Yu Darvish continues to demonstrate he has an elite sense of humor.
The Chicago Cubs pitcher was on the mound for Games 3 and 7 of the 2017 World Series for the Dodgers and was hit hard by the Houston Astros both times, losing both games. That came after he was dominant in wins over the Diamondbacks and Cubs earlier in the postseason, too.
Many were perplexed by the dominant ace getting pounded by Houston in the World Series, and only accusations of him tipping pitches could explain Houston’s success in those games.
In light of the penalties against the Astros being announced on Monday, Darvish sent a funny tweet suggesting the Dodgers might celebrate themselves as World Series champs (MLB’s statement declared the Astros cheated in the postseason). Of course, Darvish poked fun at himself with a “Yu Garbage” mention.
If the Dodgers are planning a 2017 World Series parade, I would love to join! So if that is in the works, can someone make a Yu Garbage Jersey for me?
Darvish and the Dodgers have never accepted Houston’s suggestion that the pitcher was tipping his pitches. Darvish wondered if the Astros had a way of cheating on the road. He was made out to be the goat of the World Series, but as time goes on, it seems more and more that he may have just been wronged by a cheating Astros team.
Yu Darvish was on the receiving end of a pretty vicious tweet from Christian Yelich on Friday, but the Chicago Cubs pitcher is taking it in stride.
Darvish said that his picture was accidentally used as part of a Japanese news report about a hit-and-run victim — before joking, in retrospect, that perhaps that did happen to him after all.
Yesterday, the Japanese media accidentally used my picture in a news report about a hit and run incident where I was apparently the victim of the hit and run. Ah..now that I think about it, I certainly was a victim of a hit and run yesterday. .. pic.twitter.com/vxw9VSSsdK
Darvish is alluding to Yelich’s tweet ripping on the Cubs pitcher after Darvish replied to a tweet about the Brewers potentially stealing signs. Darvish has repeatedly said that there was no proof that the Brewers were engaged in sign-stealing, and has generally been cracking self-depreciating jokes ever since. If you’re going to be the victim of a tweet like that, it’s certainly not the worst way to take it.
The sudden Twitter beef between Christian Yelich and Yu Darvish is, at the very least, entertaining to the rest of baseball.
Yelich reacted strongly to suggestions that he may have been stealing signs against Yu Darvish in a 2019 game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. The post spread across Twitter quickly, with much attention being devoted to Yelich’s remark to Darvish that “nobody needs help facing you.”
One figure seemed to disagree. Enter Josh Donaldson, who was open to a little help against Darvish.
After widespread stories about the Houston Astros’ electronic sign stealing operation dominated the news this week, it seems plenty of people are looking for evidence that other teams may have been up to shady business as well.
One of the teams named as potentially operating such an operation was the Milwaukee Brewers. This allegation seemingly started with St. Louis Cardinals beat writer Jeff Jones, who offered no evidence aside from stating that “multiple players” identified Milwaukee as an “egregious” offender. What followed was a Twitter thread from Bleacher Nation, a pro-Chicago Cubs site that insinuated that Christian Yelich was looking to the Brewers’ bullpen in one instance to get some sort of signal while facing Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish.
Here’s a look at that video.
Here's the video – it happens very quickly, and just before Yu steps off. Yelich is locked on Darvish, eyes flick toward left center, then back to Darvish. Yu steps off. pic.twitter.com/hqOSvGMGEh
Darvish took note of the thread, stating that he had, in fact, stepped off the rubber in that instance because he saw Yelich’s eyes move. However, Darvish added in a follow-up tweet that his actions did not indicate there was any evidence that the Brewers were stealing signs.
I'm not sure what is he trying to do. But to be clear his eyes move first. That's why I step off.
That’s quite the response. And Yelich’s remark that “nobody needs help facing you” seems to imply that he doesn’t think much of Darvish’s ability to get people out. Yelich is obviously going to take offense at the implication that he’s been cheating, but the defensiveness and aggressiveness of the response is somewhat surprising. Darvish made no direct allegation that Yelich or anyone else was stealing signs, though perhaps Yelich disliked that Darvish was amplifying such claims by merely acknowledging and responding to them.
