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No no-hitter, but Yu Darvish continued to dominate on Friday

May 9, 2014, 11:40 PM EDT

Yu Darvish Yu Darvish

Rangers ace Yu Darvish once again flirted with a perfect game on Friday against the Red Sox and once again fell one out short of history. The right-hander has a penchant for doing this, even tossing five perfect innings against the Astros in his second start to open this season before a lead-off single in the sixth dashed his hopes.

A brief look at the list of pitchers to have thrown no-hitters will leave you unimpressed. Henderson Alvarez was the most recent to accomplish the feat on the last game of the 2013 regular season. Kevin Millwood — he of the career 4.11 ERA — was involved in two no-hitters: one by himself in April 2003 with the Phillies, and a tandem effort with the Mariners’ bullpen in June 2012. Phil Humber and Dallas Braden each threw a perfect game. Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza threw no-hitters in 2010.

Statistically speaking, the odds of anyone throwing a no-hitter over the course of the season are greater than you’d think. The odds of a Humber-type throwing one are smaller than that of Darvish, but practically speaking, they are indistinguishable. Anyone can get lucky on one night. Remember Mark Whiten’s four-homer game? It takes real skill to routinely flirt with history as Darvish does seemingly every month.

In Friday night’s start against the Red Sox, Darvish allowed the one hit, walked two, and struck out 12 in 8 2/3 innings of work. The 27-year-old has started only 68 games in the Major Leagues and has recorded double-digit strikeouts in 20 of them. On average, Darvish has struck out 10 or more batters once every three or four starts. He has allowed exactly one hit in four starts now. Clayton Kershaw, the consensus best pitcher in baseball right now, has done it four times in 184 starts. The lefty has recorded double-digit strikeouts in 22 of his 184 starts, or about once every eight starts.

Darvish is in his third full season in the big leagues, but if you don’t already, it’s time to start thinking of Darvish in the upper echelon of pitchers — with Kershaw, with Jose Fernandez, with Felix Hernandez, with Zack Greinke. The guy has been trying his damndest to convince you with a no-hitter, but the baseball gods won’t allow him. Give the guy a hand.

  1. nothanksimdriving123 - May 9, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    I love no-hitters. That said, these guys are all in the Hall of Fame, but have fewer combined no-hitters than Bobo Holloman: Grover C. Alexander, Mordecai Brown, Steve Carlton, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, Whitey Ford, Lefty Grove, Waite Hoyt, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, Joe McGinnity, Hal Newhouser, Robin Roberts, Don Sutton, Rube Waddell, Early Wynn.

    • sabatimus - May 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM

      And, keep in mind, Dallas Braden threw a no-hitter. Somehow.

  2. fezzy1 - May 10, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    You forgot to mention King Felix vs Tampa Bay. The King was perfect against them. The list got a little more impressive instantly.

  3. mikhelb - May 10, 2014 at 2:52 AM

    Fernandez is in his second season, he was very good in his first season,same for Iwakuma, but we do not know how much good yet. One good season a career does not make.

  4. mikhelb - May 10, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    There have been very good pitchers who flirted with perfection but could not do it, Mussina is one of ’em, but not as common as Yu has made it look.

  5. renaado - May 10, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    Don’t forget Mike Cameron’s 4 homer game back in 2002 with the Mariners.

    • dan1111 - May 10, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      Cameron was no slouch, hitting 278 homers in his career.

  6. aceshigh11 - May 10, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    Holy hell, the Red Sox just SUCK so far this year. It’s utterly depressing.

    I do feel bad for Darvish…being on the cusp of a no-hitter like that has got to be awfully disappointing but, as a Red Sox fan, I *AM* glad that Ortiz broke it up just to avoid TOTAL humiliation.

    They’ve still been humiliated, but it’s not TOTAL at least.

  7. gibbyfan - May 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Did anyone happend to catch the ongoing disgutingly passionate arguent by Reynolds on MLB, arguing that the the fly ball dropping in short right was really a hit. I wasn’t sure if he was high, drunk or just stupid but in my opinion he should not be in that job. What an a$$h-le

  8. sportsfan18 - May 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Folks should START thinking of him in the upper echelon of pitcher?

    Yu has a 131 ERA+ in his time in the bigs… WHIP of 1.162

    Let’s add Justin Verlander to this too. His ERA+ is 128 and his WHIP is 1.194

    Felix Hernandez has a 127 ERA+ 1.200

    Zack Greinke has a 116 ERA+ WHIP 1.231

    Now this Fernandez kid, if he stays healthy and continues what he’s doing, wow. A 172 ERA+ so far in his short time in the bigs… with a WHIP of 0.972

  9. thepittsburghkid - May 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    I saw hard hittin’ Mark Whitens upper deck home run at Three Rivers.

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