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.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.