You won’t believe how Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Dodgers debut went!

SEOUL — When the Dodgers signed Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a record 12-year, $325 million contract this winter, the organization made it clear they believed the Japanese right-hander was worth every penny despite never having thrown a pitch in the majors.

Most of the league's scouts believed the same. That's why there were more than a handful of organizations involved in Yamamoto's free agent process. But in the face of this great agreement, there were also some skeptics.

Whether or not Yamamoto fulfills his contract will be determined over the next decade, not just at the beginning. But Yamamoto's first experience in the majors ended in disappointment, as the right-hander went just one inning, allowing five runs, four hits and a walk, with a hit by pitch in the Dodgers' 15-11 loss to parents. Thursday at Gocheok Sky Dome. He needed 43 pitches to get through the frame.

“I regret not being able to keep the team in the game from the beginning,” Yamamoto said through interpreter Yoshihiro Sonado. “So I feel a responsibility for it. Like I said, I just have to get ready for the next outing.”

Yamamoto became the first Dodgers starter since at least 1901 to allow five runs in his major league debut in an outing that lasted one inning or less. He is also the shortest outing by a Dodgers starter making his MLB debut since Ralph Mauriello in 1958.

Yamamoto's start started off on the wrong foot from the jump. His first career pitch was thrown to left field by Xander Bogaerts for a single that had an exit velocity of 105.4 mph. Two batters later, Jake Cronenworth hit a two-run triple off Yamamoto to open the scoring. Luis Campusano and Tyler Wade both had RBI hits with two outs in the inning, giving the Padres a 5-0 lead in the first.

“I couldn't make a pitch down the stretch,” Yamamoto said. “I know how to fix it and I'm going to talk to my pitching coaches, Mark [Prior] and connor [McGuiness] and fix it for my next outing.”

When Yamamoto arrived from the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan, scouts and league executives praised his command. It's what propelled him to become the best pitcher in the league, winning the pitching Triple Crown in each of the last three seasons.

That command, however, was lacking all spring, and Yamamoto finished the Cactus League with an 8.38 ERA in three starts. The poor spring training results were brushed aside by the Dodgers, citing some tweaks and adjustments to the Major League ball as the reason for some of the difficulties.

But on Thursday, the command again wasn't there for Yamamoto, who threw just 23 strikes of his 43 pitches. The Padres recorded hits with Yamamoto's signature four-seam cutter, cutter and splitter. The Japanese right-hander recorded five strikeouts in 18 swings.

“When you're a command guy, like he's been his whole career, his life, and you miss and fall behind in counts and hit hitters, he's not that,” manager Dave Roberts said. “So we have to go back to refining the delivery, tighten the command, and he will be fine. But it's just one of those things that he is [a] …boy you know he'll recover from this.”

The Dodgers insisted before the game that they were not going to overreact to the first finish of Yamamoto's career. Still, it wasn't the start anyone envisioned for the Dodgers' new $325 million man.

“I mean, I've definitely seen him sharper,” said Dodgers catcher Will Smith, who recorded four hits and drove in a pair. “I thought he competed. It was his debut. Obviously I would have liked it to have been a little better. But we will learn, we will move forward and I expect a lot from him this year.”

Behind Yamamoto, the rest of the Dodgers' pitching staff struggled. Michael Grove allowed four runs (three earned) in two innings. Kyle Hurt, Alex Vesia and JP Feyereisen allowed at least one run in their respective outings. The Dodgers' defense was also shaky Thursday, particularly Max Muncy, who committed two errors at third. Mookie Betts was a bright spot on offense, collecting four hits and six RBIs on an exceptional day for the newly minted Dodgers shortstop.

Los Angeles hoped to win a couple of games against the Padres in Seoul before returning home. Instead, they return to the United States with a divided series and some question marks.

“On the pitching side, it just wasn't very good,” Roberts said. “Overall, we just didn't execute. [10] walk around [in two games]. And defensively we weren't good either. You’re just not going to avoid racing that way.”

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