Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish was positively splendid once again on Friday night, allowing only two earned runs on five hits through eight innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. For a time, he even had viewers wondering if he might carry another no-hit into the later innings. He made it through four hitless innings, only to have Adam Lind break it up with a clean single to center field.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, that dominant outing wasn't good enough to secure a victory. Toronto's Drew Hutchison went the distance on a three-hit shutout — the first of his career — and the Blue Jays escaped with a 2-0 win. However, the one moment and the one pitch that everyone was still talking about the day after the game was Darvish's 63 mph eephus pitch that absolutely froze Lind in the second inning.
To Lind's credit, he was a tough out for Darvish during the game. In this particular at-bat, he saw 10 pitches, including six straight foul balls to stay alive. That alone might be worth a badge of honor. But perhaps that honor came when Darvish basically admitted he couldn't get Lind out with his best stuff, forcing him to dig deep into his bag of tricks.
The good news for Darvish in those siutations: No one has a deeper bag or more tricks.
Just ask Josh Hamilton, who last season whiffed at a 60-mph Darvish curveball.
See, it's not fair when a pitcher like Darvish can sit at 95 on his fastball all night long, and then drop something like this on you out of nowhere. Especially with two strikes. His fastball is electric. His slider may well be the best in baseball. He has the splitter, the changeup, a curveball, and then there's the create-a-pitch option, which could mean a slow curve in the low 60s.
He has a little bit of everything in his repertoire. But most importantly, he has the guts to throw anything in his repertoire at any given moment. That's what separates the great ones from the pretty darn good one, and we all know which side Darvish resides on.
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