You might've thought that March 7 was just another day of spring training baseball, but it wasn't, at least for one team. Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Rangers matched up against the San Diego Padres, and starting for the Rangers was none other than Yu Darvish, making his inter-squad debut.
Needless to say, it was a highly anticipated debut, albeit maybe more for media members than for the fans.
Ballpark in Peoria about half full for Yu Darvish, but people are hanging out of the press box. 150 media credentials #Rangers— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) March 7, 2012
On the other hand:
Fans + media are lining the rail above the #Rangers bullpen area to watch Darvish. One fan doing so on other side, watching Suppan warm.— Follow The Padres (@FollowThePadres) March 7, 2012
So, how did Darvish do? That's what everybody cares about. Darvish's outing was limited, as is the case with all outings this early in the spring. He threw just two innings and 36 pitches. But those were two pretty good innings, even if they were against a split-squad Padres lineup. Of those 36 pitches, 26 were strikes. Darvish didn't walk anybody or allow a run, and he generated three strikeouts. He also generated nine swinging strikes. Again, that's nine swinging strikes on 36 pitches.
He did allow a first-inning double to Orlando Hudson, and a second-inning double to Will Venable. Venable's shot just about left the yard. Darvish wasn't untouchable. But, I mean, just look at this, from here:
The stadium PITCHfx system had Darvish topping out around 94-95 miles per hour. He also threw some wicked breaking balls, obviously. Everybody already knew what Darvish threw - he was covered extensively in Japan, and I've seen more Darvish scouting reports this offseason than I've seen squirrels in my life - but for some reason it's still reassuring to see that stuff in the States. Or terrifying, if you're a fan of any team that isn't the Rangers.
One start, two innings. We can't say all that much about Yu Darvish we couldn't have already said. But now we've seen him against major league hitters, on camera. He looked like Yu Darvish. Still no reason to believe he won't be outstanding, unless he gets hurt, which he might. I shouldn't end on that note but I'm going to anyway.