ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 24: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 24, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The last time Yu Darvish faced the Seattle Mariners was a night not many will soon forget.
It was the MLB debut for the Japanese sensation, going up against perhaps the biggest Japanese sensation of all in Ichiro and get off to a god-awful start, leaving the game with a 7.94 ERA and a win as the Texas Rangers won the game 11-5 despite Darvish's four-run first inning that he barely got out of before eventually going 5 2/3 innings after settling down.
Tonight, Darvish will take the mound in Seattle as the Mariners will be the first big league team to see Yu for a second time. History tells us that Japanese imports tend to be highly successful until teams start getting a book on them and especially until teams start seeing them for the second or third time.
Common sense and logic tells us that Darvish isn't your typical Japanese import on the mound. He's special, and better than guys like Hideo Nomo, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu.
But tonight's game will be a key to determining that as all of Seattle's hitters now know what to expect from Yu. But what we've learned from Yu is that just because you see him relying on one or two pitches one night doesn't mean he'll rely on those same pitches the next time out. Heck, he might not even use that pitch. The rumors are true. He has seven pitches, so the Mariners might not see anything they saw back on April 9.
Plus, it's the Mariners. So let's be honest, even if Yu shuts them down we'll have to remember that yeah, it's just the Mariners.