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Yu Darvish is striking out a lot of hitters

May 5, 2013, 9:25 PM EDT

yu darvish reuters Reuters

Underwhelming title? Rangers starter Yu Darvish‘s strikeout rate will overwhelm you. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out 14 Red Sox over seven innings today, lowering his ERA to 2.56. The 14 K’s bring his total to 72 on the season in 45 and one-third innings, a rate of 14.3 per nine innings. On a batters-faced basis, his strikeout rate is 40 percent.

To put that in perspective, the only pitchers to have a strikeout rate of 40 percent or better last year were relievers: Craig Kimbrel (50%) and Aroldis Chapman (44%). The leader among starters was Max Scherzer at 29 percent, followed by Darvish himself at 27 percent.

In baseball history, only two starters have qualified for the ERA title and finished with a K/9 above 13: Randy Johnson in 2001 (13.4 in 249.2 innings) and Pedro Martinez in 1999 (13.2 in 213.1 innings). Today marked the second time this season Darvish had struck out 14 — he opened up the season with a 14-K performance (and 8.2 innings of no-hit ball) against the Astros. The last starter to have two 14-strikeout performances in one season was Roy Halladay in 2011, on April 24 against the Padres and on August 16 against the Diamondbacks. It was also Darvish’s fourth double-digit strikeout game in seven starts.

In terms of overall swing-and-miss rate, Darvish at 41 percent vastly outpaces second-place Ryan Dempster at 34 percent. Darvish led all pitchers last year at 29 percent, followed by Scherzer at 28 percent.

While it is unlikely Darvish will keep up this frenetic pace of missing bats, it is still something to marvel at, as we see it so rarely even as strikeouts continue to rise to historic levels.

  1. bkertz - May 5, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Darvish gave up 3 runs in 7 innings today.

    • Bill Baer - May 5, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      Thanks, I’ve been looking at too many box scores today.

    • vanderbiltprodigy - May 5, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      This is only his second year in MLB. He is only going to get better.

  2. beefytrout - May 5, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Strikeouts are cool, but I wish he would mix in a couple of 10 pitch innings now and then.

    • baseballisboring - May 6, 2013 at 5:21 AM

      That’s not his style, though. If you saw the game (or the highlights) today, like half of his strikeouts were on breaking pitches out of the zone…SO much damn movement. That’s probably why his command isn’t great, but as long as he has stuff like he does he’ll be justtt fine.

      • beefytrout - May 6, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        I completely understand about Darvish’s style, but the problem is that he goes for the strikeout instead of just the out. That’s why he’s usually at 100 pitches after 6 innings. He’s awesome to watch, but with Kirkman and Frasor behind him, I’d prefer to get at least 7 out of Yu while also not worrying that his arm will fall off.

    • indaburg - May 6, 2013 at 6:21 AM

      Strikeouts are fascist.

  3. 13arod - May 5, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    he can throw alot of different pitches i would hate to face him

    • baseballisboring - May 6, 2013 at 5:22 AM

      Yeah, probably no one on this blog could really hit Darvish…

      • baseballisboring - May 6, 2013 at 5:23 AM

        I would hate facing like, Jonathan Sanchez too. But at least I’d know that if I don’t swing I have something like an 87% chance of drawing the walk.

  4. juliath83 - May 5, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Does any team wear their alternate unis more than the Rangers? They’ve played 15 home games and wore their official home uniform 3 times, or 1 in 5. Uniform identity crisis in Arlington.

    • lewp - May 5, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      That sounds like a female comment bro, or sis.

      • indaburg - May 6, 2013 at 6:25 AM

        You hush your mouth, lewp. (Seriously, though–what do their unis have to do with Yu’s insane strikeout rate?)

    • thereisaparty - May 5, 2013 at 10:55 PM

      Up to that day’s starting pitcher. Holland and Darvish in particular have a preference for wearing red.

  5. rbj1 - May 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Yeah, but he’s in the same division as the Astros. Unfair advantage.

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