Darvish on the mound against the Yankees, April 24, 2012.
After his second start, Yu Darvish compared his varied approach to pitching to a four-color pen.
It was hard not to think about that analogy while watching him dominate the Yankees in a 2-0 win on Tuesday night. It seemed like every at-bat brought a different pitch out of his arsenal, baffling every hitter with something they hadn't seen before and wouldn't see again.
Watching it all go down leaves you with only one possible conclusion. Four colors simply aren't enough for Darvish. You need the whole Crayola box to get close to explaining the kind of stuff he brings to the table.
It just isn't normal to see pitchers throw a four-seamer, a two-seamer, a cut fastball, a curveball, a change-up and a slider over the course of one start. Heck, it isn't normal to see one pitcher throw all of those pitches over the course of a career. Just about the only things we didn't see from Darvish were the knuckleball and one of those pitches that Bugs Bunny used to throw that stops right in front of the plate and then does a loop around the hitter's bat.
Frankly, we wouldn't be shocked to see that pitch in Darvish's next start. We wouldn't really be shocked to see any pitch.
Having all of those pitches doesn't mean a thing if you can't put them where you want them to go, however. Impressive as it was to see Darvish throw the kitchen sink at the Yankees, it was even more impressive to see him with total command of the pitches.
In his first three starts, Darvish had a 14/13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That's not going to work over the long term. It's too many baserunners and too many possibilities for things to go wrong even if things are going well otherwise.
The Darvish of Tuesday night can work. He gave up seven hits, but a pitcher who strikes out 10 while walking two can get himself out of trouble a high enough percentage of the time to ignore the hits. Since you have to imagine that Darvish is still just scratching the surface of what he will become in this and future seasons, that kind of command is a very positive sign.
It's just four starts into Darvish's career and we're even more excited to see where it goes next than we were when the hype machine was starting to percolate.