Is It Time To Worry About Yu Darvish?

In a word, YES!  I was against the acquisition of Darvish or Verlander because I felt both of their arms were about to fall off. Well, it looks like Verlander glued his back on but Yu Darvish has struggled mightily this year.  Frankly, he looks no better than Ryu or Maeda… except that he pitches deeper into games…. well, except that he didn’t last night.  In fact, last night was the shortest outing of his career.  According to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com,

Darvish seemed healthy enough with a 97-mph fastball, but he’s been throwing off a mound almost daily to work out mechanical flaws the club believes developed after his 2015 Tommy John surgery. Among the bad habits: a raised arm slot that dulled the late sideways break of his slider, and not striding directly toward home plate, cutting off the extension and finish to his pitches.

OK, I’ll buy that.  He looked very uncomfortable on the mound last night.  Not confident, and that is a recipe for disaster. Gurnick went on:

Darvish said muscle memory is the key to fixing both major flaws.

“There’s a gap between what I’m thinking in my mind and what I’m actually doing on the mound,” he said. “If I fix that, I feel I can pitch much better. As an example, sometimes I crow step too much to the third-base side but in my mind I’m stepping toward first-base side. It’s got me off course. Say you think you are walking straight, but you actually aren’t and you’re trying to fix it, that’s frustrating, right? It’s the same thing.”

I guess it is not health that is the issue.  It’s mechanics and unlike health, mechanics are fixable, but it’s not always easy.  Falling into bad habits over a period of weeks, months or years is hard to fix, quickly.  They’ve got about a month and we all need to realize that it could get worse before it gets better. We can only hope he fixes it before the playoffs.  If he doesn’t, it would not shock me if he is not on the playoff roster.

It would be nice to have the old Yu Darvish, but I still happen to believe that the Dodgers can win it all without him.  The lineup is just not potent without the Big Four clicking:  Taylor, Seager, Turner and Bellinger.  Belly is back.  Turner appears to be out of his slump.  Taylor has been there a good part of the year.  We are just waiting for Corey Seager to come back.  It might be another week or more.  He just needs to rest and not push it.

Rants and Raves

  • A-Gon is looking like he might have some left in the tank.  He will keep starting against RH pitchers with Cody going to LF.
  • Brock Stewart is very effective for 1 to 2 innings out of the pen.  As a starter, he does not have the pitches or stamina to cut it (at least this year). He has a 5.27 ERA as a starter and a 1.26 ERA as a reliever. In my opinion, he’s part of the playoff bullpen roster with Morrow, Stripling, Maeda, Avilan, and Fields.  Watson, Paredes, Ryu, Cingrani, Baez, McCarthy, Font and Liberatore will fight for two spots.
  • It appears the Dodgers are shutting down Buehler… at least it looks that way to me.  Probably the right call.
  • Don’t judge Font on just one outing. I think he has electric stuff for the pen.  I’m sure he was very nervous yesterday.
  • By the way the lefties in the bullpen were all excellent yesterday: Cingrani, Watson, Avilan and Paredes.
  • Verdugo needs to play a few more games, but even though he is not setting the world on fire, in 7 AB’s he has 1 hit, 1 strikeout and 2 BB. You can see he has a good idea how to hit. He’s not a major league CF’er.
  • I don’t have much hope for Ethier.  It’s too little, too late!
  • It would be great if Yasiel Puig could claim the #5 spot in the batting order.  I not counting on it however.

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don’t do game recaps or such things — lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don’t think they are the “end-all-be-all.”. This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We’d like to hear your voice.

This article has 48 Comments

  1. Re: Darvish, per Bill Plunkett:
    “Yu Darvish threw 7 scoreless IP v Mets in 1st #Dodgers start.
    Since then: 4 starts 19 IP 13 R 26 H (6 HR) 9BB
    6.16 ERA 1.89 WHIP .329 opp BA”

    RE: Dodgers’ offense:
    1 – They are hitting .257/.330/.378/.707 in September against the juggernaut that is the San Diego Padres
    2 – They hit .234/.325/.408/.733 against a very weak schedule of opponents (mostly) in Augugt
    3 – If they are going to fall apart without Bellinger or after he returned, without Seager then they’re not as good as we though they were
    4 – Guys that shouldn’t be getting AB (last 30 days):
    Granderson – .122/.283/.367/.651- 4 HR
    Kike – .191/.255/.298/.553 – 2 HR
    Utley – .204/.291/.327/.617 – 1 HR
    Agone – .220/.245/.330/.625 – 1 HR
    Forsythe – .213/.388/.323/.715 – 1 HR

    Here’s the question that I asked yesterday: “Who here thinks that the Dodgers can turn on winning with a switch?”
    The Dodgers have lost 7 out of 8. They have been playing the baseball equivalent of a prevent defense since mid-August. They’d better get serious about trying to win some games. They are really out of sync right now – offense doesn’t hit, starting pitchers are getting killed, bullpen failing in the clutch.

