MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

It is a study in contrasts. Yu Darvish is very good while the Houston Astros are very bad. Whenever the twain shall meet, there is a potential for the spectacular.

Yesterday afternoon in Houston, Yu Darvish once again dominated the lowly Houston Astros. He once again flirted with a no-hitter, holding the Astros off the bases (save a gift walk which cost A.J. Pierzynski his employment for the afternoon) through eight innings. Cliff Corocan eventually broke up the no-no but not before Darvish could establish a new career high for strikeouts in a game, laying down 15 Astros on Monday afternoon.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus described the affair as “boring”, lamenting his lot in life standing behind Darvish as he strikes out one Astro after another. Humorous as that quip might be, it does make one wonder about the mismatch that is Yu Darvish versus the 2013 Houston Astros.

This marked Darvish’s fourth start of the season against the Astros, the second time he flirted with a no hitter and the second time he struck out 14 batters or more. Is it maybe time to call Darvish’s season numbers into question because of his domination of the doormat Astros?

In a word, no.

Yes, Darvish has posted some terrific games against the ‘stros. He also had one of his worst outings of the year against Houston, walking four batters in six innings, giving up five runs.

Rk Date Rslt App,Dec IP H R BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF SB CS
1 2013-08-12 W 2-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 1 1 1 15 1 115 74 90 26 1 0
2 2013-07-06 L 5-9 GS-6 ,L 6.0 6 5 4 6 1 113 70 42 28 1 0
3 2013-05-11 W 8-7 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 3 3 8 2 105 63 64 27 0 1
4 2013-04-02 W 7-0 GS-9 ,W 8.2 1 0 0 14 0 111 78 96 27 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/13/2013.

The game score of 42 Darvish posted on July 6th is indeed the lowest of his season. His overall numbers are obviously impressive, as he leads the league in strikeouts and strikeout rate among starters. If we strip out his outings against Houston, do his numbers still look as stellar?

  • Versus Houston: 108 batters faced, 39.81% K rate, 7.41% BB rate, 2.73 ERA, 0.64 WHIP
  • Versus Everybody Else: 505 batters faced, 32.48% K rate, 8.51% BB rate, 2.61 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

His numbers versus “everybody else” look a lot like his overall numbers (33.8% K, 8.3% BB, 2.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP. Again: he’s a great pitcher no matter who he faces, he just has two super outings versus Houston this year. Anytime you hold 12 other teams to a .203/.279/.344 line, we needn’t worry about success against one lackluster squad.

And the rest

AND YOU’LL KNOW HIS NAME IS HIROK, WHEN HE LAYS HIS VENGEANCE UPON THEE

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