Yu Darvish’s Near Miss-terpiece

by Bill Chuck on April 3, 2013

Two outs in the 9th and a ground ball goes through the five-hole and there goes Yu Darvish‘s perfect game.

As I watched with anxiety last night, Yu Darvish mow through the Hapless Astros, all I kept thinking was as I was making my predictions for 2013, it was between Darvish and Max Scherzer for my surprise Cy Young Award pick and, as usual, I chose the wrong one.

Yeah, it’s all about me.

Forget about the fact that Darvish retired the first 26 Astros in order, striking out 14. But then the immortal Marwin Gonzalez grounded a ball right through the pitcher’s legs, for a base hit to centerfield beyond a desperate dive by shortstop Elvis Andrus.

It’s incredible that anyone pitches a no-hitter, no less a perfect game. It’s so hard and so heart-breaking, I had trouble getting to sleep. Yeah, it’s all about me.

Darvish threw 111 pitches (see my breakdown of Darvish’s pitches on BaseballAnalytics.org) and was immediately pulled by manager Ron Washington and Darvish stayed on the bench and watched reliever Michael Kirkman allow a Jose Altuve single before a game-ending strikeout gave the Rangers a 7-0 win.

The great Rangers’ broadcaster Eric Nadel calls the 9th

Here’s your Nine to Know:

  1. Darvish has never pitched a complete game.
  2. Darvish’s 14 strikeouts matched a Minute Maid Park record. On June 12, 2011, Tommy Hanson of the Braves stuck out 14 Astros in seven innings and Bud Norris of the Astros struck out 14 Pirates in seven innings on 8/14/2010.
  3. Darvish’s 14 strikeouts were the most by a Rangers pitcher since Nolan Ryan had 14 on 7/7/1991 against the Angels in 8.1 IP. (see the list below of all Rangers’ 14+ whiff games)
  4. Darvish’s previous high in strikeouts in 11, a number he reached four times last season.
  5. This was darvish’s first walk-free start. He had five one-walkers last season.
  6. The last Rangers no-hitter was Kenny Rogers‘ perfecto against the Angels on July 28, 1994.
  7. This was the fifth time in the past 25 seasons that a perfect game was broken up with two down in the 9th, the last being Armando Galarraga‘s imperfect game moment.
  8. Darvish had more than 15 pitches in only in the 4th when he struck out the side in 18 pitches.
  9. Darvish threw over 111 pitches 12 times last season with the high being 123 against the Red Sox in a 6.2 IP loss on August 6.

Rangers/Senators 14+ Whiff Games

Rk Player Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit Str
1 Yu Darvish 2013-04-02 HOU W 7-0 GS-9 ,W 8.2 1 0 0 0 14 111 78
2 Nolan Ryan 1991-07-07 CAL W 7-0 GS-9 ,W 8.1 2 0 0 1 14 110 76
3 Nolan Ryan 1991-05-01 TOR W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 0 0 2 16 122 83
4 Nolan Ryan 1990-08-17 (1) CHW W 1-0 GS-10 10.0 3 0 0 0 15 114 80
5 Nolan Ryan 1990-06-11 OAK W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 0 0 2 14 130 86
6 Nolan Ryan 1990-04-26 CHW W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 2 16 127 87
7 Nolan Ryan 1989-07-25 TOR L 0-4 GS-6 ,L 6.0 6 3 2 3 14 132 80
8 Nolan Ryan 1989-04-12 MIL W 8-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 1 0 0 2 15 135 84
9 Bobby Witt 1986-07-06 DET L 2-5 GS-8 ,L 8.0 5 4 4 4 14
10 Bert Blyleven 1977-07-22 BAL W 5-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 4 1 1 1 14
11 Jim Bibby 1973-08-30 MIN L 2-5 GS-11 ,L 10.2 7 5 5 6 15
12 Tom Cheney 1962-09-12 BAL W 2-1 CG 16 ,W 16.0 10 1 1 4 21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/3/2013.
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