    1. I agree with you. Momentum is not a switch that can be turned on or off. The momentum has swung to the Off position. They need to right the ship after coughing up seven games of their lead. The offense is doing little and the starting pitchers honestly suck right now (outside of Kershaw and maybe Wood). Baez is like that girl who can be bad or good. Not a dilemma you want going into the playoffs. The D-Backs are on a roll. This weeks games against them will be a good barometer. I can’t stand the D-Backs (even though my wife’s cousin is their manager). Dodgers over blood anytime. Come on, Doc, kick some ass.

  2. I am reminded that on their best day, a team is not as good as they look and the same is true for their worst day.

    I don’t think they just “flip a switch” but they do evolve into it and they have plenty of time. I am not panicking.

    Granderson – .122/.283/.367/.651- 4 HR
    Kike – .191/.255/.298/.553 – 2 HR
    Utley – .204/.291/.327/.617 – 1 HR
    Agone – .220/.245/.330/.625 – 1 HR
    Forsythe – .213/.388/.323/.715 – 1 HR


    I would not be surprised if those guys started mashing!

    1. None of those guys have “mashed” all year – at least not at the ballpark. (I have no idea if they are mashing in their kitchens at home.)

      1. Rick

        Did you know that Agone has hit in a run, in the last three games that he has started in, and he did this, with two outs, every time?

        And this team struggles at times, with runners in scoring position, especially with two outs, so I think Agone can help with that.

        And I don’t know how you can compare Agone with these others players, that you have listed, because Agone has missed most of the season, and he is just coming back?

        And he has started to hit, and he has hit in more runs, then most anyone on the team, except Cody,,Turner, and Taylor, in this last series, and he hit in these runs every time, with two outs!

        This doesn’t make sense, unless you think Cody won’t hit, if he is playing in the outfield.

  3. We sucked yesterday!
    It felt like a spring training game.
    I hope Wood can get us a split and we can get back home.

    I don’t know how long this crap is going to last, but I sure hope it ends soon.

  4. They are going back to the old mattingly days where they didn’t play with a sense of urgency. These are major league teams they are playing against. To think we can just throw the glove out there is an insult to all and we are paying the price. Darvish is mostly hype he hasn’t pitched well all year. If he was really that good the rangers would have kept him. They decided he wasn’t worth it even though they are in the playoff hunt albeit wildcard. We have no reliable right handed pitcher option. We can only hope that darvish can get back to past years form. McCarthy Stewart maeda are terrible. For the long season they are serviceable but playoffs no way. I just hope we don’t fool around and lose home field advantage. If we get swept by the dbacks again we might be looking at a real disaster.

  5. Mark just to address “I would not be surprised if these guys started mashing” I would because none of them can hit except maybe agon. Forsyth maybe against a lefty but the rest have hit nearly at the Mendoza line all year. I hope they would but hope is not a strategy. Granderson can be hard to pitch to and has power but does not hit for average. If we are counting on these guys we are going to be quite disappointed. Outside of agons track record the rest are mediocre at best.

  6. You can’t have it both ways. Either it isn’t fair to evaluate his recent performance because he’s recently returned from injury, in which case the results of the past 3 games don’t count either, or you evaluate him on his work, not only based on his performance since returning from the DL but on his performance all season (and throw in last season for good measure.

    On the season, Gonzalez is hitting .247/.291/.249/.639 with 2 HR in 215 AB. His SLG rates 15th out of all position players who have suited up for LA this season, behind notables such as Joc, Kike, Farmer, Utley and Granderson. To put his SLG in perspective, among players with enough at bats to qualify, the worst SLG in the NL is Jose Peraza and his is .325. That is simply not enough production from a corner INF, especially one as slow as Gonzalez is.

    Gonzalez’ time has past – OK, he gets a single once in a while to knock in a run, but he shouldn’t be getting regular AB at this point in his career.

    1. Rick

      I don’t think you can compare Agone with Ethier, because Ethier has missed almost two seasons, since he has regularly played, unlike Agone, who played all of last year, and Agone hit in the highest percentage of runs on this team, last year too.

      And it is not fair to take Agone’s stats, from earlier in the season, when he was playing hurt, so those stats are not pertinent to what Agone is doing, right now!