Darvish has been one of the opponents whose narrative is central to the Astros’ scandal, given he has raised questions regarding what was going on in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. Care should be exercised in alleging wrongdoing by any opponent — charges of electronic sign-stealing are serious. Despite this, Yelich’s response still seems a little bit over-the-top.
The Houston Astros had great success against Yu Darvish in the 2017 World Series, and they attributed that to the right-hander tipping his pitches. While that may have been what happened, it seems like Darvish is even less convinced now than he was before.
In the wake of the bombshell report from The Athletic this week about the Astros stealing signs in 2017, many have wondered if sign stealing could have been a factor when Darvish gave up eight earned runs over two very brief starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series two years ago. One of those starts — Game 7 — came at Dodger Stadium, and the Astros supposedly only utilized their system for stealing signs at Minute Maid Park.
On Friday, Darvish sent a tweet hinting that he believes the Astros could have been stealing signs on the road as well.
If there’s a person with an ear piece in the center field stands, it’ll be easy to do on the road too. Just saying… https://t.co/c0w5SJXG9k
Darvish may be a bit foggy on the alleged details. The system the Astros used involved a camera in the outfield that was focused on the opposing catcher, and the camera allegedly fed to a TV that was mounted between the home dugout and clubhouse. Players and staff members would watch the TV and bang on a trash can if an off-speed pitch was about to come. You can see some pretty clear video evidence of the system at work here.
The report Darvish is referring to claimed Houston’s bullpen catcher would relay signs to the hitter when the crowd at Minute Maid Park was too loud to hear a trash can banging. The catcher supposedly wore an ear piece and used his hands to signal which pitch was coming, but he still got the information from someone who was watching the TV near the dugout. Darvish was implying that a person in the outfield might have been stealing signals himself and relaying them to the hitter, which could also be done on the road. No one has accused Houston of that — at least to this point.
While Darvish didn’t blame his poor World Series outings on sign stealing and said he did not believe the Astros were employing those tactics at Dodger Stadium in Game 7, he did tell Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times this week that he was never fully convinced he was tipping pitches. Darvish said he reviewed video of his starts and couldn’t come up with anything definitive.
“What’s been reported up to this point is that they used cameras at their home field, so I don’t know if there was anything like that,” Darvish said. “But what they were doing was so high-level that I can’t honestly say there’s no chance they were also doing it on the road.”
Darvish’s initial reaction to the Astros story was to send a hilarious tweet, but you can’t blame him for wondering if he was a victim of the illegal system Houston clearly used at various points that season. All of Houston’s opponents from that year are going to feel similarly.
Yu Darvish has shouldered much of the blame for the Los Angeles Dodgers losing to the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series, but the bombshell report that was published on Tuesday has some wondering if he may have been just another victim of sign stealing. Darvish has obviously heard those rumblings, but don’t expect him to admit it.
Shortly after The Athletic dropped its story about the Astros using electronics to steal signs back in 2017, Darvish — who was shelled in his two outings during the 2017 World Series — became a trending topic on Twitter. The Chicago Cubs pitcher sent a fantastic tweet about it.
In total, Darvish allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched during the World Series two years ago. His first start was in Game 3 at Houston, which is where the Astros appear to have been caught redhanded stealing signs as late in the season as September. Darvish was then knocked around again in Game 7 in Los Angeles.
The Astros said Darvish was tipping his pitches during that series, and the right-hander had done that before. However, it’s only natural for people to wonder now if there was some sort of sign stealing going on. Give Darvish credit for having a sense of humor about it.
It’s do-or-die time for a number of Major League Baseball contenders. Pennant races are tight, particularly the wild card races, though there are some division battles that remain well worth watching too. It’s to the point of the season where little things will make all the difference.
One of those little things could end up being who gets the best, most reliable pitching. Who has a starter who can neutralize an opposing lineup and win a game on his own? Perhaps more pertinent, who needs a pitcher to step up and be that ace? Here are five pitchers who need to step up and carry their teams in September.
