In light of the pending switch to the American League, each week TCB is helping you adjust to the trauma, breaking down a particular topic each week...Next up we look at Japanese sensation and Texas Ranger Yu Darvish.
Dervish? I thought that was the name of wandering Islamic pilgrims?
TCB: Darvish. Practice the spelling because you'll get a heck of a lot of use out of it in the next few years.
When will I get to see him/her/it?
TCB: The Astros play the Rangers next on the 15/16/17 June, so they could easily get their first look at him then. After that five or six times a year if we're 'lucky'.
Hideo Nomo or Kei Igawa?
TCB: Most definitely the former rather than the latter. In fact, Darvish may live up to the expectations people placed in Daisuke Matsuzaka before his debut with the Red Sox.
Does he throw the Gyroball then?
TCB: I have tried and failed to dig up one of the most intriguing baseball articles I ever read, describing an American's journey around Japan to confirm this mysterious pitch. Statistically Matsuzaka never really threw what was called the Gyroball in the States. Darvish is purported to throw a Shuuto.
English, do you speak it?
More after the jump.
TCB: Shuuto, yes. Where to begin? Discussion of Japanese pitches seem to create more confusion than they actually solve. Some compare it to a screwball, and others two a two-seam fastball. Not especially helpful. But to be honest he uses his fastball, slider and cutter as his three main pitches anyway.
And the results so far?
TCB: Good. Apart from his monstrous 5.1 BB/9, but excellent 10.1 K/9. That would indicate wildness on the face of it, but I would have to dig deeper. His best outing was 8 ⅓ shutout innings against the Yankees. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Can he stick it out and be the Ichiro of pitching?
TCB: Matsuzaka had two excellent seasons before essentially breaking, Nomo was a phenomenon at first, but his career steadily disintegrated. Darvish may dazzle now, but the real test is whether he is still doing it in three or four years. Because the Rangers put a lot of money towards securing his services.
Some readers have enjoyed a rather whimsical look at what headlines Yu might post in his time with the Rangers.