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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.