Apr 2, 2013, 11:18 PM EDT
It looked like destiny was on his side when Yu Darvish made such quick work of Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan to start the ninth inning Tuesday against Astros. Seconds later, destiny rolled right between his legs into center field.
In the end, the pitch count may have gotten to Darvish. Not that he seemed stressed at all, but everyone else was, since he wasn’t slated to throw more than 90-100 pitches tonight after taking it relatively easy in spring training. Having skipped the WBC, his high pitch total in March was 73. The two-out single Marwin Gonzalez hit off him in the bottom of the ninth tonight came on his 111th and final pitch. The Rangers removed him immediately, and Michael Kirkman went on to finish off the 7-0 victory.
Knowing that the Rangers wanted a quick inning — actually, they really didn’t want to send him back out for the ninth at all — Darvish attacked the plate and got two quick groundouts. Gonzalez, too, swung at the first pitch, knocking it right back through the box past Darvish and shortstop Elvis Andrus.
Whille Darvish didn’t get his perfect game, it was a marvelous effort. He fanned 14 of the first 23 hitters he faced, before he seemed to stop going for the K. Prior to Gonzalez’s single, Chris Carter‘s drive to the wall in the fifth was the only occasion on which the Astros came close to a hit .
If anything takes away from the outing, it’s that it did come against the American League’s worst offense. The Astros are going to be prone to games like this. Jose Altuve is the only high-average hitter in the entire lineup, and one imagines other pitchers will pull off impressive feats against the team this year, whether it’s a no-hitter or an 18-strikeout game.
Darvish, though, would have done much the same against any lineup tonight. Maybe not a no-hitter, but eight scoreless innings anyway. Darvish’s command can waver, but his varied arsenal and moving fastball make him about as tough to hit as any AL starter. If, with a year in the majors under his belt, he’s completed the adjustment to pitching every five or six days, as opposed to once a week in Japan, he’s a threat for AL Cy Young honors. He already finds himself with a nice head start.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Oct 24, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT
Joe Maddon is a good manager. But he’s just a manager.
Oct 24, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT
Earlier this week the Cardinals insisted there was nothing wrong with Adam Wainwright’s elbow and he wouldn’t require surgery.
Oct 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Needs more Pixies. I have no idea which song, but any list needs more Pixies.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
And he wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT
Jeremy Guthrie vs. Tim Hudson.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Way to spoil all of our silly speculation, dude.
Oct 24, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
Loyalty in professional sports is kind of a silly concept.
Oct 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
The conventional wisdom is that the good-defense, low-power Royals aren’t hurt all that much by playing in AT&T Park. I tend to disagree with that.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
It would actually make a lot of sense.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT
GM salaries are about to skyrocket.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
Will he follow Andrew Friedman to Los Angeles?
Oct 24, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
The powerful and controversial drug is allowing Game 2’s hero to battle through shoulder pain.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT
Great Moments in Peanuts and Cracker Jack
Oct 24, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT
For the second straight year we realize that Miguel Cabrera finished the season in way more pain than the Tigers had let on.
Oct 24, 2014, 10:04 AM EDT
Oct 24, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT
Quite the hot take from John McGrath of the Tacoma News-Tribune
Oct 24, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT
A day later, Strickland has a better handle on how he mishandled things on Wednesday night.
Oct 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
A man with a history of intentionally misstating the facts about stocks does so about baseball.
Oct 24, 2014, 7:13 AM EDT
We’re tied 1-1. I guess that doesn’t make Game 3 “crucial.” Maybe it makes it “pivotal.” Not sure. Gonna have to consult my baseball cliche dictionary.
Oct 23, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT
Do you want to feel really old? OK, here goes.
- Adam Wainwright underwent elbow surgery to “trim” cartilage 6
- World Series, Game 3: Royals vs. Giants lineups 1
- Andrew Friedman got $35 million to leave the Rays for the Dodgers … and he might be underpaid 12
- Shocker! Joe Maddon to opt out of his contract and leave the Rays 132
- World Series Reset: On to AT&T Park 14
- The World Series ratings are low. So what? 101
- John Hart to be named Braves President of Baseball Operations 3
- No, Ned Yost didn’t “out-manage” Bruce Bochy. His players played better 69
- Shocker! Joe Maddon to opt out of his contract and leave the Rays (132)
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? (129)
- Erroneous Narrative Alert: no, the Giants are not a “gritty,” anti-stats organization (122)
- Pedro Martinez has some opinions about who the new “face of baseball” is (112)
- PANTY RAID! Homeland Security agents confiscate unlicensed Kansas City Royals underwear (109)