[Updated] Yu Darvish loses no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning

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[Update: 11:15 PM EST] Darvish again was one out away from completing a no-hitter. With two outs in the ninth inning, David Ortiz beat the shift, sending a grounder into right-center for a single. Manager Ron Washington immediately pulled Darvish from the game as the right-hander had thrown 126 pitches. Darvish’s final line: 8.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 12 K.

You may recall that Darvish was one out away from a perfect game on April 2, 2013 against the Astros. Marwin Gonzalez singled on a ground ball up the middle to end the bid.

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[Update: 10:53 PM EST] Darvish has no-hit the Red Sox through eight innings. He walked another batter in the eighth so he now has two walks on the night along with 11 strikeouts and is at 113 pitches. Three outs to go.

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Rangers starter Yu Darvish is working on a no-hitter. You’ve heard it before and you’ll certainly hear it again. The right-hander has held the Red Sox without a hit through seven innings tonight, striking out ten and walking one in the process.

The no-hitter stayed in tact thanks to a controversial ruling by the scorer. With two outs in the seventh, David Ortiz hit a blooper to shallow right field and it dropped untouched after miscommunication between rookie second baseman Rougned Odor and right fielder Alex Rios. The scorer assigned the error to Rios. Darvish followed up the event with a walk to Mike Napoli before getting Grady Sizemore to fly out to right field to end the inning.

In this writer’s humble opinion, that would have been ruled a hit in 29 out of 29 other ballparks and in 100 percent of non-perfect-game-related situations. So Ortiz’s bloop should have been ruled a hit. Here’s the video.

At any rate, we’ll keep you posted here as Darvish attempts to get six more outs to seal the no-hitter.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.