5. Max Scherzer, Nationals
To be fair to Scherzer, his inability to contribute in the second half thus far isn’t really his fault. He was sidelined by a back injury for almost all of July and only recently returned to action. Scherzer knows he has to watch himself carefully, but with the Nationals in a tight race for the NL Wild Card, there may come a point where Washington must ride their ace. Scherzer has been one of the game’s most dominant pitchers in recent seasons. To maintain that lead, they’re going to need him to find it again down the stretch.
4. Aaron Nola, Phillies
Nola started the 2019 season terribly and took a while to turn things around. As late as June 15, his ERA stood at 4.89 despite a 6-1 record. He’s posted an ERA under 2.50 since then, and that simply must keep up. The Phillies are very light in terms of starters, especially with Jake Arrieta sidelined for the remainder of the season. No one behind Nola has been nearly as good. The Phillies are in a very tough fight for a wild card spot, and their success — or failure — may hinge on Nola’s performances.
3. Noah Syndergaard, Mets
Syndergaard got completely torched on Wednesday night, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits over three innings. He’s striking out fewer than a batter an inning this season, and his ERA is the highest of his MLB career to date. Despite all that, he’s still a good pitcher. Prior to getting shellacked Wednesday, he had turned in five straight excellent outings, which coincided with the Mets’ turnaround. Jacob deGrom is the ace of this staff, but if Syndergaard can pitch at his very best through September, the Mets will stay right in the thick of things.
2. Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees
The Yankees seem to have everything except a pitcher who’s performing like an ace. CC Sabathia is past his prime, and James Paxton hasn’t been consistent enough since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners. The responsibility and expectation may ultimately lie with Tanaka, who has an ERA hovering uncomfortably close to 5 and underwhelming strikeout numbers. Tanaka has a history of success, plus a record of performing well in big games — check his 1.50 playoff ERA in five starts. The Yankees will probably win the AL East no matter what he does, but building up momentum ahead of the playoffs will be hugely important.
1. Yu Darvish, Cubs
This would be the perfect time for Darvish to come good after the Cubs invested so much in him. He’s homer-prone, but his strikeout numbers have not dropped, and there have been signs since the All-Star break that he might be getting it together. Darvish has been iffy since arriving in Chicago, but the Cubs need him right now. He delivered his last time out and has learned a new pitch thanks to a teammate. The Cubs have been incapable of pulling away in the NL Central, and a big part of that is down to the lack of a dominant, reliable ace. Darvish has the quality to be that. Whether he manages it or not may be the difference between the Cubs winning the division or being relegated to the Wild Card Game — or worse.
Yu Darvish is making the most of his time with new teammate Craig Kimbrel.
The Chicago Cubs right-hander, who went eight innings strong on Tuesday to earn the 5-2 win over the New York Mets, said that he got two of his seven strikeouts on the day with his new knucklecurve. Darvish added that Kimbrel taught him that pitch a week ago, per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
Bastian also shared video of the nasty movement on Darvish’s knucklecurve.
Here's a look at the knucklecurve that Darvish used to K McNeil in the 8th inning. More velo than his usual curve. pic.twitter.com/pPGf6aQaYZ
Kimbrel, who signed with the Cubs in June, was just activated from the injured list earlier this month after missing time due to knee inflammation. He has had the knucklecurve in his bag for many years now, but it is not nearly as prevalent as in years past when pitchers like Mike Mussina and Jason Isringhausen would freeze hitters with it.
Yu Darvish had some trouble pitching at Dodger Stadium in his brief tenure with the team back in 2017, and the right-hander feels like he was finally able to atone for that with a strong performance on Saturday night.
Darvish allowed just two hits and one earned run in seven innings while leading the Chicago Cubs to a 2-1 win over the Dodgers. After the game, he spoke about how important it was for him to pitch well in LA.
"This was really important in my life. I think now I can move forward. I pitched good here." — Yu Darvish, on pitching a gem in Dodger Stadium, where he lost Game 7 of the 2017 World Series
Darvish started Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros, and he lasted just 1 2/3 innings. He gave up four earned runs and never really gave the Dodgers a chance, and they ended up losing 5-1. While their offense is just as much to blame, Darvish knows he put them in a massive hole.
A strong performance in June is nothing in comparison to Game 7 of the World Series, but the solid game in addition to what Clayton Kersaw said about Darvish should make him feel a lot better.