Yu Darvish racked up 14 strikeouts in 7.2 innings against the Diamondbacks yesterday, giving him an MLB-leading 105 on the season. Darvish totaled 221 strikeouts in 191.1 innings last year, which is a ton, but the Rangers right-hander taken his bat-missing to another level this year.
Darvish leads MLB with 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be baseball’s highest strikeout rate since Randy Johnson averaged 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 2001.
Darvish is on pace for 315 strikeouts in 33 starts, which would be the most since Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) in 2002.
Darvish is on track to become just the third 26-year-old in baseball history to reach 300 strikeouts, joining Nolan Ryan with 383 in 1973 and Rube Waddell with 302 in 1903.
And as a Minnesotan, this is the most painful stat: Darvish has 105 strikeouts in 11 starts this season. Minnesota’s entire starting rotation has a grand total of 122 strikeouts in 48 starts.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.