Yu Darvish can’t get Brett Gardner out, blames Gardner’s parents

Brett-Gardner-YankeesYu Darvish is one of the best pitchers in the American League. The Texas Rangers ace picked up his 10th victory of the season against the New York Yankees on Monday night, but there is one guy he still can’t seem to figure out — Brett Gardner.

Gardner accounted for New York’s only two runs of the game by hitting two solo homers off Darvish. The Yankees outfielder is now 5-for-11 lifetime against Darvish with four home runs. What gives?

A lot of guys would be happy to make contact off Darvish, who has an insane arsenal of pitches and can throw any of them for strikeouts. Gardner realizes that, which is why he isn’t reading too deeply into his four homers off the right-hander.

“I’m not sure. I try to get good at-bats. Small sample size,” he told reporters Monday, via Big League Stew. “It’s hard to have confidence in the batter’s box when he’s on the mound.”

Gardner’s parents should be honored.

Yu Darvish strikes out Adam LaRoche on 59 MPH pitch (Video)

Yu-Darvish-eephusTexas Rangers ace Yu Darvish seems to have perfected a variation of the eephus pitch, and it is leaving hitters extremely confused. Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was the latest victim when he was caught looking at a 59 mph curveball on Sunday.

LaRoche was called out on strikes when the eephus pitch caught the outside corner. There’s not much a player can do with a 59 mph pitch when he has seen fastballs and sliders all day that are consistently in the 80s and 90s.

Darvish, whose neck doesn’t appear to be an issue, improved to 5-2 on the season with a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 12 batters. Darvish can dominant hitters with a huge variety of pitches.

Yu Darvish loses perfect game on routine fly ball falling in right (Video)

Alex Rios errorYu Darvish lost a perfect game with two outs in the top of the 7th inning of his start against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night when a fly ball to right by David Ortiz fell between Alex Rios and Rougned Odor.

The Rangers were employing a shift against the pull-hitting Ortiz, who hit into the shift with the fly ball. Unfortunately there was a miscommunication between Rios and Odor, and Rios did not call off his second baseman as he should have. That allowed the ball to fall in for a hit.

Darvish caught a break when the official scorer decided to rule the ball an error on Rios, which kept the no-hitter intact.

I understand that under usual circumstances that’s always ruled a hit. But as a guy with a pitching background, I’ve always felt that if you get a batter to hit a routine fly ball and your fielders let it drop, that’s on them, not you. Plays like that should ALWAYS be an error on the fielders. Maybe baseball should create a non-contact error statistic in addition to the current error category to account for plays like that.

At any rate, Darvish lost the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth when Ortiz singled through the shift:

Ball don’t lie?

Yu Darvish forced to issue statement after joke about Masahiro Tanaka is taken seriously

Yu DarvishYu Darvish was moved to make a statement on Tuesday after a joke he cracked about Masahiro Tanaka’s contract was taken the wrong way.

Darvish, who finished second in AL Cy Young voting last season, joked with the media that the Yankees paid Tanaka too much money.

“Well, I don’t know much about the new posting system, but I think the Yankees gave him a little too much money,” he joked via the Dallas Morning News.

Darvish signed with the Texas Rangers for $60 million over six years before the 2012 season. The Rangers paid the Nippon-Ham Fighters nearly $52 million as a posting fee for the right to negotiate with him. The Yankees paid Tanaka $155 million over seven years and were able to pay him more money directly because of changes to the Japanese posting fees system.

Even though it was pretty clear that Darvish was joking, sometimes quotes get taken out of context, leaving athletes to do damage control. Darvish clarified via Twitter and then released a statement through the Rangers.

Here’s the statement he released:

“I am sorry if anyone took my comment seriously about Masahiro Tanaka at the press conference today,” Darvish said in the statement. “I assumed by the reaction in the room that everyone knew I was joking.”

That sound you hear is a collective groan that something actually came of such an innocent comment.

Yu Darvish strikes out Trevor Plouffe on 61-mph curveball (GIF)

Yu Darvish flirted with a no-hitter yet again, and he was making Minnesota Twins batters look foolish along the way.

Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh on Friday before allowing a walk, 2-run home run to Chris Herrmann, and solo home run to Josh Willingham. Prior to getting hit around in the seventh, he was confusing the Twins with an assortment of great stuff. Nothing was better than what he did to Plouffe in the top of the fifth.

Darvish struck out Plouffe on three pitches to end the inning. The Twins third baseman took an inside breaking ball for a called strike, then a fastball for a called strike, and he waved at a 61-mph curveball to end the inning. He was obviously confused and just threw his bat out there as an emergency swing. But Plouffe did get some revenge; he got a hit off Darvish in the seventh to chase the pitcher from the game.

In the image below, you can see just how far in front of the pitch Plouffe was:

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All 15 of Yu Darvish’s strikeouts against Houston Astros (Video)

Yu DarvishTexas Rangers stud pitcher Yu Darvish was at it again on Monday, striking out 15 Houston Astros and taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning of Texas’ 2-1 win at Minute Maid Park.

Darvish, who leads all MLB pitchers in strikeouts, went eight innings allowing one walk, one hit, and one run while striking out a career-high 15 for the win. The lone hit was a solo home run by Carlos Corporan with one out in the eighth. In the video above, you can see all 15 of Darvish’s strikeouts. Most of them came on one of his amazing breaking balls, while it looks like two came on fastballs.

Darvish was actually perfect through five until walking Jonathan Villar with two outs in the sixth. The walk came after a controversial 2-2 call that led to catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s ejection.

Darvish struck out Robbie Grossman and Brandon Barnes all three times he faced them.

Darvish has four 14-strikeout games this season, in addition to Monday’s 15-strikeout game. Two of the 14-strikeout games have come against the Arizona Diamondbacks, while another came against Houston, against whom he nearly threw a perfect game in his first start of the year. The 15 strikeouts matches Darvish’s career-best mark in professional baseball (he had a 15-K game in Japan).

Yu Darvish made Miguel Cabrera look foolish on 62 mph curveball

Miguel CabreraDoes anyone have a more wicked pitching arsenal than Yu Darvish? The Texas Rangers stud pitcher matched up with Justin Verlander on Thursday in a game that surprisingly turned into a slugfest. While Verlander was rocked and couldn’t make it through three innings, Darvish got through eight to pick up his seventh win of the season.

But there was one moment in particular that must be recognized: the time when Darvish made Miguel Cabrera look foolish.

Darvish was facing Cabrera in the top of the fifth with the Rangers up 8-4 and the count 0-1. Darvish threw Cabrera a 62 mph curveball, and Miggy took a vicious hack at it. He was so off balance after missing on the swing that he stumbled across the plate and was left to give a smile. Why? Because nobody makes him look foolish like that.

Cabrera is the reigning AL MVP and last year’s triple crown winner. He’s the best hitter in baseball. That doesn’t happen very often. But with Darvish pitching, anything is possible.

Also see: Amazing GIF shows all of Darvish’s pitches

GIF via Drew Sheppard