Can't we skip the next two months? Can't the postseason start, like, now?
Because if you watched
It wasn't only the sight of Darvish doing pretty much whatever he wanted as he limited the Mets to three hits over seven scoreless innings. It was the idea of how his arsenal would play in a five- or seven-game series.
Imagine a recovered
Oh, and if that's not uncomfortable enough for opposing hitters, there's left-handed contortionist Alex Wood in Game 3, appearing to deliver pitches from behind his head.
"You don't want to say playoff atmosphere, but …" Roberts said.
Darvish’s 10-strikeout performance served as early validation of the front office’s decision to acquire the Japanese right-hander from the
Listening to Roberts catalog the pitches Darvish threw at
"The slider … the change … the cutter … the two-seam, four-seam …" Roberts said.
The unpredictability for hitters went beyond the types of pitches.
"He knows when to put on and take off [velocity]," Grandal said. "You saw fastballs from 90 mph to 97 mph. It's pretty hard for you to get good solid contact."
Grandal smiled when asked what it would be like for a hitter to face Kershaw one day and Darvish the next.
"You better not strike out three times the first game," Grandal said.
The implication: You could strike out three more times in the second.
Kershaw remains on the disabled list with a back injury, but if he returns as expected, he and Darvish could be this year’s version of the Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling tandem that made the
Davish's maiden start was confirmation of the widespread suspicions his statistics didn't accurately portray the caliber of pitcher he is. He entered the game with a 6-9 record, his last victory coming in mid-June.
But his won-loss mark was more of a measure of the Rangers' offensive impotence, as the team scored only eight runs in his last eight starts while he was still in the game.
With Chris Taylor blasting a solo home run in the first inning Friday and Yasiel Puig doubling the advantage in the second, Darvish said, in Japanese, he recalled thinking, "Huh, they score this easily."
He also found comfort in Grandal's reputed pitch-framing ability.
"Grandal was able to turn some balls into strikes, so I able to really let go of the baseball, thinking I just had throw it close to the zone," Darvish said.
The pressure of October can't be replicated in the regular season, but, as Roberts said, the atmosphere at Citi Field was as close as it will get. Darvish acknowledged he was anxious Friday night and not only because he was making his first start for a new team.
"The last time I pitched, I gave up 10 runs," he said, referring to his last start with the Rangers, which inflated his ERA from 3.44 to 4.01. He said he asked himself, "Wouldn't I be in trouble if I do that again?"
He didn't. His passed his first test of nerves.
When Darvish was finishing taking questions at a postgame news conference, he asked the reporters to deliver a message to Mets starter Jacob deGrom on his behalf.
"DeGrom got a hit off me and stole a base," he said. "And when I struck out in my first at-bat, I hurt my thumb."
Darvish raised his non-pitching hand, showing his left thumb was taped.
"Please tell him I will get my revenge," he joked.
Revenge will have to wait.
DeGrom won't be pitching in October. Darvish will be.
Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter @dylanohernandez