smiling yu

It was 26 up and 26 down for Yu Darvish tonight against the Houston Astros. Sure, they’re the Astros but Yu Darvish has something special goingt. He repeatedly threw his filthy slider in full counts (the rare time he ran a three-ball count, mind you) and had his way with the lowly American League neophytes. Good team or bad, nobody was touching Darvish tonight.

26 batters up, 26 batters down. 14 strikeouts, a boatload of swinging strikes – TWENTY-SEVEN, to be exact. After battling through the 8th inning, murmurs began to surface on twitter about Darvish’s pitch count. Dare Ron Washington pull his starter if his pitch count rose too high in the first outing of the year> Two very quick outs started Darvish’s ninth inning, quieting those concerns. So close, now…

Just one more out to go. Marwin Gonzalez, the number nine hitter in the worst lineup in baseball, steps in to face the Japanese wunderkind. Gonzalez swung at the first pitch he saw, bounces a base hit right between Darvish’s legs for a single. Perfect game gone. No hitter gone. Darvish has to settle for 8 2/3 innings of one hit, 14 strikeout baseball, leaving with a 7-0 lead. A pity, Darvish becomes just the eleventh pitcher in baseball history to lose a perfect game with two out in the ninth innning.

An absolutely dominant performance from one of the potential breakout players in 2013. Darvish showed great humility when he laughed and shook his head in disbelief on the mound. He missed immortality by that much. It says here that Yu will get his chance. The Rangers face the A’s and Mariners 18 times each this season, not to mention two series with Rays. Of course, 16 more games against the fightin’ Astros.