltimore left fielder Nate McLouth’s glove for the game, 5-1.