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.