Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish has an arsenal of nasty pitches, which should probably make what he did Sunday illegal.
Darvish turned in one of his best outings of the season, as he struck out 12 Washington Nationals over eight scoreless innings in helping the Rangers to a 2-0 win. Darvish’s 12 strikeouts matched a season high, and he lowered his ERA to 2.08 in the process.
Of those 12 strikeouts, one stood out above the rest. Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche led off the home half of the fourth inning against Darvish. After getting two strikes on LaRoche, Darvish turned to the element of surprise. Darvish uncorked a 59 mph eephus curveball that caught the outside corner. LaRoche, clearly surprised by the lob, couldn’t get the bat off his shoulder and took the pitch for strike three.
This isn’t something new for Davish, though. The Rangers ace dropped a 55 mph curve on Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter just last week in Darvish’s most recent start before Sunday’s gem.
Darvish’s average velocity on his curveball sits around 68 mph, according to FanGraphs.com.