Are Dodgers backtracking on their Yoshinobu Yamamoto plan already?

What happened to Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Thursday?
2024 Seoul Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto
2024 Seoul Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto / Masterpress/GettyImages

Everyone is entitled to a bad day, and boy did Yoshinobu Yamamoto have one on Thursday. Hopefully Dodgers fans on the West Coast didn't hit the snooze bar when their alarm went off at 3:00 am PT. Because if you needed that extra five minutes, you probably missed Yoshinobu Yamamoto's major league debut.

The Japanese star was rocked by the San Diego Padres in Game 2 of the Seoul Series. The Friars lit up the Los Angeles Dodgers starter like a Christmas tree to the tune of five runs on four hits. The right-hander was yanked from his first start after just one inning of work consisting of 43 pitches. Only 25 of them landed for strikes. It was not the debut that Yamamoto, nor Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, was hoping for.

But was Yamamoto's poor performance due to some mixed messages between the Dodgers' star pitcher and the coaching staff? Yamamoto's situation was always going to be a bit different. After all, Yamamoto's contract included a full-time interpreter, personal trainer and physical therapist, as well as a hotel suite on road trips and five roundtrip airline tickets each year. That trainer was Yamamoto's man -- Osamu Yada, who helped pioneer the starter's somewhat unique flexibility/breathing training and pre-start/gameday routine. When the Dodgers brought him aboard, it sounded like they intended to maintain continuity.

But it sure sounds as if the two sides were not on the same page on Thursday.

Are LA Dodgers backtracking Yoshinobu Yamamoto plan already?

During a press conference earlier in the week, Roberts talked about the plan for Yamamoto heading into the week. The Dodgers' skipper was asked about whether or not Yamamoto was going to execute his own plan for attacking opposing hitters or if the coaches were going to explain how the right-hander can be most effective. Roberts suggested LA would take the latter approach.

Roberts said that Yamamoto's knows his strengths, but believed that he and the coaching staff have built up a good amount of trust with their $325 million pitcher. Roberts went on to say that pitching coach Mark Prior and bench coach Danny Lehmann would put together game plans for the catching staff. The veteran manager finished up his comments on the subject by saying, "At the end of the day, it's still more of us sort of driving him."

Those comments from the Dodgers manager don't necessarily sound like the message that was preached earlier in the year when it felt as if Yamamoto was basically going to receive free rein to continue what's long worked for him. That's not to say that Roberts shouldn't have final say; it is his team. But if there's a breakdown in communication, could that have been the reason for Yamamoto's horrific outing on Thursday in South Korea?

Yamamoto will receive a long break before heading back out to the mound. The traditional Opening Day at Dodger Stadium is a little less than a week away, so the 25-year-old will receive some added rest before heading back out for what Dodgers fans hope will be an improved performance from Yamamoto's first taste of regular season baseball on American soil, following a spring training stretch that didn't instill much confidence.

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