Even though it is years after the fact, it was hard not to pull a Bob Lobel yesterday and say “Why can’t we get guys like that?” as the Boston Red Sox faced off against the Texas Rangers in a series that ultimately led to a Rangers three game sweep.
See, the Red Sox spent over a $100 million bringing a much ballyhooed Daisuke Matzusaka to the states from Japan including over $50 million simply for the rights to talk to him. Dice-K was supposed to be the Far East version of Pedro Martinez. The hype was simply incredible leading up to Dice-K’s first start for the Red Sox.
Unfortunately after two good major league seasons, Matsuzaka battled injuries and expectations to ultimately leave Boston after six underwhelming seasons.
Yesterday, watching Darvish blow through the Red Sox’s lineup, striking out 14 batters in seven innings, it wasn’t hard to look at him as the real deal. The Red Sox had some early success against Darvish with home runs by David Ortiz and catcher David Ross.
Once Darvish got into a groove, the Red Sox’s offense struggled for the rest of the game.
As Darvish gets more familiar with pitching in America, he continues to improve and show the stuff of a legitimate ace pitcher. His strikeout numbers just jump off the page with 72 in only 45.2 innings. Darvish has shown that he can win at the major league level, sporting a career 21-10 record to this point in his career.
Dice-K won 33 games in his first two seasons with Boston, but in his next four seasons combined he totaled only 17 wins with the Red Sox, never really providing the return that Boston expected.
The 26-year-old Darvish has a chance to make the Red Sox and the rest of baseball envious over the next five seasons while he is locked up with the Rangers.
It turns out that the Red Sox had the right idea; it was just with the wrong pitcher.