      And every player on this team that you compared Agone too, like Kike, Joc, Farmer, Forsythe, except for Utley, doesn’t have close to Agone’s resume, and they were not playing hurt including Utley, like Agone was, earlier this season.

      And what Agone is slugging, is not important, with Cody in this line up, Cody more then makes up, for any power loss, with Agone.

      Agone is a much better bat, against righties, then most on your list, if not all, on your list.

      And Farmer doesn’t even have 15 at bats at the Majot league level, so I don’t see why you are putting him, in this discussion!

      Bottom line, I would trust Agone to hit in a run, more then most on this team, let alone, the players, on your list!

      And you are one that is always pointing out, that this team, has had trouble getting hits, when runners are in scoring position, so I would think you would value a hitter, that excells at doing, just that!

      And the fact that Agone has hit in more runs, then most have lately, is what is important, not what Agone did, when he was playing hurt!

      And it isn’t Agone or Bellinger, it is Agone, or Forsythe, Granderson, and other hitters, that are not producing at all, right now!

  7. I agree with SpokaneBob. I said it to my wife last night in game 2. These guys are putting out lineups like it is Spring Training. There is no way, AGon, Utley, and Ethier should be in the same lineup except for an old-timers game. This after, Segedin, Dickson, Verdugo, and Kike’ in the Game 1 lineup? When you have the lead, put the pedal to medal and do not let up. I also agree with Therealteten in that it is an insult to a ML team to trot out two lineups like they had yesterday. When they clinch home field advantage, then go ahead and take a couple of games like that, otherwise put the best team on the field.

    The team is showing how much they miss Corey Seager at the #2 hole in the lineup. They are now missing a true #2 and a true #5; a table setter and a run producer. Seager will be back to fill #2. Let Puig stay in the #5 until he can’t. His results have not been there, but who else? If he cannot, and if Logan still does not produce, then I have no problem with having Austin Barnes playing 2B when not catching, and bat #5. He is hitting both RHP and LHP, but RHP very well.
    .
    “Don’t judge Font on just one outing. I think he has electric stuff for the pen. I’m sure he was very nervous yesterday.” Thank you Mark for being a bit more realistic about a pitcher who has struggled to work himself back to what he accomplished this year. Most would have quit, but Font came back from Canadian Independent League Baseball to be PCL pitcher of the year. Wilmer Font is not a CY or a Rolaids Winner candidate, but he does have four pitches, two of which are plus plus (his fastball and splitter). I agree his command was not there and it could have been that he was trying to overthrow. He pitched fine in his first inning. Some of the same comments were said about Brandon Morrow, and I assume those same people will make them again after his poor outing yesterday. But Brandon has been rock solid for most of the games he has pitched in, and down right dominant in some. Let’s see what Font can do in his next few games before we say good-bye to him.
    .
    Edward Paredes has (or at least should have) put his name in serious consideration for a post-season bullpen roster spot. Tony Watson is also starting to pitch well. I am sure that he will blow up again, and to some he will again become a waste of a bullpen spot. In his last seven appearances Watson has pitched 6.2 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 BB, and 7K. Three of those appearance came in back to back games. In his twelve games as a Dodger he has been scored on in 3 games. In each of those games, he had 2 or 3 games between appearances. Even in the last 7 games, the one game he did have 2 games between, that is when he gave up 2 of his 4 hits. It seems Watson needs to pitch to stay effective. He is having a better run with the Dodgers than Justin Wilson is with the Cubs.
    .
    I would have preferred Verlander to Darvish, but really did not want either. I was hoping for Zach Britton. If not Britton, I would have been happy for no trade. But Darvish is now a Dodger. And if it is mechanical, then he has 4-5 more starts to work it out. He is working for his 2018-??? contract, so he is going to want to pitch well for the remainder of his walk season. I am pulling for him to find and correct those mechanical flaws. He is a ML All-Star pitcher, so he has it in him. I trust he will find it. More concerned than worry, and certainly not panic.

    1. AC

      I agree with you, that Ethier, Agone, and Utley, shouldn’t all be in the same line up together.

      Roberts needs to use these players smarty, and it wasn’t smart to have all of these guys together in the line up, especially after the AAA line up, in the prior game, and especially, after we lost that that prior game!

      And I do trust Morrow much better then I trust Baez, in the eighth, or any high leverage situation, because Morrow has mostly done well, in these situations.

      Baez may have a good era, but with relievers, that doesn’t mean much!

      Baez numbers are not that good, if you really look at his stats, so he shouldn’t fill the role, of our set up reliever, Morrow should!

      And I can not agree with you more about Paredes, and that our other new relievers, are doing much better lately.

