I just had to make a small post about Darvish after what I saw tonight. Sure, he was facing the poor-hitting Astros, but he made a bunch of major-league players look like fools for almost 9 straight innings.
Darvish, when he is on, has the best stuff in the majors right now. As Jason Cole tweeted earlier:
Scout who saw Darvish tonight: “The most impressive thing was that he had 94-97 whenever he wanted, but he didn’t even need to use it.”
And that scout is completely correct. More impressive to me, personally, is the incredible feel Darvish has on the mound. It’s nearly unrivalved in today’s game. I’m talking specifically how he never seems to throw the same pitch twice. He’s always manipulating his grip ever so slightly to produce three to four versions of each of the many pitches he throws.
He threw three distinct looking sliders tonight. He threw a couple like the one he punched Chris Carter out on, which were more horizontal sliders which just moved hard to the glove side. He threw a different type of slider to lefties, a sharp one with extreme vertical movement. He also had the backup slider working, the one that just slightly moves into the inside part of the zone against righties.
His fastball command was solid tonight, whether it was the cutter he started many at bats off with, the 97 mph four seamer, or the fading two-seamer. His shuuto/extreme circle change was devastating the few times he threw it. The loopy low-70’s curve served it’s purpose and was never hung up in the zone.
Yu Darvish is the most exciting pitcher I’ve had the pleasure to watch in years. His stuff is special. He’s must-watch television right now, and has been since the middle of 2012. My friends can attest to my raving about him for quite some time now. He may not be the best pitcher in baseball right now, and there are still questions about his control, but he strikes people out with video-game type stuff. If that doesn’t get you excited about this game and put your ass on the edge of your seat when he has two strikes on a guy, I just don’t know what will.