They call it a perfect game for a reason. No mistakes, no blemishes on the scorecard. As we can plainly see in the above video clip, the 111th and final pitch Yu Darvish threw last night was far from perfect. It was a fastball which stayed up and out over the plate, rather than down and in where catcher A.J. Pierzynski called for it.
It wasn’t the only pitch in a bad spot Darvish threw last night, but it was all it took. Throw grains of salt on his performance because of the quality of the competition if you will, but even bad professional baseball players can sneak a ball through a hole.
Until the final batter of the game last night, that didn’t happen. So all Yu Darvish turned in was one of the most dominant non-perfect games of the last five years. I suppose it will suffice.
Only six pitchers can boast starts in which they put up a Game Score higher than 95 in a non-no hitter since 2009. Yu Darvish is the only one among them who failed to get the 27th out of the night.
|Rk||Player||Date||Tm||Opp||Rslt||App,Dec||IP||H||R||BB||SO||Pit||Str||Bill James<br>1. Start with 50 points.<br> 2. Add 1 point for each out recorded, so 3 points for every complete inning pitched.<br> 3. Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th.<br> 4. Add 1 point for each strikeout.<br> 5. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.<br> 6. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.<br> 7. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.<br> 8. Subtract 1 point for each walk.<br>” style=”background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;” onmouseover=”" onmouseout=”" onclick=”">GSc||BF||WPA|
|1||Brandon Morrow||2010-08-08||TOR||TBR||W 1-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||2||17||137||97||100||31||0.751|
|2||Yu Darvish||2013-04-02||TEX||HOU||W 7-0||GS-9 ,W||8.2||1||0||0||14||111||78||96||27||0.442|
|3||R.A. Dickey||2012-06-18||NYM||BAL||W 5-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||2||13||114||81||96||30||0.392|
|4||Matt Cain||2012-04-13||SFG||PIT||W 5-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||11||106||73||96||28||0.376|
|5||Chris Capuano||2011-08-26||NYM||ATL||W 6-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||2||0||0||13||122||79||96||28||0.410|
|6||R.A. Dickey||2012-06-13||NYM||TBR||W 9-1||CG 9 ,W||9.0||1||1||0||12||106||79||95||29||0.273|
|7||Justin Verlander||2012-05-18||DET||PIT||W 6-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||2||12||109||76||95||30||0.315|
Darvish was unreal, inducing 27 swinging strikes in racking up 14Ks in his dominant performance. That is one way to guard against the seeing-eye single: don’t let them put the bat on the ball.
There have been seven perfect games in the past four years, a mixed bag of pitchers. Mark Buehrle and Dallas Braden are both soft-tossing fly ball lefties, who caught the wind at the right time and all the right edges of the plate en route to their perfectos. Philip Humber is the right-handed version of the same story: big park, lots of fly balls, the game of his life.
The rest of the names on the list: some of baseball’s true elite. Roy Halladay. Matt Cain. Felix Hernandez. If we stretch it back to the turn of the century, Randy Johnson. Does Yu Darvish belong in this echelon of talent after one start? Of course not.
Yu Darvish made a case to join that group with his 221 strikeouts last season. If he limits his walks as he did last night (zero is a pretty good start!) it won’t be long until he’s mentioned in the same conversation as the best in the game. He certainly looked the part last night, single through the legs or otherwise.
And the rest
Sabermetrics in the broadcast booth! See also: mule v. spinning wheel. [Jaffe's Strike Zone]
Related: this guy.