      And I agree, since we don’t have anyone that can really fill Corey’s place in the line up, I would bat Barnes at the top of the order, and have Puig bat fifth!

      And I just read an article in the LA Times about Darvish, and this adjustment on Darvish’s delivery, was a suggestion by Honeycutt, and the team, not Darvish himself, but he has tried to make this adjustment, the best he can.

      I think they need to let Darvish pitch on his own, and he can make this adjustment in the off season, if he wants to do this, because Darvish was very good in his first start, before anyone talked to Darvish, about making this adjustment.

      And then we should see what Darvish will do, in his next few starts, by pitching like he has, all year.

      And I do think Roberts needs to manage this next game, like it is a game that is important in the division race, to get the team back on track, and he needs to have the best line up, in this game today, to reflect this game’s importance too!

  8. I said it before and I’ll say it again . I’m glad we’re on this cold, horrible streak. It will humble us and finally get us mad to where we do something about it.

    It may take something as little as one of our guys getting hit, which jolts the whole team awake. Whatever it is, we have another 10-14 days to figure it out, and then get revved up and hot in time for Oct 6. I saw this so often with the Laker championship teams. Yes, i know: we’re not a championship team yet. But we’re close. We’ll wake up soon, and this last week-10 days will be laughed at in a few weeks.

  9. Best lineup: Taylor cf seager ss turner 3b bellinger 1b Barnes 2b Puig rf grandal c granderson lf kershaw p if they get hot: Gonzalez, verdugo, might sneak in there. against lefties Forsyth could sneak in with Barnes catching

  10. Oh boy we get Granderson in the two hole again as his season avg approaches the Mendoza line for the season. I thought sabremetricians want their best hitter in the 2-hole. I guess he’s due for a knock

    1. Hawkeye

      Remember saber metrics want their best hitter, to get the most at bats, and also have more RBI situations, to hit in runs, then anyone on the team.

      I do understand why the thought of Granderson batting second, doesn’t inspire you!

  11. After a 9 game win streak and the Dodgers losing 7 of 8 the Snakes have closed to 14.5 back. Houston is 10 games back for home field in the WS and the team is 49 games over .500! Roberts is managing for the big picture and wanted to see the players just called up and to get them in the flow. The team wanted to get through the Sat DH and long stretch of no off days without too much wear and tear. They are cautious with Seager and not sold on Joc or McCarthy.

    Having said that the team needs a big game from Wood today and a win heading home for the huge match ups with Az and Col. My gut feeling is Az is peaking too soon and regardless will have to play a 1 game elimination burning Greinke. The Dodgers should be rested, healthy and hungry heading into the playoffs. The mojo we have come to expect will be returning soon enough, be patient my Dodger brothers!

    1. Vegas

      I think Wood needs to put the team on his back today too

      These guys have supplied our pitchers, with extra offense all year, and now it is the time for our starters to step up today, and in this next series.

  12. I would fear ray more than greinke as far as the dodgers are concerned. The dodgers should have gotten Martinez from Detroit then we wouldn’t be worried about left field. Arizona got a steal. Maybe they tried but the dbacks got him while giving up minimal if any value. They also got ray in a steal.

  13. Vegas, I agree. We will be ok. Darvish will figure it out. He was throwing 97 against the Mets. He does not have the command he needs.

  14. I would not have done that deal. It seems when it comes to trades that people want more from la than other teams relatively speaking. I did not like what Pittsburgh did with nicasio if reports are accurate. Pittsburgh wanted him to go to an American League contender rather than a national league team(cubs) I guess. Why? They shouldn’t have wanted him to go to any contender. They would rather see the American League win as the national league.? Maybe I am missing something.

  15. Looking at today’s lineup I hope Grandy breaks out, he has been pressing, not thrilled with him hitting 2nd. I would prefer Utley or Barnes at 2B but Forsythe plays and hits 8th. Chacin has exactly the kind of slider that makes Logan look foolish. He is in there for defense with Taylor already at SS as Wood gets a lot of ground balls when he is on his game. Cody at 1st is an upgrade defensively over AGon at this point, his range is just not there and he made a rare mental error yesterday as well. Doc plays Grandy over AGon and must have his reasons. On a related note if defense is a factor then Dickson should just PH, and Segedin is no GG candidate either. Verdugo has looked ok to me in CF.

