"Dear Shohei: I'm sorry. I was totally wrong about you"
And there it was, in the last exhibition game of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers, seemingly out of nowhere. You ditched your leg kick and tried a new timing mechanism: a slight inward twist of your front ankle. The balance issues disappeared. You weren’t late on fastballs anymore. The scouts weren’t wrong. Something did need to change. You just changed with such ease that they’re still flummoxed.
“It’s been my experience that Asians are so drilled and regimented in their approach they put no performance stock in spring training,” the scout said. “They work on tracking, sequencing and other process-type stuff. Performance is last. Unlike the vets, they do not appear to turn up the performance side the last week of spring training and instead do so opening day.”
Giancarlo Stanton hung another platinum sombrero Sunday. In the Yankees’ 10th game of the season, Stanton became the first player ever to twice in one season strike out five times in a game without recording a hit.