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Yu Darvish Vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka Vs. Hideo Nomo: A Public Service

Yu Darvish's debut was last night—in case you missed it, he was bad for a while, then not so bad, allowing five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking four—and, as a public service for my fellow baseball weeaboos, here is how his Texas Rangers debut matches up vs. the opening American salvos of his fellow Japanese super-pitchers, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideo Nomo.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2007: Dice-K was outstanding in his MLB debut, striking out 10 Kansas City Royals in seven innings while allowing a home run and—most surprising, given his eventual undoing—just one walk. In his first three starts he struck out 24 while walking five in 20 innings.

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Hideo Nomo, 1995: Nomo was great, too, though he had the same control problems—he struck out seven and walked four in five one-hit innings. It took him four tries before he managed to get into the sixth inning of a game, but he was brilliant that year, striking out 11 batters per nine innings and managing a 2.54 ERA in the middle of the Even-Liver Ball Era.

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So: He wasn't as good. But Daisuke Matsuzaka's early dominance should be enough to scare you away from any rash conclusions. Look at it this way, if you must: He's a 25-year-old who's coming off five consecutive, astoundingly dominant seasons at AAAA, and he's got ace stuff.

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