Yu Darvish showed all through the first inning just how much pressure is on a guy who cost the Texas Rangers $112 million to get him from Japan. He needed 42 pitches to get through a nightmarish debut inning for him. But he picked himself up, enjoying a loaded and potent offense, getting the win in the 11-5 opener against the Seattle Mariners.
The 25 year old pitcher still isn’t speaking any English, at least not to the media. He later said through his translator that his body and mind weren’t on the same page through that first inning. He allowed four runs in the first inning alone. He ended up with a state line of 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks and striking out five, all in the course of 5.2 innings. It started out terribly, and it got better from there. Luckily, Hector Noesi was having just as much trouble against Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, getting pulled after three innings, allowing 7 runs.
If you’re going to go through a learning curve and growing pains, doing it for the two time AL champions with one of the most impressive lineups in the majors is a good way to do it. You could feel the fans tense up along with Darvish as everything went wrong for him during the first inning. You could feel the tension fade away as the runs came in. That tension and pressure evaporated for Darvish as well, seeing exactly what kind of offense he had to back him up.
Pretty much everyone you’d expect to see with some impressive numbers came through for the Rangers, coming up with a 3-1 start, all at home. Ian Kinsler hit a three run homer in the 8th. Nelson Cruz finished with 3-4, a home run and four RBIs. Josh Hamilton was 3-5. Mitch Moreland hit a home run as well, while Mike Napoli spent most of the game walking.
The optimist and the realist should probably be in the same mind after Darvish’s rocky yet successful start to his MLB career. He left his worse for when it’s alright to make mistakes, and Ron Washington didn’t show any sign of panicking. Darvish fought through his early jitters, proving not only that he’s worth the trust and contract, but that he’s a fighter, and doesn’t lose his head when things don’t go his way. Worst case scenario? Just rely on the offense to pull him out one more time.