Yu Darvish makes great impression with dominant Dodgers debut

Big League Stew

The Yu Darvish era with the Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a dazzling start on Friday night. In his first start since being acquired from the Rangers minutes ahead of Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, the 30-year-old right-hander dominated the New York Mets, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out 10 in a Dodgers 6-0 win.

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There was a lot of intrigue attached to Darvish’s Dodgers debut for all of the obvious reasons. Anytime an ace changes teams in the middle of the season, all eyes go on his debut to see what kind of immediate impact he makes with his new squad.

In Darvish’s case, there may have been a little extra curiosity considering his final start for the Texas Rangers last Wednesday was among the worst of his career. In 3 2/3 innings, Darvish allowed a career-high 10 runs on nine hits to the Miami Marlins.

It was an outing so dreadful, it nearly defied explanation. Then Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that scouts believed Darvish was tipping his pitches during the outing, meaning that Marlins hitters frequently knew what pitch was coming.

Yu Darvish pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 in his dazzling debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Getty Images)
Yu Darvish pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 in his dazzling debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Getty Images)

We suspect the Dodgers weren’t worried one way or the other, and his outing on Friday showed why they were so willing to answer Jon Daniels 11th hour call and work out a deal for Darvish on Monday.

His first inning was a little shaky. The Mets put runners on first and third with one out on a single and walk, but Darvish rebounded to retire Yoenis Cespedes on a fly ball before snagging this Curtis Granderson comebacker to end the threat.

From that point on, Darvish was lights out, allowing just two more hits. He retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced, with seven coming via the strikeout. The outing his best since pitching seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts against the Yankees on June 23, and should have cleared up concerns that lingered from his last start.

This is the Yu Darvish the Dodgers hope to pair with Clayton Kershaw in the postseason. If this is the Yu Darvish they’re going to get, then the Dodgers will be cemented as the team to beat.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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