Yu Darvish outdueled fellow countryman Hisashi Iwakuma last night by holding the Mariners to just one run on two hits over seven innings as part of a 9-3 victory. He struck out nine en route to his 15th win and now has 205 strikeouts over 176 2/3 innings this season.
Darvish is the 16th rookie in major league history to reach at least 200 strikeouts as a rookie. The last one to do it was Daisuke Matsuzaka, who struck out 201 batters in 2007. Kerry Wood (1998) and Hideo Nomo (1995) are the only other pitchers to get there since 1984.
While it looked like Darvish was hitting a wall in early August, he is on a pretty nice roll right now. The 26-year-old right-hander has a 2.32 ERA and 51/13 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings over his last six starts. He has walked more than two batters just once during that timespan while his ERA is down to 4.02 for the year. Maybe the Rangers have an ace after all.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.