There’s a good chance we’ll have a baseball game on a Tuesday night in Texas viewed by more people in Japan than in America.
Yu Darvish will be pitching for the Rangers, which is always a big deal in the Land of the Raising Sun, but the game will have extra significance because Hiroki Kuroda will be pitching for the New York Yankees.
Darvish is the latest marquee Japanese import commanding the attention of the country. The 25-year-old has had solid results thus far, going 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA, but has been rough around the edges, walking 13 batters in 17.2 innings pitched.
Darvish, speaking to reporters through a translator, told reporters he has no concept of “Yankee mystique.”
“It’s not like from childhood I’ve been following the major leagues. I don’t have an image that ‘it’s the Yankees,’ and I have to think particularly about them. I’m going to treat it as a baseball game.”
Kuroda came to America with much less fanfare than Darvish, but has been arguably the greatest Japanese pitcher in Major League baseball history to this point in his career. Kuroda is off to a rocky start in his first season in New York, where a few other Japanese pitchers have failed miserably. The 37-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA and opposing batters are hitting .311 off the right-hander.
Tonight’s matchup marks the seventh time in Major League history two Japanese pitchers will start against one another. The game will be televised live in Japan on what will be Wednesday morning there.
Rockies (Moyer) at Pirates (Correia), 7:05 p.m. ET
Royals (Sanchez) at Indians (Lowe), 7:05
Mariners (Vargas) at Tigers (Scherzer), 7:05
Blue Jays (Alvarez) at Orioles (Hunter), 7:05
Angels (Santana) at Rays (Price), 7:10
Marlins (Johnson) at Mets (Santana), 7:10
Giants (Cain) at Reds (Latos), 7:10
Yankees (Kuroda) at Rangers (Darvish), 8:05
Cardinals (Wainwright) at Cubs (Samardzija), 8:05
Red Sox (Beckett) at Twins (Blackburn), 8:10
Astros (Norris) at Brewers (Wolf), 8:10
Phillies (Worley) at Diamondbacks (Collmenter), 9:40
White Sox (Floyd) at Athletics (Milone), 10:05
Nationals (Gonzalez) at Padres (Richard), 10:05
Braves (Minor) at Dodgers (Harang), 10:10
Pitching Primer, which previews the days’s pitching probables, is a regular feature on Rant Sports. It paint’s a picture of America’s Pastime’s potentially perfect matchups. If you’ve got a pedigree of predicting future aces, take pride in your penchant for pitching or have a poetic prose, please leave a comment. Pitching Primer is posted practically every morning by Tom Froemming, but he‘s no perfectionist. Plus, days off are primarily provided so the “p” on his keyboard can have a break.