  16. Minor League Update:
    .
    Two more teams make the playoffs and one other gets closer.
    .
    OKC – Season has two more games. They lost yesterday 5-3 to Round Rock Express (Rangers) – Willie Calhoun is still with the AAA Express team. Henry Ramos had two hits for the Dodgers and Kyle Farmer had the lone XBH (double). Joc went 0-4 and is now batting .125/.208/.146/.353 in his 12 games since he was optioned. Tim Locastro did go 1-4.
    .
    With a walkoff 6-5 victory the Tulsa Drillers win the 2nd half and qualify for the Texas League Playoffs, starting next week. First series is against NW Arkansas Naturals (KC). The winner of that series plays the South Division winner for Texas League Championship. Dennis Santana was not too solid in this start, going 5 innings allowing 4 runs, 6 hits, 5 BB, and 3K. Shea Spitzbarth, Karch Kowalczyk, and Michael Johnson completed the game with Johnson notching his 7th win. Errol Robinson was the offensive star hitting a critical 8th inning 2 run HR, and then hitting a bases loaded walk off single in the 10th. It was Robinson’s 2nd HR. Yusniel Diaz, Matt Beaty, and Dennis Santana all had 2 hit games, with Diaz (3rd) and Santana (1st) each hitting HRs.
    .
    The AZL Dodgers lost to the AZL White Sox but qualified as 2nd half winner with best overall record. They get a first round bye and play on Monday, in the single elimination playoff tournament.
    .
    The Ogden Raptors pounded the Orem Owlz 16-4, and now lead them by one game with 7 to play. Because of their overall record, their magic number is 5 games for winning a spot in the playoffs, and 7 for the 2nd half champion. In yesterday’s game, Donovan Casey, Romer Cuadrado, Gersel Pitre, Brock Carpenter, and Connor Heady all had 2 hit games. Rylan Bannon hit his 10th HR of the year.
    .
    RC lost to Lake Elsinore 4-3 in 10 innings. Devin Smeltzer started and pitched well for 7 innings. He allowed 3 runs (2 earned), 6 hits, 2 BB, and 6 K. Brandon Montgomery had 2 hits for the Quakes.
    .
    Great Lakes beat the Lake County Captains (Indians) 7-4 – Andre Scrubb started and went 3 innings allowing 1 unearned run on 3 hits, 1 BB, and 5K. In perhaps his best game as a Dodger farmhand, Aneurys Zabala pitched 4 innings in relief allowing 1 run on hits, 2 BB, and 8K to pick up the win (his 1st). Starling Heredia went 3-4 with 2 doubles and a triple, and Cristian Santana and Moises Perez each had 2 hits. Jeren Kendall got his 6th triple.
    .
    Both DSL teams won their semi-final matches and face each other in the DSL Championship that started today. DSL2 Dodgers beat DSL1 Dodgers today 6-4 in Game 1 of the Championship series.
    .
    To date, both DSL teams, AZL Dodgers (rookie), RC Quakes (A+), and Tulsa Drillers (AA) have all qualified for the playoffs. Ogden (rookie) is in good shape to become the 6th Dodger minor league team to reach the playoffs. Only OKC (AAA), and Great Lakes (A) did not make the playoffs, and only Great Lakes will come away with a losing record. One is destined to win a league championship (Dominican Summer League).

  17. Great write up AC! The Dodgers future is in good hands-farm hands!

    Shaky 1st inning bu Wood, after getting 2 quick outs a walk, single, SB and WP lead to a run then another walk. If he is on a pitch count of 75 or so he used up 28 in the opening frame. The team needs to figure out Chacin who has not gone more than 5 innings recently, but seems to pitch well against the Dodgers.

  18. Dodger’s starting pitchers have given up 1st inning runs in 6 of the last 8 games.

    Dodgers making Chacin look like Cy Young so far…

    1. Rick

      As soon as Wood walked that hitter after having two outs, I thought that walk, might come back and hurt us, because that is the way things, have been going.

  19. I can’t believe that we picked up Darvish so that he can work on his game. Stupid. Was this the plan from the beginning? If so, more stupid. Trying to change a guy in the middle of a pennant race. This team hasn’t been the same since they put on those stupid uniforms a couple of weeks ago. Too much fun? We’re behind again in the first inning. Maybe another record.

      1. I was thinking pull him after the WP put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs and for sure after the walk loaded the bases. Zero batters retired, 3 hits and a walk for 2 ER and 2 on base his responsibility. Even more to the point, what was he doing in a high leverage situation in the 1st place?

        1. I guess it’s only high leverage if you’re managing to win the game. This whole resting guys thing is fine and dandy if they have a real injury and they’ve actually clinched something.

    1. Hawkeye

      I agree with every remark you made.

      It doesn’t look like Robert cares that this team, is falling apart!

      And there is no way that I would let Forsythe hit there.

      At least Belly broke Piazza’s record today!

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