Yoshinobu Yamamoto shelled in second spring training start: Best memes, tweets

Yoshinobu Yamamoto's second spring training start did not go to plan.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers / Masterpress/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers became Public Enemy No. 1 for 29 other MLB fanbases this offseason, shelling out north of $1 billion to sign Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (and Tyler Glasnow, and Teoscar Hernandez, and Clayton Kershaw...). With Japan's biggest professional stars in tow, the Dodgers project as easy favorites in the National League.

Yamamoto thrived in his first spring training appearance. He mowed down the defending champs, registering three strikeouts across two scoreless innings on Feb. 28. The Rangers only managed one hit.

We are talking about the three-time NPB MVP, of course, so success is hardly a surprise. What the rest of the MLB fandom was eagerly waiting for, however, is failure. The Dodgers understand the assignment. When you build a superteam, any hint of weakness will be celebrated.

That weakness cropped up on Wednesday, when Yamamoto was knocked around by the Chicago White Sox, of all teams, in his second Cactus League start.

Yamamoto went three innings, allowing six hits and five earned runs. He managed four strikeouts, but also surrendered three walks. The Dodgers ultimately won the game 12-9, but Yamamoto's struggles were enough to cause a minor meltdown in the Twittersphere.

Social media reacts to Yoshinobu Yamamoto's rocky second start for Dodgers

Let's start with some extremely level-headed comments from Dave Roberts, who spoke about the valuable "test" Yamamoto received in this game.

Now... we can get to the Twitter (X) reactions.

New York fans are not unhappy with this result...

In the end, it's way too early to panic (or celebrate Yamamoto's demise). It's spring training, everybody is rusty. Gerrit Cole is giving up bombs to Daniel Vogelbach, so New York fans don't have much ground to stand on either. Carlos Rodon makes a lot of money. And so forth.

The Dodgers can expect bumps in the road with Yamamoto, who is adjusting to a new mound and a new level of competition. The 25-year-old spoke to reporters about trying out different strategies and spending more time than usual pitching from the stretch, which he said he "needs to work on."

Age is another factor here. Despite all his success overseas, Yamamoto is the age of your typical MLB rookie. He will be under more intense scrutiny due to the historic $325 million contract Los Angeles dished out, but the Dodgers are clearly hoping for Yamamoto to develop into an ace over the course of 12 years. The goal with his contract is to win now, yes, but it's also to build a sustainable winner that lasts and grows over time.

It's easy to forget that spring training doesn't really count. The real tests start when Yamamoto takes the mound in a regular season game.

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